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Want to Get Noticed by Employers? Here's How to Get In Front of the Line

Are you tired of getting the cold shoulder from employers? If so, then you are in luck. This is a list of tips, hacks, and tricks which will help you get inside an employer's mind. When searching for the job of your dreams, there is only one thing that really matters:how to get to the front of the line. 

Securing a position at a company may be quite the challenge. Most employers don’t know what the perfect candidate looks like, but they always figure it out once they see him or her. And, as you guessed it, it’s pretty hard to become the perfect applicant when even your employer doesn’t exactly know what they’re looking for.

Don’t get discouraged! Getting a job isn’t rocket science, you just need to keep a couple of things in mind, and you’ll be on your way to getting the job you always dreamed about.

1. Obtain Strong Recommendations

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You should never underestimate the value of an eye-catching and well-written recommendation, because it has the power to elevate you to a top choice or drop you down to the no-longer-considered pile. 

Nevertheless, obtaining glowing references isn't easy. To increase your chances you should approach individuals indirectly. Again, you want to obtain a great reference, so you should reach out to your referrer via email.

"Hey Alan, I plan to begin a quiet job search in about a month and I would love it if you could recommend me. Do you feel you know me well enough to recommend my conflict management/leadership skills?" 

 

Be thankful if he/she declines because that means his recommendation will, at best, be lukewarm. 

Here are a few extra-tips for obtaining strong recommendations:

  • Also request recommendations from colleagues that you've worked well with. Most job seekers only ask their supervisors for recommendations. However, a person that you've worked closely with will also be able to deliver a stronger recommendation. 
  • Be directive with your referees. You can tailor recommendations to focus on your best skills or work (e.g. "Mrs. Taylor can you please emphasize my ability to deliver on short deadlines?")
  • Ask for meaty LinkedIn endorsementsDon't have a LinkedIn? You'd better make one if you want to be taken seriously by employers. LinkedIn recommendations take about 10 minutes to create, so you can quickly obtain over 20 from fellow workers. The perfect recommendation should qualify your relationship with the referee, validate your skills, describe a project that you collaborated on that highlights your professional quality, and re-emphasize those qualities as a closing statement. 
  • Reach-out to experts that employers hold in high regard. Think big. Connect with authors, thought leaders, and key industry figures that hiring managers may contact for a recommendation. Networking purposefully with suppliers, consultants, and vendors affiliated with your employers takes time, but it’s worth it.

2. Make your Job Application Memorable

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In a fiercely competitive job market, applicants must look for creative ways to break through the clutter. Simply revamping your resume and obtaining recommendations, while useful, won't cut it.

You have to think outside the box, but you must also ensure that your creativity is relevant to the type of role for which you are applying. While a resume designed as a Google Ad might work in the online marketing industry, it won't help you too much if you're applying for an accounting job. 

"Make yourself memorable for the right reasons. Focus on specific ways you have contributed to other organizations, so the employer sees what you can do for them." 

Rosemary Haefner | Source: Forbes

There are many creative job applications that come to mind, including the infamous milk carton design and Pinterest board CV, which showcase not only the skills of the applicant, but also their incredible inventiveness. 

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Keep in mind that as creative as your application is, it will only work if it's relevant to your employer. So if you're thinking of taking someone else's successful application and making it your own, you might want to reconsider.  

 

3. Make a Short Video

If hiring managers are interested in working with you, they will Google you. I guarantee it. So what if instead of stalking your social networks, they stumble upon a short video that highlights your personality, work history, and skills?

How long do you think it will take for them to call you in for an interview? We both know the answer to this question.

Videos are rapidly becoming the most powerful form of online content. The best news is that you don’t need too many things to make your own.

Here are a few tips:

  • Write a video script before filming. This will help you organize your ideas and send a concise message.
  • Speak confidently and dress like a professional.
  • Share some interesting information about yourself.
  • Don't boast. Let your experience speak for itself.  
  • Too shy to appear on camera? No problem. You can create a short video presentation with images, audio, or text to showcase your work.
  • Upload the video on YouTube, or a professional social networking site. Also link your resume, and cover letter to the video.

4. Prepare for the Interview

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Let’s start small. Before the real tete-a-tete rendezvous, you’ll need a couple of things to get things going:

1. A Positive Attitude

The way you look at things has always been paramount. Don’t get discouraged if your first interview went sour. Instead, try to find out what you did wrong and to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

Remember: nobody’s perfect and perfection in itself can be dull. A brush of color, now and then, is much better that monotony. 

2. A Great Resume

Be extra careful when writing your resume. Write only what’s essential, and leave the fluff aside. And, before submitting your resume, be sure to proofread it. Employers don’t often look kindly upon typos.

3. Cover Letters and Personal Projects

Try to be creative when writing your cover letter. Make the employer believe that you are the best suited person for that job opening. The cover letter should be one page long at the most. Short cover letters mean that you’re not entirely sure whether this position is suited for you. On the other hand, long cover letters may signal to your employer that you are simply boasting.

Bear in mind that cover letters and resumes can be accompanied by creative projects. In fact, many managers admitted to having hired an employee who had an original idea, even though his or hers credentials were below the job’s requirements.

There are bundles of examples out there of how out-of-the-box ideas actually made employers overlook the solicitant’s credentials.

5. Make a Killer First Impression

And now we come to the hard part: the discussion. Before we get started, keep in mind this mantra: there’s no recipe for making an impression on your employer. Most of the time it all boils down to a combination of early planning (research), and that thing often referred to as “gut feeling”.

But, as it happens, each interview has a set of guidelines, unwritten rules if you wish of things you can do to get the attention of your employer and things that you must avoid if you want to get hired.

We have compiled a list of things that catches the eye of your employers and things that will probably get you a pink slip.

Take Risks

Even successful entrepreneurs have been known to take their chances from time to time. Because of these risky maneuvers, major companies managed to climb the ladder of success. Employers want candidates who are willing to take risks. 

Be very careful about taking your chances when wooing an employer though, because there’s a fine line between a calculated risk and recklessness. Think and rethink before saying or doing something during an interview, because there’s a 50/50 chance that the whole affair will turn into a fiasco.

Know your Gadgets

It’s always a good idea to catch up on the latest trend in technology. You should also think about taking a course in technology. There are quite a lot of resources out there that can help you decide on what to study.

If you’re aiming for the IT business, a crash-course in technology is no longer optional, but necessary.

Perk up your verbal skills

When preparing, keep in mind that during the interview you will need to find some way to convince your employer that you’re the person they are looking for. A candidate well-grounded in the art of verbal communication will have more chances of delivering a convincing speech than that one who is shy.

It might be a good idea to seek out some courses on developing language skills. 

6. Show Them That you Mean Business

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Your employer wants to see that you really want this job. Beyond qualifications, resumes, cover letters and personal projects, the person on the other side of the desk wants to see whether you are capable of commitment.

So, it would be a good idea to enumerate all the things you actually know how to do. Boasting is not advisable in any circumstance because it’s a double-bladed knife: telling your employer that you can do stuff you can’t genuinely do might secure your job, but there might come a time when an employer asks you to prove your skills during the interview.

Now, just to keep things exciting and fresh, we are going to show you a very quick list of things candidates did during an interview that made employers hire them on the spot. Of course, for some laughs, we are also going to include some funny things candidates did to secure a job opening.

  • A company hired a candidate on the spot when she took out her guitar and started singing about why she should be hired.
  • Another firm hired a candidate after the person wrote his resume on a chocolate wrapper.
  • One candidate climbed the roof of a company and asked the employer to hire him.
  • The manager of another company said that during the interview, a candidate started to fix an electronic device.
  • A resourceful candidate placed his resume inside a bottle and gave it to his employer.

Things you shouldn't do during an interview:

  • A candidate did pushups.
  • One candidate came into the room dressed as a clown.
  • Another candidate drew out a deck of tarot cards and did a reading for the employer.
  • An aspirant dressed up in a fluorescent suit.
  • One candidate actually sent a fruit basket to the interviewer’s front door, without the employer giving him the address.

 

See Also: How to Manage Job Search Frustration

There you have it: a comprehensive list of things to keep in mind if you want to stand in front of the line and nail your dream job. Beyond these simple guidelines, there’s another rule, which is perhaps the most import: trust yourself and learn to admit when you are wrong.
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