Standing out from the crowd is not always easy, especially if academically you’re pretty average. There is always a plethora of younger, brainier, prize-winning ‘cream of the crop’ types vying for the best jobs – so why would an employer notice your application? Here are some top tips to help get your application considered…
1) Get online:
When did you last Google yourself or try to find your profile on Linkedin? If you’re seriously hunting for a job you should be regularly checking and maintaining your online persona. It should be complete, relevant, and consistent between platforms.
You wouldn’t send a recruiter a half-finished resume, so make sure that you’ve carefully completed your online profile. By filling out each section you’re maximizing your chances of showing up in search results. Don’t just talk about what you’ve done…reveal where you want to be! E.g. If you’re interested in moving into a specific industry or sector mention it on your profile and be as specific as you can (without closing doors for yourself): “Looking for marketing/sales, product development roles for SMEs & fast-growing enterprises within Tech/Media sector”
Things to avoid: Vague un-inspiring statements expressing only the benefits for you and not the recruiter: “my aim is now to find a role in the corporate world suitable for building on my skills and experience”
There are hundreds of platforms, networks & forums where you can create a profile. Perhaps choose 3 or 4 to host your profile to start with. Choose 1 large professional networking website, choose 2 niche forums or networks relevant to you, and 1 other ‘personal outlet’ (e.g. a blog or Twitter profile). All social profiles should be kept private.
2) Get networked:
Do you know the names of the hiring manager, recruiter, HR team at your dream company? You can easily find their professional profiles on professional networking sites. Do a quick people search and send them an introductory message to get connected. You can see which networks they’re in, and other profiles they’re connected with…and if they’ve got any status updates or comments announcing what type of candidates they’re looking to recruit!
All of these things will help you when writing a cover letter or a prospective email. Also, it helps put your profile right under their noses…and if your profile is good enough maybe they’ll just invite you for an interview!
Further reading at How To Build a Brilliant Professional Network in College.
3) Get creative:
Obviously, this comes more naturally to some, but being creative can pole-vault your average application right onto the laps of a recruiter. There’s the guy who created a website dedicated to asking ‘Google please hire me’, or the girl one who personally delivered a beautiful hand-made parcel containing their resume right to the desk of the CEO of a multi-national. Both worked but only because both were relevant, well planned & executed effectively.
But things can get carried away – heat-sensitive resume paper that changes color when touched… Seems a ‘touch’ desperate perhaps? If you want to do something wacky gauge your market carefully, perhaps try to find others already working within that company or industry and check their reactions to your plan, then make sure you implement it perfectly.
4) Get in-demand:
When hiring someone it always is a plus point if they’re ‘in-demand’ – do they have other interviews or job offers on the table? The best people always do…so make sure that you’re courting a number of dream companies instead of just targeting one! Aim for your dream company (of course) but also consider their major industry competitors. You could ‘follow’ all the company profiles and take an active interest in industry news. When you score an interview make sure the interviewer knows you’re being shortlisted or offered roles with their competitors – it’ll make you irresistible!
More ideas at Personal Branding: Blending In To Stand Out.
Author: Sian Fleming Jones is one of the directors at BusinessBecause.com – a website dedicated to connecting people before, during and after their MBA. Follow BusinessBecause on Twitter @businessbecause.