When applying for a job, it’s not enough to simply be noticed. You must be able to stand out amongst all the other candidates who have applied. With hiring managers accessing several applications on the daily basis, they’re looking for individuals who not only encompass the right skill set to handle the job, but someone who will fit in with the company environment and be a real asset to the team. Though you feel you have what it takes, you have to sell this to your audience – the employer.
The Brand of You
As a job seeker you are a brand all on your own. Like any brand you have to develop a name for yourself. You have to be able to reach your target audience (the employer) by showing how you can meet their needs. Everything from your application to your interview must showcase your best qualities. You are essentially pitching yourself to hiring managers. A boring pitch leaves you stuck in a pool of applicants, while a pitch filled with personality and professionalism will put you one step closer to landing the job.
So how do you stand out from other applicants? Here are a few things you’ll need to do:
One of the factors employers look at when screening applicants is their level of education. In most cases, managers want to work with an individual who has the necessary training and education in a field closely related to their company. For instance, a company looking to hire an IT professional might prefer to hire someone with a college degree in computer information science. Such a degree means they have the capabilities to design and build software and databases which can help streamline business practices. Displaying your educational history proudly on your application and resume would put you ahead of the competition.
According to a report on Forbes, a degree in computer science is one of the highest paying jobs out there in terms of when you are coming right out of college. You can see the top job listings and their earnings below.
- Engineering $63,000
- Computer Science $60,000
- Business $54,000
- Communications $43,000
- Math & Sciences $42,700
- Education $40,000
- Humanities & Social Sciences $37,000
Any hiring manager will tell you that the hiring process is a guessing game. You can have someone with an impressive resume and great interview turn out to be the worst employee. That’s why managers go to great lengths to minimize the potential of hiring someone unsuited for the job. Having good references is a great way to start. When a potential employer can reach out to people unrelated to you and find out about your work ethic, it gives them the assurance that you’re great for the job. When listing your references, be sure that their contact information is up to date and that they are credible references that will vouch for you.
Using social media and LinkedIn for online references is a great way to stand out from a pile of applicants and not getting lost in the mix.
Though education is your first teacher, experience is next in line. Employers are looking to see what type of “real world experience” you’ve had in the field. This lets them know that you know what you’re doing and also means that you’ll require less training than other less experienced applicants might. When listing your experience on an application it is ideal to spell out your experience. Creating generic responsibilities and tasks makes you look like a generic worker. Get detailed about the things you’ve done for your past employers so that potential employers can see just how much of an asset you are.
Another area that hiring managers review when looking over applications is the list of accomplishments. They want to know what things you’ve accomplished while working with previous employers. What makes you great? When completing this part of the application it is important to use numbers and stats as often as possible. For example, someone looking to work in the IT department of a company might list an accomplishment like “Saved the company 10% in operation costs by streamlining customer service processes”. This phrase sounds a lot better than listing the accomplishment as, “Helped the company save money”.
The Rest is Up to You
Aside from completing the application in its entirety and drafting a killer resume and cover letter, standing out from the crowd is up to you. Should you receive a call for an interview, remember that you’re a brand and you need to sell yourself as such. Dress the part, remember your mannerisms, research the company, ask questions, and lastly, follow up with a thank you.
There’s no denying that finding a job can be challenging. When there are hundreds of applicants gunning for the same position, you have to make yourself stand out. Remember, you’re a brand who must prove yourself credible to potential employers. By focusing on the above mentioned areas on your application and resume, you should be able to make a lasting impression on the hiring managers.