Unemployment rates in the US are holding steady at below 5 percent, and new jobs are being created monthly in almost every field. Therefore, this is a good time to try and break into a new industry or to get your dream promotion. After all, employers are much more open to bringing on new staff than they were a few years ago. Fields like the technology field are also booming and need an influx of fresh workers. However, even though there is less competition now, it is still important to stand out if you want to land the job of your dreams.
1. Send a thank you note
It used to be a more common practice to send a thank you note after an interview, but many job hunters have stopped doing this. Unfortunately for them, this could be exactly what is standing in the way of their career aspirations. It may be shocking, but 15 percent of hiring managers will not make a job offer to a highly qualified candidate just because they failed to send a thank you note.
Approximately one-third of employers have also indicated that they lose some confidence in their preferred candidate if a thank you note doesn’t arrive in a timely manner. As people continue to move away from this courteous approach, you can stand out by sending a short, but well-written, thank you email after the interview.
2. Create an online portfolio
Although you will most likely be required to go through the process of submitting a paper resume or filling out an online application, it is still wise to go the extra mile by creating a virtual portfolio. Even if you are in an industry that wouldn’t require you to have a traditional portfolio, you can still offer a more visually appealing resume by going this route. The best part for job hunters is that this doesn’t even cost anything. There are many ways to build, launch and host your online portfolio with no fees.
3. Flesh out your LinkedIn profile
Many employers search for potential candidates on LinkedIn, and 94 percent of recruiters take the same approach. You can ensure that your profile stands out by listing your accomplishments and receiving endorsements from others. Keep in mind that employers are typically looking for someone who has the right skills and is also a high performer. This can shine through in how you describe yourself and your skills in your profile, so don’t hesitate to list recent relevant projects and any performance-related awards that you have won.
4. Solve a problem for your desired company
After you land an interview with your ideal company, it’s time to turn things up a few notches by looking for a way to truly stand out during the interview. One method that often impresses employers is showing up with a presentation that offers a potential solution for one of the company’s biggest challenges. If this isn’t an option for you, consider putting something together that showcases your skills and incorporates the business in question. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you could create a new logo that represents the company’s mission statement or helps to advertise one of their products.
5. Allow your personality to shine through
Cultural fit is very important to most hiring managers. As a result, many people attempt to have the so-called “perfect personality” in the initial stages of an application process. However, this can be problematic because you may come off stiff, and you also run the risk of misrepresenting yourself. Instead, infuse some of your true personality into the cover letter. Also, don’t be afraid to showcase some of your humor and outside-the-box, puzzle-solving skills during the interview. As long as you remain professional at all times, this could actually be the thing that makes you stand out enough to get hired.
6. Provide statistical data
Anyone can state on their resume that they improved sales, but by what percentage did sales increase? Offering statistics within a job description is a great way to capture attention without making your resume too long. Be prepared to provide detailed examples during the interview of how you hit those metrics. You can also tie this information into ideas about how you’d accomplish the same thing for your new employer. As always, relating these details to actual products or services is the perfect way to show the interviewer that you have invested time into researching the company.
7. Time your application correctly
A lot of people send out resumes during the weekend, but it turns out that this is not a good idea. Instead, research indicates that almost a third of applicants who are called for an interview had sent their resume on a Monday. This number drops to a paltry 14 percent when job hunters apply on a Saturday. In other words, even if you have to do your job searching on a Saturday or Sunday, it is best to wait until the beginning of the week to send your application.
8. Be kind and respectful to the receptionist
A big mistake that some candidates make is snubbing the receptionist while waiting for their interview. You don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of time talking to the receptionist, especially if they’re busy. However, it is imperative to be polite, kind and respectful during your interaction with them. Some hiring managers ask their receptionists how they were treated by each interviewee, and this can make a huge difference in the decision-making process.
9. Take the P-I-E approach to interviewing
Do you spend the entire interview spouting pre-planned responses and trying to anticipate the interviewer’s next question? This may make you feel more in control of the situation, but it is probably hurting your chances of getting a job. Instead, it is better to remain in the moment, even if you have to take a second to gather your thoughts. In fact, hiring studies have found that utilizing the P-I-E approach (positive, interested, and engaged) will give you the best chance of getting hired.
Putting these tips into action will make it much easier to score your dream job. You should also remember that if, for some reason, you don’t get a callback, there are still many important lessons you can learn from a job interview rejection.