When you’re trying to search for a job, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Many great candidates are often competing for the same position. In today’s job search environment, there is a range of qualifications and some people may even be overqualified.
It is simply a matter of supply and demand. At this time there is more supply than demand. So what can you do to bring positive attention to your efforts? Here are seven ways to stand out in the job search.
1. Don’t Mention You’re Responding To An Ad
When a company advertises for an open position, the hiring authority is deluged with cover letters saying things like “I am responding to your advertisement for…” Everyone else is saying the same thing. In your initial contact with the company do not mention the notice of the opening.
Instead do something different. One example would be finding something out about the company and mentioning it in your initial correspondence. If last year they were the first to introduce a software program, mention this. It shows you have interest in the company and what they do.
2. Introduce Yourself when They Aren’t Looking
If serious about looking for work, you need to conduct a targeted job search. This involves researching companies and organizations you want to work for in a geographic area. This will give an idea of who to introduce yourself to so you’re easily noticed in a job search.
When you target companies you want to work for, send a letter of introduction. This is not a cover letter or resume, but as the name implies it’s a letter introducing yourself and your skills. It provides the opportunity for an employer to find out about you without the formality of applying.
3. Make a Personal Connection
Networking remains the most viable way to find new job opportunities. One of the best services to use for networking is LinkedIn. The heart of LinkedIn is the ability to connect with others. Search for people on the site in a field or company you have an interest in. Make a list of about 5-10 individuals depending on the amount of time you have to devote to this. Send them a professional message that you are interested in the field and would appreciate feedback they can provide. Most people will be more than willing to help others with their expertise.
4. Seek Advice From Others
Before you go out on an interview, get the advice from others. We have the uncanny ability to not see the whole picture, or to second-guess ourselves. Get wisdom from others in any aspect of interviewing you think you are lacking in. This can range from what clothes to wear to your body posture and mannerisms. People with a different perspective can help you improve in areas that need it.
5. Find Out How You Can Help
One of the major reasons why an employer is hiring is to help with some kind of “pain.” This could be the need for a sales expert to help with expanding territory. It could also be a major project that requires the skills of a top-notch project manager to see it through. Maybe you are that person.
The key is to find the “pain” of an employer and to show how you can alleviate it. Identify what skills and achievements you have that can benefit the potential employer. Research the company by looking at what major initiatives they are doing. Present yourself as the person who can help drive change.
6. Find Out Who The Hiring Manager Is
You have probably seen in any job opening the phrase “send your resume to human resources.” Truth is, human resources is a gatekeeper and a filter that initially approves who will be interviewed. Avoid this if at all possible by finding who the hiring manager is.
This is possible just with a simple search on a company website. You can also find out from the company page on LinkedIn. If all else fails, try to go old school and find out by calling the company.
7. Use Defensive Measures
One aspect of the job search is to be active. Another that can help you stand out is to use passive measures. This allows you to be easily and readily found. Many recruiters look through resumes on online job boards or LinkedIn profiles to find candidates. Set yourself up to be found.
Look at specific jobs you are targeting. Study announcements for those jobs or similar positions. Look at relevant keywords and action verbs that are congruent throughout. Place these in online marketing correspondences like your LinkedIn profile.
These activities may require some extra time and effort and putting yourself out there. But in a tough job market, true success comes from using these methods.
Featured photo credit: Kim Seng via flickr.com