Standing Out as a Job Applicant

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Millions of people lost their jobs when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and while the job market has started bouncing back in some areas, unemployment still remains high. There’s so much competition for the open jobs that it’s more difficult than ever to get beyond the application stage to that critical interview.

Maybe you’ve already updated your resume, found potential jobs, and started sending in applications. If you’re striking out, you’re not alone. But despite the disruption to the current job market, you can take some measures to make sure you stand out as an applicant. Companies are hiring, so the trick is to make your application stand out from the rest.

How do you do that? We’ve put together some helpful strategies and “secret weapons” you can use to increase your chance of scoring an interview.

Strategy #1 – Think Outside the Box When Applying

Lately, hiring managers deal with a high volume of job applications, which means it’s even more challenging to stand out from the crowd. Make their job easy by thinking outside the box and doing something different that will grab their attention. Consider sending a short video or even a PowerPoint pitch deck instead of using a traditional cover letter. Thinking outside the box can take your application to the forefront quickly.

Strategy #2 – Show, Don’t Just Tell, Your Skills

Your skills are an essential part of your resume and application, but make sure you’re showing your skills instead of simply telling potential employers about them. While your resume and cover letter describe your skills, having a portfolio will show off those abilities. Have an online portfolio that potential employers can easily access when they get your application, making it something that helps you score that interview instead of being something you bring along to a later interview. Showcasing your skills might be the difference between ending up at the bottom of the application pile and getting called in for an interview.

Strategy #3 – Go Beyond Your Skills to Show How You Can Contribute

The next strategy is to go beyond just showing your skills to showing how you’ll actually contribute to the company. While it’s essential to display the skills you possess, explain what those skills can do for the company. Maybe you can reduce financial losses, improve ease of use for a product, or create a healthier workforce. However you can contribute, be sure to present it in your initial application so hiring managers aren’t left guessing how you’ll make a difference in the organization.

Strategy #4 – Build Your Personal Brand on Social Media

Social media isn’t just useful for building company brands, it’s essential in building your own brand. It’s a powerful tool you can use to further show your work, skills, and reputation. Most hiring managers will take time to check out your social media channels before they call you in for an interview. Make sure your channels set you up for success, displaying your connections, skills, and responsibility.

Speaking of social media, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social media channels for connecting with other professionals. Many organizations even look for potential job candidates on this platform. Since searches often use keywords, give your LinkedIn profile a refresh including keywords that potential employers may use to search for prospective candidates.

Strategy #5 – Tap Into Entrepreneurial Behaviors

Even if you’ve had some downtime due to job loss during the global pandemic, you can still show potential employers that you have an entrepreneurial spirit. Hiring managers often look for individuals that show entrepreneurial behaviors. Maybe you started a side business once you got laid off or you spent time working for a charity. Whatever the case, if you can show how you’ve been pushing forward and continuing to improve yourself during the tough times we’ve all faced over the past several months, it’s sure to stand out to potential employers.

Yes, the job market is tough right now, but if you’re applying for jobs with the same old resume and cover letter every other applicant is using, you won’t land an interview, much less the job. Make an investment in yourself and your future and begin using these strategies so you stand out from your competition for the best reasons.

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