What Exactly Does it Mean to "Stand Out" in Your Job Search?

John Krautzel
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The advice to make yourself stand out during the job search has become a staple for job seekers, but what does that advice really mean? If you want to score an interview, you need to stand out the right way. While some techniques can put you at the top of the candidate pile, others aren't so effective, even pushing hiring managers to disregard your application entirely. Follow these tips to become a standout candidate.

Don't Fake It

Trying to stand out using gimmicks usually backfires because your actions don't feel authentic to potential employers. For example, sending a fruit basket or writing your achievements of past jobs on parchment paper may make hiring managers feel that you're just trying to grab attention for the sake of it. When thinking of ways to stand out during the job search, ask yourself whether your idea matches your personality, work history or skill set. What you choose to do should expand on your resume, showing your potential employer who you are as a candidate and an individual.

Keep It Relevant

One of the key principles of standing out during the job search is making yourself more attractive as a candidate, not standing out just for the sake of being different. For instance, while printing your resume on pink paper sets you apart, it is likely to draw a negative response from hiring managers. On the other hand, creating a mock marketing campaign for a company if you're applying for a marketing position sets you apart while being relevant and valuable.

Taking Advantage of the Web

Many candidates do a quick Google search to learn more about a company before applying, but going a step further can make you stand out in the best way for a more successful job search. Study the profiles of potential interviewers on LinkedIn, and use the Alumni feature on the site to reach out to professionals who can give you even more in-depth information about the company. Building your own website with your own domain name can also be a useful job search tactic.

Standing Out When Following Up

Sending a thank-you note after an interview is proper etiquette, but don't miss the chance to create a lasting impression. Consider following up with a different kind of thank-you note, such as a video message. If you are applying for a graphic design job, you could even design your own thank-you card as another chance to show off your skills. Consider the company and the position to which you're applying to invent a unique yet appropriate thank-you.

Not every technique that sets you apart gets you closer to your dream job, but these simple tips can point you in the right direction. With some careful planning during your job search, you can become a standout candidate that catches the attention of potential employers.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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