Nine Ways to Stand Out from the Job Candidate Crowd

Landing a job in today’s economy is no easy task. With so many other people vying for the same position, it’s important to make yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd. According to a report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers said they planned to hire 26.6 percent more new college graduates this year than they did last year. However, with more than 4 million people expected to graduate from college this year, that still leaves a lot of competition.

So how can you make sure you’re the candidate that gets noticed? Here are 9 ways you can make yourself stand out and improve your chances of getting hired.

1.  Network, Network, Network

Meeting people and networking is key to finding a job. Attend industry events, connect with people on LinkedIn, and get involved with professional organizations.

The more people you know, the more likely you’ll hear about job openings – and your name will be at the top of the list when recommendations are being made.

2.  Your Resume Is Your Calling Card

Your resume is often the first impression you make on a potential employer. Make sure it’s up to date and free of any grammar or spelling errors. Highlight your skills and accomplishments, and be sure to tailor them to each specific job you’re applying for.

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written cover letter, either. In a survey of hiring managers by CareerBuilder, 45 percent said they were less likely to interview a candidate if they submitted a generic cover letter.

3.  Create an Online Presence

In today’s digital world, potential employers will often search your name before considering you for a job. Make sure your online presence is professional and reflects well on you. Have a professional-sounding email address and set up social media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

According to CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. So, if your profile is full of photos of you partying or making rude comments, it could cost you a shot at the job.

4.  Research the Company

When you know more about the company, you can make a better impression in the interview. Review the company’s website and read up on their history, products, and services.

And if you know anyone who works there, ask them about the culture and what it’s like to work there. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to answer questions and talk about why you’re a good fit for the organization.

5.  Dress the Part

How you dress says a lot about you and how seriously you take the job opportunity. In the same OfficeTeam survey, 26 percent of respondents said that wearing inappropriate or casual clothing is one of the most common mistakes made by job candidates.

When in doubt, err on the side of being too formal rather than too casual.

And pay attention to your grooming. Make sure your hair is neatly styled, your nails are clean and manicured, and you’re not wearing too much perfume or cologne.

6.  Be Punctual

This may seem like a no-brainer, but being punctual is crucial when trying to make a good impression. In a survey by OfficeTeam, 33 percent of senior managers said being late for an interview is one of the worst things a job candidate can do.

If you’re running late, call ahead and explain why. And if you know you’re going to be late for an interview, reschedule it. Better yet, aim to be 10 minutes early.

7.  Have Confidence

Personality plays an important part in the hiring managers’ selection process to deem a candidate a “good fit” for their company. In the CareerBuilder survey, 24 percent of managers said that lack of confidence is one of the biggest mistakes job candidates make.

If you don’t believe in yourself, why should the hiring manager? So before your interview, take some time to think about your strengths and successes. This will help you project confidence when you’re talking to potential employers.

And don’t forget to smile – it makes you seem more approachable and can help put the interviewer at ease.

8.  Focus on Your Strengths

In an interview, employers want to know what makes you special and why they should hire you over someone else. So, focus on your strengths and what makes you unique.

And don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a little bit. If you have any awards or accomplishments, be sure to mention them. Just don’t come across as arrogant or cocky.

9.  Be Enthusiastic

Your attitude can make a big difference in whether or not you get the job. Employers want to see that you’re excited about the opportunity and enthusiastic about the company and the position.

So, smile, exude positive energy, and show them why you’re the best person for the job.

The Bottom Line

Standing out from the job candidate crowd can make a big difference in whether or not you get hired. So put your best foot forward, do your research, and be confident in your abilities. With a little effort, you’re sure to land the job you want.


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