Many job seekers start their search for a new job at the beginning of the new year; however, the unfortunate truth is that their resume often sits as one in a stack of one hundred. With stiff competition, how do you stand out and make sure you are getting in front of employers and securing your dream job?
Our recruiters at Valiant Search, an executive search firm, have put together a list of eleven tips you can utilize to make sure you stand out during this new year’s hiring rush.
What Steps Can You Take to Differentiate Yourself?
Ask Insightful Questions
While it’s relatively common practice for people to do their research on companies they are applying to, be sure to save some questions for your interview as well. One of the most common pitfalls we see among those stuck in the job market is not interacting with the interviewers. Remember, interviews are a two-way street; both parties are looking for the right fit. Especially now that many employers are switching to in-person interviews, making sure the conversation flows smoothly and that you get a good idea of the company and its practices is more crucial than ever.
Spruce Up Your LinkedIn Profile
With the advent of the virtual interviews, online job profiles and networking sites have become instrumental for showing off your work history, skills, and accomplishments outside of the traditional resume. By sprucing up your LinkedIn profile, not only will your employer get a good idea of what you’ve done and who you are, but it also gives you a new avenue to reach out to potential new employers/coworkers in a more casual environment than email.
For those who aren’t tech-savvy, a good starting point is to make sure that your profile picture and information are up-to-date. Additionally, consider asking some of your current or past colleagues to endorse skills you have to strut your stuff.
Have a Business Card Handy
Sticking with the theme of making an impression, one of the best ways to do that is with a business card. The physical memento of your interview will leave a good impression of you afterwards, and it serves as a way to make sure a potential employer has your full contact information—as many job seekers only put partial contact information on their resume.
Reach out for Referrals or Recommendations
It’s not what you know, but who you know. While this old adage isn’t gospel, there is definitely some truth to the words. Having a recommendation or a referral automatically gives you an in, which can be instrumental in your job search. With a referral or recommendation, companies can learn a little bit about you before your interview and discover what you can bring to the table.
This is part of the reason why we recommend job seekers maintain their LinkedIn and other online profiles, as these sites make it easy to see whom your prior colleagues might have worked with or have connections to that could serve as an in for you.
Double and Triple Check Your Resume
Your resume oftentimes serves as your first impression to a potential employer—and as such— it should be free from any grammatical or spelling errors. Be sure to double-check that all tenses match and that you have proper punctuation and formatting.
Another tip for crafting your resume is to consider using language from the job description as well. While it might seem tedious to tweak your resume for each application, doing so will ensure that employers know you fit the needs of the position and are serious about applying.
Get Familiar with the Company
As briefly mentioned earlier, it’s never a bad idea to do some digging on a company you are applying to and make sure you can see yourself fitting in there. A good place to start is to research your interviewer and their roles within the company so you can ask them targeted questions about how you would fit into the company’s larger vision.
Respond Promptly to Recruiters or Hiring Managers
Another surprisingly obvious tip, but especially for job seekers who are sending out multiple applications a day, be sure to stay on top of whom you are reaching out to and whom you need to respond to or follow up with. This helps to show that you are interested and that you want to make this opportunity a priority for any recruiter.
Give a Strong and Confident First Impression
As mentioned in our first tip, with in-person interviews becoming commonplace again, bringing a confident attitude can be the key to leaving a strong and lasting first impression. Be sure to keep in mind the basics of maintaining eye contact and giving a firm handshake, as well as noting your interviewer’s name and making that personal connection.
Another thing to note is to pay attention to your body language, especially if you are nervous. Interviewers want to see the best side of you, so if you close yourself off or fidget, it might give them reservations about offering you the position. Some remedies to help you get over the interview jitters could include meditative breathing, limiting your caffeine intake beforehand, and formulating some responses or bullet points to expected questions.
Be Interested in the Company and Position
While it might seem odd to note one’s interest in the company when you are applying and interviewing, it is a great and easy way to show your spirit and commitment to the potential opportunity. Be engaged during your interview and be open to making a meaningful connection with those at the company that you speak to. By doing so, you can be sure that you find a position that aligns both with your skillset and your values.
When in Doubt… Use the STAR Method
The STAR method stands for situation, task, action, and result and serves as a simple way to break down and respond to your interviewer’s questions. By breaking down your answer into these categories, you can make sure that you inform your interviewer about your work ethic and give them insight into your thought process and problem-solving skills. Rather than memorizing responses to specific questions, you can use the STAR method as a guide to put together a thorough response to many different behavioral interview questions.
If there was a question you couldn’t answer or if you had any take-home assignments, be sure to follow up on any promises promptly after your interview. While it may be tempting to assume they will forget about them, taking initiative and following up will show that you gave their questions the additional consideration they deserve, and will give you a convenient excuse to remind them of their interest.
Even if there weren’t any tasks or questions for you to follow up on, it is still common practice to send a thank you after an interview for the opportunity and their time. This serves as another notification to managers and interviewers that you are still interested and available after your first meeting.
Finding Success in the 2023 Job Market
In the end, the best way to ace a job interview and stand out this hiring season is to prepare. If you want to read more about tips for streamlining your job search or about breaking trends in the 2023 job market, check out our other blogs on our website.
Sean Macari is the CEO and owner of Valiant Search LLC, where he is responsible for assisting attorneys in their legal search and introducing top talent to law firms throughout New York and other markets across the United States.