Looking for a Job? Here’s How to Stand Out from Other Applicants
A common tip when job-hunting is to send applications to around 10-15 companies per week. This is because each position can attract at least dozens of applicants. Corporate job roles or those with a fully remote work setup are especially competitive, with recruiters often receiving hundreds of emails.
Many of the other applicants will likely have glowing references, well-written cover letters, and CVs showing considerable experience. Since only one person will be chosen for the role, how can you stand out from other applicants?
Try these out to get the attention of hiring managers:
Prepare a portfolio or website
If you’re in a creative or product-oriented role such as design, web development, or marketing, recruiters will inevitably ask you for a portfolio to gauge your overall skill. However, even job candidates in other roles will benefit from having a portfolio, which functions as a list of your accomplishments. For example, people applying for an HR job can come up with case studies of work situations they’ve been in and explain what their decision-making was like.
While portfolios can be sent as PDFs, a Google Drive folder, or separate links, it’s more organized and impressive-looking to have them uploaded into a personal website. Recruiters will find this more convenient to click through, and you also get a chance to make an impression on them with your personal branding.
Research on the company
A frequent mistake that job applicants make is not doing enough research on the company offering the role. Before you send them an email, you need at least a basic understanding of their branding. Instead of shooting off an application right away based on their job post, take the time to visit the company’s website and social media so you can figure out what they’re looking for.
You would send a different email or cover letter to a major bank as compared to a tech startup, even if you’re applying for the same role. Take note too of any keywords that they can use so you can mention related experiences in your cover letter. Once the recruiter has moved you up to the interview stages, dig in even further and research about what projects the company has been doing recently.
Be prepared for assessments
Job candidates tend to be concerned about the first and last stages of the application process–namely, sending your CV to the company and doing interviews. However, there are often several steps in between these. Employers might ask you to analyze case studies, make presentations, or perform a simple test that’s related to what you would be doing on the job.
To further screen candidates, some employers will even require aptitude tests, which range from inductive reasoning to mechanical reasoning tests. These are typically answered online under a strict time limit, and you have to get a passing score to continue being a job candidate. If recruiters inform you that you’ll have to take an aptitude test, take it seriously and practice on at least one sample test before.
Show that you’re willing to grow and learn
Recruiters can generally get a good idea of your past accomplishments and skills based on your portfolio, but they’ll get to know you as a human being during interviews. Aside from having good answers ready for the standard interview questions, it would also be helpful for you to brainstorm on memorable anecdotes that you can share. Recruiters want to know your competence on the job, but they will also examine your mindset, soft skills, and willingness to grow and learn. After all, workplaces today are rapidly changing, and employees have to pick up new skills constantly or take on more responsibilities.
Think of a few situations in your life where you demonstrated a growth mindset. Maybe you’ve done side projects related to your industry even if they were unnecessary, handled a problem at work that was out of your comfort zone, or showed entrepreneurial initiative. Whatever it is, have your anecdotes ready so you can bring them up at relevant moments in the interview.
Although job applications can be very competitive, most recruiters are already seasoned at hunting for the right candidate, and they know what they’re looking for. By stepping up and incorporating these four tips, you stand a higher chance of getting noticed among all of the other applicants.