If you want the job, you need to put in the work and effort. No one is going just to hand you a position because you applied. You need to prove your worth. The candidates that land the coveted roles have mastered this concept and have done all of the effectual things to seal the deal.
Here is a list of the tactics that top candidates are using which gives them the edge over the competition. If you are not doing all or even some of these things, it is not too late to implement them in your job search!
Customize your resume. Your resume needs to be tailored to every single job. It is an important and necessary step! If you use one generic resume, you will be discarded as soon as it reaches the ATS. You can’t be everything to everyone in this document, so stop trying and modify it to each role.
Research the company. You must know about and study the company before you go in for an interview. A lot of hiring managers will ask you what you know about their business or their brand. The last thing you want to say is you aren’t familiar with the specifics. This step is easy yet so often overlooked: Go to the company website and/or Google them beforehand. Knowing what their most current project or obstacles are will set you on the right track and help you talk intelligently about how you can fit in and be part of their company journey.
Update your LinkedIn profile. Ninety-six percent of recruiters will preview your profile before deciding whether or not they want to bring you in for an interview. Show them that you are approachable and have a direction. A standout profile will help you back up your resume and give life to the person behind the accomplishments. Don’t gloss over your LinkedIn presence as it plays more of a role in landing you an interview than you think!
Know your value. You must know what you bring to the table. Then you must be able to effectively articulate this to an Employer. If you can’t communicate your own value, you are wasting everyone’s time.
Dress the part. You should dress for the job you want. Know what type of industry you are applying to and the appropriate dress code for that domain. When in doubt, it is better to overdress than underdress. No one will ever speak ill of you for trying to make a professional first impression. However, you will be a future example of what not to wear if you show up looking like you are going to grab a beer rather than land a job.
Know the latest trends and etiquette for today’s market. Yes, this requires some effort on your part. You need to read about trends in the workplace. You don’t want to seem irrelevant or make a faux pas. Find industry influencers, career experts in your field, or news feeds related to your work. This keeps you informed on breaking news and keeps you on top of what’s relevant. (You can signup for our newsletter here).
Set goals/timelines. The worst thing for a career is complacency. If your current job or situation isn’t working for you, you need to make a change. Set up a timeline in which you want to be out of your current company or on your way to starting a new career path. Change never comes by hoping, wishing, or complaining. You must take action and hold yourself accountable. Your career is yours so manage it accordingly.
Network. Top candidates are constantly networking and letting people know that they are actively seeking new opportunities. The more people that know you are interested in changing paths, the better. You will be top of mind if a position becomes available. Keep in mind networking is about building relationships not being a parasite. Make sure you are reciprocal and engage your contacts on a regular basis about more than your job hunt.
Don’t wait until the last minute. It is important to be prepared for the arrival of an opportunity. You need to make sure your marketing documents are up to date, that you know how to answer interview questions, and that you can provide an employer with any information that they need. You should not have to scramble to put anything together at the last minute.
Your career documents should always be evolving with your career and not forgotten until you find yourself facing a dire situation. Track your accomplishments and keep your reference list, resume, and talking points up-to-date.
Follow-up. The best candidates follow-up. They know who to contact and how to reach them. They send a hand-written thank you note immediately following the interview. Each job posting averages 200-250 applications these days. Following up with the recruiter or hiring manager can sometimes move you to the top of the list for the sheer fact that you are showing this type of dedicated interest.
Simple steps like this matter but always remember to be polite, cognizant of the person’s time, and keep your tone positive. Desperation or pushiness can do way more harm than good. Keep it breezy and practice with others if you are unsure about how you are coming off during interactions. Just make sure it is someone that will tell you the truth!
These ten steps differentiate a mediocre candidate from a top candidate. If you want to be a standout, follow these strategies, and you will soon be on your way. Go the extra mile; it will be well worth it!