It’s amazing how the vast majority of job candidates are exactly alike. Their resumes all look the same, their interview responses sound eerily similar, and their “interview personas” are indistinguishable. There is absolutely no way to stand out as a candidate, never mind get an offer.
If your resume looks similar to that of other job candidates, you’ll be treated like one too. You deserve more. You must bring something different to the table if you want an edge over the competition, and getting noticed is the first step towards having people actually read your resume (and don’t kid yourself, we all know how busy hiring managers and recruiters are).
Here’s a list of five concrete steps you can take to stand out as a job candidate:
1. Make certain your resume stands out. One easy way to do this is to include something unique about yourself in your resume’s introduction or objective statement. You can’t just say you’re a “self-starter” or that you have the ability to work in a team environment. That’s so generic it means nothing. Instead, give me something I haven’t seen before – maybe you were captain of the chess team in college, or perhaps your passion is restoring classic cars and you built one from scratch.
2. Include a unique “tell me about yourself” statement on your resume (or in an accompanying cover letter). This is another opportunity to make certain you stand out from the competition. Sure, you might have the usual bullet points that say you’re a good communicator and have strong analytical skills, but can you really expect someone to take those things seriously? In the same way you need to make certain your resume stands out, you must make sure your “tell me about yourself” statement does as well. It’s a chance for someone to get a feel of what makes you stand apart from other candidates, and perhaps more importantly, it’s a way to pique their interest – you will have their attention long enough to make it through the next step.
3. Answer interview questions, but also ask some of your own. I always appreciate when a job candidate asks me questions about our company’s culture or something we’ve been working on lately that’s caught his/her interest. I always love when both the candidate and I are able to talk about similar topics, because it makes me feel like we’re just having a conversation, not an interview.
4. Be memorable. This is the most important step of all. You want someone to be able to recall you after you’ve left the room, so that even if it’s just for a fleeting second while seeing other candidates, they remember spending time with “that person.” Imagine two similar candidates. One was quiet and somewhat awkward during the interview, but did manage to ask some engaging questions. The other candidate was outgoing and brought up things about our company that were unique and insightful. Who would you remember the most? The second candidate, of course. You want to be that person: outgoing, engaging, and memorable.
If the organization has a supply chain recruitment firm, they will be sorting through tons on applicants and you need to stand out from the rest. With these tips, you should be able to make a positive statement.