As a job seeker you may be wondering, What will make me stand out? How can I differentiate myself in the job search process? With so many qualified people applying for the same job, how can I compete?
Here are some practical tips for making a positive impression on employers that will say to them, Hire me.
Analyze several job postings for the field that you are looking for a job in and develop a list of keywords from those postings that you incorporate into the resume in your summary section under a subheading entitled Core Competencies. Employers search their database of resumes by keywords, so having these terms on your resume increases your chances of your resume being selected for further review.
Use an easy-to-follow format that relieves the hiring manager of the task of searching through your resume to determine if you are qualified. Your resume should be written in such a way that it will make the cut when the reviewer gives your resume the 20-30 second glance.
Make sure to use strong accomplishment statements in your Professional Experience section, quantifying wherever possible. The employer should know at a glance that you have made a significant contribution to the organizations that you have worked for.
The Cover Letter
Your cover letter has to be tailored to the specific position that you are applying for in order for it to say to a potential employer, “Hire me.” A generic cover letter doesn’t have a specific target, and it is not very effective. Employers want to know that you are interested in their specific job, not just that you want a job, any job. Analyze the vacancy announcement and customize your cover letter accordingly.
Work a few (two or three) strong accomplishment statements into your cover letter to grab the employer’s attention. Choose accomplishments that directly relate to the position that you are applying for.
Keep your responses job-related. Many job seekers start off the interview on the wrong note when they respond to the statement, Tell me about yourself. Very often job seekers give a personal response instead of a professional response. They may volunteer information about their marital status, their children, where they grew up. Your response will say, “Hire me,” if you tailor your responses to the position you are applying for. Review that job announcement the night before the interview and write out some bullet points for yourself to speak to the employer’s needs.
Go through the company’s website in order to gain information about their values, mission, and any upcoming projects or initiatives. When asked a question, weave the research that you have done into your answer. The employer will be impressed with your thoroughness.
Above all, make sure that you have stories that you can relate to the hiring manager that illustrate any claims that you make. For example, a commonly asked interview question is, What are your strengths? Instead of simply saying, “I’m hard-working and dedicated,” give an example of a specific incident that proves this to be true. My favorite example is from a workshop participant who told me that she stayed after her federal building closed due to a snowstorm to work on the payroll to make sure that her co-workers were paid on time. That illustrates well her claim that she is hard-working and dedicated. That story gives credibility to her answer.
To discuss with a career coach how you can distinguish yourself from the competition, call 877-743-9521 today!