When you’re searching for your next job, you’re not just looking for an organization and a role that are a good fit—
you’re also going head to head against lots of other qualified candidates, which can be a daunting prospect for even the most highly skilled job seekers! We’ve all likely heard the news that another candidate has been selected for the role we’re pursuing—despite the fact that we may have tons of experience, coveted skills, aced the interview and felt confident about being a great fit. The reality is, there are lots of great applicants out there all competing for the same jobs, so it’s up to each of us to make ourselves shine from the very start!
Before you even have your first interaction with a recruiter, HR professional or hiring manager, there are a few quick and easy steps you can take to polish up your presentation and ensure you’re putting your best foot forward into your next job.
Clean up your online presence:
In this age of social media, it’s easy to blend our personal and professional lives online. But if you’re on the hunt for a new job, you may want to evaluate what your online profiles say about you, in case decision-makers at your next organization take a peek before offering you the position. Ensure your profile picture is professional, your “likes” are safe for work and your tweets, posts and more all are aligned with what you would want a future employer to know about you.
Rely on LinkedIn:
If you haven’t yet created a LinkedIn account, now is a great time to do so! And if you do have one, give it a quick refresh: Add your skills, details on all of your past positions and ask for endorsements from folks in your network.
Diversify your resume:
Both online and on paper, you should make sure your resume is well-rounded. While employers will certainly focus on your career history, don’t forget to include all of your other experiences. Education, training, volunteer and extracurricular activities—even if they’re not seemingly related to the work you’re doing now—can all communicate your skills, from leadership to organization to time management.
Look at the bigger picture:
When you’re trying to stand out from the crowd of candidates you’re up against, get innovative! For instance, if you’re pursuing a position for which creativity is a prime skill needed, put together a portfolio of writing, photography or other creative projects you’ve worked on. If the role requires leadership ability, submit letters of recommendation from former supervisors before the employer even asks for them. Being forward-thinking like this can show a future employer that you’re proactive and passionate—both of which can benefit any workplace!
Finetune your interview skills:
Grabbing the attention of your employer early on in the application process is important, but you also have to work on making them remember you when you meet in person (or virtually). Enroll in an online interview prep course or even have family or friends conduct practice interviews with you to get prepared. The more practice you have, the more confident you’ll be heading into the conversation—and confident candidates have a definite leg up!