You’re hired: 10 ways to be the standout candidate
It’s a tough world out there. Competition for jobs can be fierce and you’ll need to draw on every trick in the book to stand out from the crowd.
You may be about to graduate and looking for that first role fresh out of uni. Or you could simply be searching for work while you continue your studies. Either way, it’s important to have an edge over your competition. So here are 10 top tips to help you gain a competitive advantage – and get yourself hired.
1. Demonstrate your passion
There are a few simple ways to showcase your commitment to a potential employer. For example, you may want to join a university club relevant to your desired industry or course. Or sign up for volunteer work and other hands-on work experience to show your heart is in it.
It’s also a good idea to apply for internships. They’re very popular with students, so they’re not easy to win, but if you can land a role with your company of choice, it could be a foot in the door to a graduate role.
2. Set up your LinkedIn profile
A LinkedIn profile shows employers that you take your career ambitions seriously. It’s an easy step-by-step process to create an account and once you’re signed up, you’ll be connected with others in your industry and local area.
And here’s a little secret: recruiters often use LinkedIn to search for potential new candidates – so get yourself connected, so to speak, and make sure you’re not missing out.
They say it’s not what you know, but who you know that matters. In today’s connected world, it’s never been more important to put yourself out there by attending local networking events in your chosen industry. Some are free, but even if there’s an admission charge, it’s often money well spent. You’ll build your network connections, and there’s a chance you could get referred for a job or even meet your future employer.
4. Do your research
It sounds like basic common sense, but you’ll be surprised how many job seekers don’t bother researching a role… and subsequently come unstuck at the interview. It’s important to research the company to understand as much as possible about its mission, vision and values.
Visit the company’s website, familiarise yourself with its products and services and use the knowledge you gain to formulate interesting questions. Not only will it reflect well on you in an interview, it’s also a great way to gauge whether the company is a good fit for you.
5. Develop a portfolio
There’s an old saying: ‘Don’t tell me you’re funny, tell me a joke.’ In other words, give me evidence to support your claims. A portfolio can be a powerful tool to help you stand out in the interview process.
Whether it’s a hard copy book or a website of your work, it’s a great way to demonstrate the real world clients and projects you’ve worked on. While others turn up with the usual CV and covering letter, you’ll be one step ahead with a visual display to showcase your expertise and passion.
6. Tailor your CV and cover letter
If you want to demonstrate to the recruiter or hiring manager that you are truly passionate about the role you have applied for, make sure you tailor your CV and cover letter. This means to add or remove things so that your application is tailored to the specific job that you are applying for. It shows that you’ve done your research and spent time preparing your application – qualities most organisations are looking for.
7. Don’t be a lazy job seeker
If the job listing displays specific requirements for how to apply for the role, make sure you meet these requirements e.g. if they are for a cover letter, make sure you submit one. It also doesn’t hurt to follow up with a phone call – this demonstrates that you are interested in the role and can potentially put you ahead of other applicants.
8. Check your digital footprint
It’s easy to forget about checking your digital footprint. Nearly all recruiters will search for you in Google, check out your Facebook and Instagram and see what they can find out about you online. There’s nothing wrong with having photos from last Saturday night on your Facebook Profile – but it’s best to have your settings set to Friends Only to avoid anything unprofessional being seen by your potential future employer. Revisit your social accounts and double check your privacy settings.
Another thing to consider is your email address. We all grew up with cringe-worthy hotmail or gmail email – [email protected] doesn’t project professionalism to recruiters. It’s worth setting up a professional email address to use for job applications – [email protected] is ideal.
9. Leave bias information off your CV
When applying for a new role, you don’t want anyone making assumptions about you before you have had a chance to wow them in a face to face interview. Remove your date of birth, gender, address and hobbies from your CV.
10. Expect to be contacted
Listen to your voicemail, return any messages you receive and check your emails daily. Most recruiters are looking to get you in for an interview as soon as possible – you don’t want to miss out on any opportunity. Also be mindful that not all recruiters are working in the same city as you, and you may receive an email/phone call after hours.
Opportunities are rarely served to you on a plate; success comes to those who chase it. So get out there and don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd!