Making the effort to stand out during your job search is more than looking perfect on paper or having a good reference. Job seekers need to show their work ethic and sell their ideas to employers, too.
If you really want to land a job, your resume and cover letter alone aren’t going to do the trick. Job seekers who truly want to make an outstanding first impression will have to use their actions to get noticed by employers.
Here are five actionable tips to help you stand out during the hiring process:
Create a website portfolio.
If your resume and cover letter caught the eye of an employer, it’s a good idea to have an online portfolio to supplement your application. In fact, four out of five employers say an electronic portfolio is useful in evaluating candidates during the hiring process.
Employers want to see what you’ve accomplished thus far because it shows them your potential when they hire you. Create a website about yourself featuring some of your best work and illustrates your story.
Making an online portfolio is very simple and can be created on a variety of platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, or Behance. LinkedIn also has the option now to build an online portfolio, however, creating a website allows you to showcase more of your personality than on your LinkedIn profile.
Meet the employer outside the office.
Before you apply for a job, make the effort to meet a person from the company for coffee. This can be a simple way to make an excellent first impression on the employer by showing your initiative.
During this meeting, make it your goal to learn about the inside workings of the organization. Find out what day-to-day work schedules are like and ask questions about the company culture. You can also talk about the industry you both work in and even find out what they’re looking for in future employees.
Do a project and present your ideas.
If you really want to sell yourself to an employer, conduct a project for the organization. This will show the employer your initiative, interest, and expertise. Not only that, but this is an also a great way to secure yourself an interview with the employer.
There are a number of projects you can do for an employer, but make sure the project is applicable for their organization. For example, if you noticed a weak area on the employer’s website (such as no company blog or unclear contact information), create a project around the solution to their website’s problem.
After your project is complete, schedule a meeting with the employer. If they take interest in your idea, chances are they’ll want to schedule an interview to learn more about your ideas.
Teach the employer a skill.
Want to have an edge on your application? Maybe you should consider teaching the employer a new skill.
This idea works best for job seekers who are constantly up-to-date on the current trends and news in their industry. If you’re one of these job seekers, make the effort to become an expert in a new program or strategy that’s about to enter your market.
Once you have a confident background in this idea, use it in your resume and cover letter to set yourself apart. Employers will be intrigued by your competitiveness and will want to learn more about the new skill you obtained.
Enter through the back door.
Finally, a tried-and-true way of making yourself stand out is if you network your way into a company. Once you find a position you want to apply for, search for the manager who’s in charge of that department. You should also network with employees who have a connection to that department, too. This is a great way to generate leads for jobs and wiggle your way into your desired company.
When it comes to standing out during your job search, actions always speak louder than your resume. The opportunities are endless for you to make a great first impression; you just have to be willing to put in a genuine effort to stand out from the crowd.
What actionable job search tips do you have for job seekers?