How to Stand Out in a Sea of Candidates

When in pursuit of a new job, it can feel like a shot in the dark.  Although you know what credentials you bring to the table and all of the reasons you’re the most qualified candidate in a pool of dozens; you are likely wondering if it’s even possible to stand out as noteworthy among your competition. Despite commonly held belief, there are many tactics you can use to be noticed amidst a collective of other applicants. Here are some examples:


Tailor Your Résumé

When it comes to the hiring process, the company-candidate matchmaking begins with your résumé. While in search of a new job, especially if you are in urgent need of a steady income, you may be inclined to throw together an all-encompassing résumé and fire it off to as many organizations as possible. However, when hiring managers are reviewing applicants, they are looking for someone who will meet the requirements for their company, not just the industry in general. Taking the extra time to refine your résumé by putting the job title you are applying for in the “objective” section and listing out skills that are relevant to the specific position, confirm that you will perform well, since from the beginning you were willing to go the extra mile.

Additionally, don’t forget to include a cover letter. This illustrates that you are serious about the position and gives you even more of a chance to discuss your abilities and experience. Remember, the goal is to be a pink envelope in a stack of white envelopes.

Show Initiative

You never know how many other people are applying for the same position as you. If there are hundreds of applications, chances are, some of them are going to get discarded. Don’t let yours be one of them. A few days after submitting your application, reach out to the hiring manager and let them know that you applied. This will encourage them to review your résumé if they haven’t already or give it a second and longer look. If you reach out through a phone call, you may even get the opportunity to showcase your personality a bit.

Furthermore, companies want to recruit people who are eager to work for them. Getting in contact with the hiring manager will express your interest in this particular company, showing that they were not just a number on your list of “possible places to work”.


Present Your Work

Especially for positions that require tangible results, it is important that you have a portfolio of past projects and/or data that showcases your contributions to your previous company. People can go on and on about how great they are and how perfect of a fit they would be, but nothing exhibits your value better than proof. This can look like photos of a project you worked on, a link to a website you built, marketing collateral you designed, or a document of your sales numbers. When trying to outshine other candidates in the interview process, it’s important to show companies what you can do, not just tell them.


Research the Company

Something that not enough people do prior to going into an interview is educate themselves on the company they have applied to. Nothing will make a lasting impression better than knowing what year the company was founded, who the CEO is, or how many locations a business has. If you’ve done your due diligence, you will know all three of those answers going into an interview. Not only will this communicate your genuine interest in the company, it will make you look resourceful and well-prepared. Also, you never know when a hiring manager will put you on the spot and ask what you know about the organization. Don’t get caught at a loss for words. Instead, astound them with the amount of knowledge and awareness you do have surrounding the company.


Be Specific and Results Oriented

When responding to questions during an interview, do your best to give personal career examples as often as possible. This will show the person conducting the interview that you have a fundamental understanding of what is being asked and will convey an element of sincerity. Too often, candidates get caught up in trying to tell an interviewer what they want to hear, not realizing that they have likely heard the same response a million times before. By using thought out examples of what you have achieved or completed in the past, the hiring manager will have a better idea of your capabilities and what results you will be able to produce for the company.

Be Personable and Show Enthusiasm

It is no secret that no matter what position you are trying to acquire, you want to make a good impression on the person interviewing you. Because of this, it is all too common for candidates to be tense and act overly polished during an interview. Although it is important that you present yourself as serious about your career, in order to determine whether or not you are a good culture fit for the company, the hiring manager must be able to see your personality…and let’s be honest, no one wants to hire someone who is uptight. Be ready to make the conversation a dialogue, not just a question and answer session. People tend to hold back their passion and excitement about opportunities for fear of looking desperate or second-rate, but even with all of the necessary skills and experience, if you lack eagerness for a position, the company will gloss over you and onboard someone who is keen on the idea of working there.

If you are in the market for a new job, be sure to check out our list of opportunities here