Let’s face it: searching for a new job can be extremely overwhelming and there are many moving parts. There’s the bare minimum you need to get done, like updating your resume, keeping track of all the listings you come across and following up to interviews, and then there’s the question of how to stand out.
With all the competition out there, it’s easy to panic just thinking about it. Others are probably more qualified than I am. He’s smarter than me. She’s been in the field longer than I have. You know the feeling.
But there are a few things you can do to make sure companies don’t skip over you. They’re fairly simple steps, but can go a long way in helping you get ahead in the hiring process. Below are five ways to make yourself more hireable.
- Brand Yourself: While a traditional resume is usually required in a job application, and fine on its own, you can take it up a notch by building a personal brand. Give yourself a subtitle, such as “Digital Media Professional & Content Marketing Whiz” or even something fun, like “Software Engineer with a Soft Spot for Analytics, Algebra and Kittens”. Depending on your field, it may be useful to create a simple portfolio website or online video to showcase yourself and your work. Here’s a great tutorial from Smashing Magazine. As hiring managers receive more and more resumes, you’ll have an edge over those with a plain old resume or boring cover letter.
- Use Social Media: Once you’ve created a personal brand and maybe even a website, social media is an excellent tool for connecting with hiring managers, other professionals and network groups. LinkedIn and Twitter are particularly useful, not only for interacting with others but for finding new opportunities as well. Just be sure to use social media in a professional manner! Avoid oversharing and posting inappropriate photos of yourself, since hiring managers can access your profile. Check out these tips from Business News Daily on using social media in the job search process for inspiration.
- Update Your Skills and Knowledge: When is the last time you updated your resume? This may seem like the obvious first step when applying for a new job, but have you looked closely at each section? Since you started at your last job, you’ve inevitably acquired new skills. Maybe you’ve gotten certified in something relevant, or completed a workshop. Don’t disregard things like learning a new language or using new computer software, either. This knowledge may be the thing that helps hiring managers seek you out in a crowd of candidates.
- Pick up a New Hobby or Interest: While not as simple as adding a skill you’ve already learned or updating your experience on your resume, intentionally setting out to try a new hobby or activity can help you stand out. Here is where you want to consider what type of industry and/or company you’d like to work for. Do you want to get into the culinary field? Take a cooking class. Education or social work? Volunteer at an after-school program. Not only will you try an enjoyable new activity, but it’s something to add to your resume that acts as a conversation starter. It’s always nice to have something in common with your interviewer, or at least be able to speak about an interesting experience you’ve had.
- Utilize your Network: There’s no doubt about it – personal referrals and references usually help your resume get to the top of the pile. If you’re actively seeking a new job, make sure your friends and family know it! You never know who may have a connection at your dream company, or an old colleague who’s looking to hire someone with your background and experience. Send a quick email to your personal network, ask for recommendations on LinkedIn and reach out right away when you do get a personal introduction.
So what step will you take right now to make yourself more hireable? Start small (like sending that email to your network) and work your way through the list. Be sure to prepare your materials in Rake, so that when you do come across those jobs that you’re perfect for, you’re all set to apply!
There’s no one else out there like you. All you need to do is make sure that hiring managers see how great you are! Follow these steps and you’ll be landing interviews in no time.