I have been thinking about how candidates can stand out in today’s viral environment. In the 80’s, when I first started looking for a job, we had to have our resumes professionally type set (so it was painful and costly if you had to redo it), and everything had to be done by US mail, now known as “snail mail.” So candidates did all kinds of things to get noticed by hiring managers; they FedEx’ed their resumes, they sent VHS video introductions, they showed up in Gorilla suits (seriously, I know of this happening). Today, everyone has their every movement captured on YouTube, we share our most intimate moments on Facebook, we have resume templates to follow and with a few keystrokes we can tailor them to whatever job we are applying for, and we can instantly communicate with prospective employers via IM or the Internet.
So back to my pondering; as a candidate how do you stand above the crowd in today’s job market? I think the answer is: you do all the little things excellently. Below is a list of the 5 things you can do every time you are in a job search that will help you stand out from your peers.
- Have someone proof read your resume before you send it so there are no typos and/or grammatical errors. Nothings says “I am disorganized and care so little about your job that I did not proofread my resume” like having typos in it.
- When sending an email introduction make it concise. The manager will spend about 10 seconds deciding if she/he is going to open your resume or just delete it. Make your words count.
- Prepare for the interview, whether on the phone or in person. Research the company, research the people interviewing you, dress professionally regardless of the environment, and for goodness sake, have questions to ask the interviewer(s).
- At the end of the interview be sure you ask for the job. Being coy can work when you are dating, but when it comes to getting the job employers want to know that you are engaged and WANT to come to work for them.
- Send a thank you note within 24 hours of completing your interview. It can be via email since email is the standard business communication tool, just be sure you send one.
These things may seem simple but you would be surprised how often candidates do not do one or more of them. If you follow the basic principle of doing the small things excellently you will make an impact and you will stand out from your crowd of peers.