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How To Stand Out In The Jobs Market

Filled in the form, fired off a CV and now just hoping for the best? Well there’s a lot more you can do to make your application stand out from the crowd.

With countless numbers of jobseekers going after every position you need to make sure your polished CV makes the dreaded cut. From streamline cover letters to social media networking, taking an all-together different approach can be the smart way to getting yourself a new job.

If you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle you have to make sure your application is as tailored as possible. People will often spend lots of precious time filling in complicated forms only to send a bog-standard cover letter or email with their final application.

Your cover letter is the first thing your potential employee sees and should therefore be used as a marketing tool. Here you can not only show off your potential, but let the company know just how much you know about their business.

Use the job description to highlight the key skills your potential employer is looking for and match them with your own experience in the cover letter. For example if you know the company is looking for a team player, now is the ideal time to mention your work as a team leader or the industry award your departmental team picked up last year.

If you feel the job description is a little vague you could always phone the company up and ask to speak to the person in charge of recruitment. Not only does this demonstrate how keen you are and therefore more likely to be remembered, it could also arm you with more information than any other candidate.

For those changing career or branching out in a new direction be sure to explain your reasons for applying. By tackling any tricky questions potential employers may have head on, you’re increasing your chances of making it to the crucial interview stage.

Some people opt for quirky, memorable ways to help them stand out. If you work in a creative field, showing your work off to potential employers can lead to lots of interest and job offers. The internet is a great way to do this because it’s so instantly accessible.

Everyone has also heard of people sending CVs in wellington boots or even handwriting their applications in the hope employers single them out.

These unconventional tricks can work but it all depends on the job and the company you plan to work for. An advertising agency might love your quirky online sales pitch but an accountancy firm is unlikely to be impressed with your inability to follow the rules.

Many jobseekers also forget to factor in Social Media when hunting for their ideal job. In today’s world recruiters are just as likely to spot potential employees on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as they are from formal letters.

If you are connected to someone on Twitter who works for the company you could always get in touch asking what it’s like to work there. Facebook might not seem a potential recruitment tool at first but there are ways to get noticed. For one thing, just like LinkedIn it’s an excellent way of building up a relationship with individual companies and broadening your network.

In this day and age it’s also easy to forget just how powerful personal connections can be in helping you land a new position. Research suggests that between 60 and 80% of jobs are found through personal connections.1 Make sure you spread the word and let friends and family know you are actively looking. If something comes up they are far more likely to let you know about it.

When all your efforts result in an interview, it’s time to perfect your sales pitch. Think about questions they might ask and study your CV for any grey areas your potential employers will want to know more about.

Really know the company you want to join and be prepared to show off your knowledge in the interview itself. Employers are always impressed by candidates who know their products, services and company goals.

It’s worth remembering too that there will always be questions you didn’t expect. Make sure you really understand what’s being asked before you answer and take your time – it shows you’re thinking logically rather than just launching into a nervous reply.

By tailoring your applications, broadening your horizons and thinking outside the box you will greatly increase the chances of your application landing on the ‘yes’ pile.



John Bennett, director of the Master of Science and executive coaching and assistant professor of behavioural science at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte.

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