When you’re trying to land a job, you want to stand out from the crowd. That’s often easier said than done, though. Not only is competition fierce for the best jobs, but most recruiters and hiring managers are adept at seeing through jobseekers antics — and can spot someone who is trying to pull one over on them from a mile away.
In other words, you aren’t fooling anyone when you describe yourself in bombastic terms like “guru” or “mastermind,” or try to pass off your experience as a supermarket cashier as “Customer Experience Manager.” Nor are recruiters going to be impressed when you resort to flattery, or try to entice them by sending gifts.
So how can you get attention? First of all, being authentic and genuinely interested in the company, and being able to articulate clearly the value that you can bring, is always your best bet. However, you can improve your chances of keeping your resume from disappearing into the black hole of unsuitable candidates with a few other strategic moves.
1. Improve Your Social Media Game
If you aren’t including social media in your job search, you are already behind the curve. Most recruiters are using social media to find and engage with candidates — and they aren’t only using LinkedIn, either. While almost all recruiters who use social media rely on LinkedIn to find and evaluate potential employees, a growing number are turning to Facebook and Twitter as well.
What this means for you as a jobseeker is that not only do you need to follow the advice to clean up your online act, but you also need to learn how to engage more effectively on these platforms. Some of the strategies that have worked for other jobseekers include:
- Actively follow recruiters on Twitter. Reach out to ask questions or start a conversation, without directly asking for a job. Use Twitter to build a relationship. Recruiters often remember those that interact with them positively online and are able to share their passion and knowledge about the industry and company effectively.
- Use LinkedIn more effectively. Don’t just post your credentials; become a part of the community. Participate in groups and share your knowledge and expertise, or comment on LinkedIn Pulse articles. Recruiters look for those candidates who demonstrate their knowledge organically.
- Join Facebook groups, like industry related pages, and engage in a positive manner. Again, asking questions and sharing your knowledge by commenting on Facebook posts can attract a recruiter’s notice.
2. Show Your Passion
If there is one trait that nearly every recruiter is looking for, it’s passion. They want to hire people who not only care about their own jobs, but about the company and the industry as a whole. So how do you do that before you even score an in-person interview?
There are several ways. Engaging effectively on social media is one way, but you can do more. Start a blog to write about issues effecting your field; not only do you show your passion, but a blog allows you to demonstrate your writing skills and knowledge. Contribute articles to LinkedIn, and share them on social media to encourage engagement. This is especially valuable when you’re looking for a job within the communications field or that requires significant interaction with stakeholders, as it demonstrates your ability to be informative and articulate.
3. Be Creative
While some recruiters appreciate a straightforward resume (and you should always have one available), recruiters report being impressed by those candidates who find unique ways of presenting their credentials. Infographics, video resumes, online portfolios, and PowerPoint presentations have all successfully caught recruiters’ attention. The key, again, is to not come across as gimmicky, and to create a product that is high quality and authentic. If you don’t have the skills to create a profession presentation, or don’t have the resources to get help, stick to the standard format.
While creating “wow-worthy” applications and connecting on social media can grab attention, recruiters still report that the candidates they’re most likely to hire are those who communicate well, have done their homework on the company and its culture, and who can quantify their accomplishments and what they can bring to the company. Candidates who can demonstrate that they can help a company meet its goals will always rise to the top. So focus on how you provide value and the recruiters will come calling.