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Job Hunting? 15 Ways To Stand Out From The Competition

June, 1: In recent years, the job market has swung heavily in favor of candidates, with companies working hard to attract and retain their industry’s top talent. While this is still largely the case, it doesn’t mean job seekers always have the upper hand: In fact, many applicants still face steep competition for coveted positions and must find a way to stand out from the crowd.

A great resume and cover letter are a solid start, but if you really want to wow a hiring manager, you’ll need to go the extra mile. Follow these tips from Forbes Coaches Council if you want to gain an edge over other candidates in your job search.

1. Look The Part

It only takes seven seconds to make a first impression. Make sure the second someone looks at you, you are making the best possible first impression. That means dressing professionally and being well-groomed. Don’t overdo the cologne or makeup. Be yourself, but step it up a notch. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC

2. Show Them How You Can Add Value To The Company

Many people think about what they need in their next job: title, salary, culture, etc. But to stand out in a search, you have to meet the company’s needs. Shift your mindset to how you can add value to the company. This approach, combined with research and active listening, will help you tailor your story and present your experience without feeling the pressure of having to sell yourself. – Molly Walsh, Standout Consulting

3. Send A Handwritten Thank-You Note

I always encourage candidates to use the handwritten note to thank those they interview with. As technology continues its creep into everything we do, the handwritten note sends a clear message that someone thought enough to take the time to write a personal thank you. The handwritten note cannot change what the candidate knows, but it can change the impression left on the hiring manager. – Dan Ryan, Ryan Search & Consulting

Job seekers will stand out by strategically using content on LinkedIn and other professional social media platforms. Smart content will trigger new conversations and provide proof of expertise to those involved in hiring. Content can be original articles, sharing of articles and information from reputable sources and commenting on other people’s content. – Stacey Staaterman, Stacey Staaterman Coaching & Consulting

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches.Do I qualify?

5. Ask The Right Questions

I listen carefully to the questions asked by the candidate. If they center on the pay or benefits, I’ll take a pass. If they are about company values, what gets rewarded, the performance feedback mechanism, and the characteristics of leadership I’ll look at a candidate much more carefully. It tells me they are interested in people and what makes our company different. – David Garrison, Profitable Engagements

6. Always Be As Prepared As Possible For An Interview

There’s nothing like preparing like a champ to keep you on the right track. Stand out from your competition by showcasing your competency, passion and true authentic self. Do your research on the potential employer, tailor your questions based on your research, job responsibilities and the company culture. – Nadidah Coveney, CTM Consulting Group LLC

7. Create A Personal Brand Video

Having a personal brand video that highlights your personality and unique value proposition would definitely be a great way to stand out. A video link could accompany your resume and serve as a 60-second elevator pitch to give the hiring manager a quick summary of your skill set, personality and why you feel you’re a good match for the job in your own words. – Lori Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group

8. Have A Clear And Consistent Tagline

Create a clear, consistent message that demonstrates who you are and what you bring to the table. This message should be evident across all channels, including online presence and in-person interactions. This instills confidence in potential employers about your goals and leaves a lasting impression on them. It gives you an edge over competition that may not have as strong of a personal brand. – Claire Simier Karsevar, Simier Partners

9. Offer Social Proof Of Your Qualifications

In the “testimonial economy,” what we say about us doesn’t matter much. Instead, let others offer social proof of your qualifications. Testimonials from former managers, colleagues and customers on LinkedIn work well. So do quantified achievements on your resume and social profiles. Don’t say you can do it — prove you’ve already done it. – Mark S. Babbitt, YouTern

10. Send A Creative Follow-Up

Most people send a thank-you email or a written card, but I once sent a card via FedEx to make sure the hiring manager opened it. He was so impressed he called me personally to offer me the job. While all the job seekers had talked about their creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, I was the only one who had demonstrated it. Figure out your best path to follow up that leaves an impression. – Maresa Friedman, Executive Cat Herder

11. Gain An Advocate On The Inside

A key networking technique is to develop relationships with influencers at your target organizations. Seek out a line manager or a leader in the unit you are targeting. Build rapport in your conversations and demonstrate a powerful case for your transferable skills and cultural fit. This relationship-building approach will enable you to go to the decision-maker and bypass that crowd of candidates. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

12. Enhance Your Skill Set

Having experience and a college/graduate degree is often necessary, but you can stand out from your competition by participating in ongoing training through webinars and certification programs. This is especially necessary if you are seeking a promotion or to change industries. Also, reading books about your industry is helpful. You should always seek to position yourself as a lifelong learner. – LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

13. Have A Plan To Put Your Skills And Accomplishments Into Action On The Job

I tell my clients what sets you apart from other candidates are your accomplishments. However, you have to know how to present those accomplishments in a way in which the hiring manager can see you succeeding when they hire you. Research the role and have an action plan for your first 90 days on the job. – Katrina Brittingham, VentureReady LLC

14. Conduct A SWOT Analysis

When I was in advertising, we conducted a SWOT analysis to help brands stand out from their competition. Now, I use that tool to help clients stand out among other candidates for a job. It focuses on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to identify your unique value to an employer. The best part is you’ll end up with a stronger sense of confidence when presenting yourself. – Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

15. Just Be Yourself

My best advice is to find out about the company culture before the interview and if the company doesn’t fit who you are as an individual, look for a job somewhere else. You should stand out because of who you are, not because of who you are trying to be. The only person you need to impress is yourself. If you can’t find a company that fits you, perhaps it’s time to think about entrepreneurship. – Kathleen Houlihan, Dream2Career

Source:  Forbes