Whether you’re a student nearing the end of your studies and starting to think about a career or you’re mid-career looking for new opportunities in the new year, it’s no secret the job market is becoming more and more competitive. From the initial applying stage all the way through to after your interview, here are some top ways to stand out from other candidates.
Think About your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is your identity and how you come across to others, both online and offline, and is often defined as the process of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. Considering and defining your personal brand will affect how you talk about yourself at networking events, in interviews and who you follow. Make sure you identify your short and long-term career goals and create a vision for your future. By being clear on your personal brand not only could this lead to better jobs, better contacts, new opportunities and industry recognition but you’ll also find your confidence increases too.
Build your Own Website
25% of students now create a personal website to bag the job they want¹ and once you’ve defined your personal brand it’s easier and cheaper than you think to showcase this through your own website. A website will allow you to stand out and demonstrate your skills and experience with blogs and a portfolio (more about these later!). Having your own website will also ensure potential employers are shown a professional area and see what you want them to when they search for background information on you as a candidate. 64% of HR decision makers think a personal website rather than a paper CV will become the way they differentiate between candidates in the next five years¹ so make sure you’re ahead of the crowd by uploading your online CV onto your website. There’s also some other great opportunities that having your own website can open.
Bring Together your Online Presence
Alongside your domain name and website, you can get a professional email address to create a great impression and stand out from other candidates. Take a look at your current email address and think about the impression it gives to a potential employer, this is likely going to be one of the first impressions you make. If you’re using an email address that includes your nickname, or is left over from high school and is a bit embarrassing you could set up a professional address that you use solely for new job opportunities. Make sure you’ve screened your social media presence and check the content you’re sharing (is it relevant to the industry you’d like a career in?), images and who you are following (are there any industry leaders you can follow and potentially engage with?). Recruiters also tend to take a look at your LinkedIn profile so make sure it’s up to date, showcases relevant skills and experience and you are engaging on the site, for example are there any relevant blogs or whitepapers from the industry that you enjoyed reading? Or can you upload your own content pieces to demonstrate your expertise?
Begin a Blog
Start a blog on your website where you can write and upload interesting and original content about your career industry and your opinions, ideas and views on industry news. This is a fantastic way to demonstrate online experience, passion and your knowledge in a more detailed, engaging and interesting way. By writing original content you can also show potential employers your personality and enthusiasm which can make you more employable. And who knows, writing a blog can create organic career opportunities.
When you get the opportunity for an interview take the time beforehand to prepare so you stand out from other candidates:
• Research the company thoroughly and note down some key facts and figures to memorise for the interview.
• Read some content and take a look at their social media so you have an opinion ready on what you enjoyed, for example, the tone of voice, image use or how engaging it was.
• Prepare some questions about the company in general, for example how the past year has been, and the job position you have applied for, for example, what will you be expected to achieve in three months.
• Print out the job description and spend some time highlighting areas you have experience in and make sure you have prepared examples of how you have demonstrated these skills before.
It’s all about showing enthusiasm and motivation by preparing well that will help set you apart from the other candidates, don’t just sit back and relax because you’ve got an interview!
After the Interview
After you’ve completed your interview you can send a thank you email or note and make sure the company has links to your online presence. Check your website and portfolio showcases your skill set using anything you learnt at the interview in case they share your website with other members of the team or it’s more than a one stage interview process. Use LinkedIn to reach out to connect with the new people you met in the interview or heard about, even if you don’t get or take the job you can stay in contact with the new connections; most jobs are filled through networking. Similarly if are unsuccessful or decide not to take the job offer ask for feedback from the interview so you’ll learn areas you can improve on for the next time!
Without being too much of a cliché, this time of year can be a perfect time to get motivated and create your personal brand, bringing together your online presence and touching up your interview skills for a new career opportunity. Take a look at five creative ways to bag your dream job in a recent blog here.