How To Stand Out When Applying For A Job

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an unprecedented economic crisis all over the world where scores of people have been struggling to find jobs of their choice. The hiring process has also become ultra-competitive, non-linear and requires you to go the extra mile. If you feel the only way to leave a mark or land a high paying job is by acquiring fancy degrees and credentials, it’s time to shift your narrative. 

Let us explore 10 creative yet easy ways to stand out in the hiring process without using your resume. We are living in a fast paced, digital world where everything is just a tap away, so let’s dig deep into what you need to get that job, project or client you have been waiting for!

Do Your Research + Targeted Outreach.

Before an interview, spend a few hours researching the company and role that you have applied for – there is no excuse for not doing the due diligence. Learn the company mission, read up on recent news about the company or its market, and study the backgrounds of the key leaders. Google is a powerful asset. Use it.

Before applying to a company, try to interact with 1-2 of its previous or current employees. Reach out to a few people in similar roles to what you’re applying for and ask if they would be willing to share their insights. You’ll learn a lot and maybe even improve your chances.

Embrace “I Don’t Know”

You can’t know the answer to every question and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” – but then do follow up with a plan to acquire that information. Avoid giving incomplete and unsatisfactory answers. 

Stop Fearing Rejection

It is perfectly fine if people don’t reply to your email or you don’t hear back after an interview. It happens. Not every opportunity is meant for you but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing what you like doing. Consistency is the price you pay for excellence. Stop being afraid of rejection and put yourself out there. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Stalk (Non-Creepily!)

If you know who you will be interviewing with, spend time learning about their background, skill set and experience. Identify potential bonding areas (e.g. same alma mater, similar interests or hobbies, etc.). This prior knowledge may help you connect more effectively. Don’t overdo or overshare this part because you don’t want to come across either clingy or pushing for too much information.

Seek Warm Intros

Warm intros and references are the holy grail of a competitive hiring process. Don’t hesitate to scan your networks for any connections to a company (yes, make LinkedIn your best friend!). If you find any that are close enough, reach out to them. The smallest edge can help!

Play to Your Strengths

If you have unique attributes or competitive advantages, use them. Highlight the work you take most pride in. Play an instrument? Talk about it! Taught yourself to code? Hype that up! Learn photography yourself? Share that! Humility is precious, but make sure they know what makes you special! Also don’t forget to align your distinctiveness with the requirements of the job. 

Carry a Notebook

When you go to an interview, always bring a notebook. It’s not just for optics – use it if something interesting comes up or if something requires a follow up. Make a point of jotting important details down as it reflects attentiveness. Interviewers notice and often appreciate these little gestures.

Personalised Thank Yous 

After an interview, always send a thank you note to the interviewer. Make them punchy. Include a specific detail of what you liked about them or about the company so that it doesn’t appear generic. Try to infuse an element of your personality.

Ask Unique Questions 

Most interviews wrap up with a classic: “Do you have any questions for me?” This isn’t just a throwaway question. Treat it like an opportunity to show off your differentiated approach. Ask a unique question based on your research on the company or anything substantial that you registered from the conversation. 

Highlight Learning As A Goal + Prove Readiness

When asked about your goals for the coming years, always emphasise on learning. Constant learners tend to be great employees and companies look for and try to retain long-term thinkers who want to improve their skills.

Hiring managers and recruiters want to know you can do the job right away. If possible, cite examples of how you’ve done the requirements of this job in the past or cite examples of times you have quickly learned something new and had success.

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