Above the rest... How to stand out from the crowd.
Getting a job is a competitive activity at the best of times and standing out can be difficult, especially with all the weird and wonderful skills people are acquiring from the internet and beyond, but there are a few ways you can get noticed by both recruiters and HR teams. Here's how to stand out when you apply for a new job.
Take note of our tips for differentiating yourself from every other piece of paper that crosses a recruiters desk or if you're applying direct; the hiring manager.
1. Reply all...
Well, that's not quite what we mean. But being communicative, open and honest during the recruitment process makes the whole process smoother and more convenient for recruiters, and if you keep them happy, they're more likely to take the time to look after you! If you're going to work with a recruiter, then you want to build a relationship based on clarity, honesty and integrity. Be clear about what you're looking for. Pay attention to the job description that you are responding to, and demonstrate what skills you have. The details might be hidden in your CV, so make it easy to identify they are and fit that to the opportunity you're applying for.
Be honest about any skeletons in your closet. And absolutely be up front about salary expectations. The sooner you identify what it is that you want, the better. If the role you are applying for isn't paying the salary you want, then it won't be the only role available. Don't expect to be able to negotiate on salary at the end of the process, if you have already shared what salary you are looking for. There is nothing more frustrating as a recruiter than putting in a load of effort on a candidate who at the last moment backtracks because it wasn't really what they wanted. So if you don't want the job or get the feeling that it won't work then be honest and walk away as soon as you realise this.
This rule applies to anything written as well. Emails. Cover letters. And above all else, be absolutely clear on your CV. Don't try to play tricks or hide things. Recruiters know all the tricks in the book, and if you're trying to hide something, it will irritate them and they will be more likely to write you off.
2. Keep it clean...
Recruiters and HR Managers will often take the time to check out someone's social media accounts if they're interested in the candidate. That's where people hide (or advertise) all their bad behaviour, and it is one of the quickest ways to turn off a prospective employer. If you don't want to cull all of your half-naked party weekend photos, then make your profile super private. That will be less freaky to a recruiter than seeing it all out there. At least you're not showing everything to the whole world and that is something to be respected. Remember that posts can be stored in search engines too, so spend time making sure everything is above board.
3. Win, win, win.
So often people talk about the general activities of their previous roles and yes, it is important to understand what you've been up to, but recruiters love to hear about the wins. The things you've done that were above and beyond, that made you stand out. So make sure you put them on your CV.
Don't just think about work things, if you walked the length of the UK, swam the channel or ran a marathon for charity, that shows some serious drive, and things like that can be a real differentiator. It doesn't all need to be sporting activities either - any volunteering activities or involvement all count. So if you donate your hair to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients, or spend time manning your local charity shop each weekend - add it. This helps build a picture of you and your personality traits.
4. 6 degrees of separation...
Mutual contacts, especially on LinkedIn, look great, and the best way to build up these links are through connections. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, you need one with connections. Strangely, when you are applying for a job , it's a bit of a turn off when you go onto a profile and see that a candidate only has 40 - 50 connections. It might not be 100% logical, but it gives off the impression that the candidate isn't engaging with the people around them, or that they're not meeting new people, and that isn't really motivating. So it is worth spending time, if you can get out and meet people and connecting with them, to build a solid network. More recruiters will be more attracted to your LinkedIn profile, and inadvertently be more interested in you.
5. Unlock a job with key... words.
A lot of recruiters and hiring managers now use some form of AI or CV parsing to collate information about candidates and match them to a role which means, if you don't have the buzz words or key words both on your CV and your LinkedIn profile, the search engines and algorithms aren't going to find you. You can also set up your own external facing url that contains your keywords - if you can't change the url to fit the words, then someone else has taken it.
Have a think about the skills terminology that most relate to the role you're looking to get and tailor your CV and LinkedIn profile to that. That way you can get past the recruitment equivalent of HAL and start having a human conversation with the recruiter.
Standing out is always difficult in a competitive job market when you are actively looking for a new opportunity, but it is possible. You just have to present yourself the best way possible and, strangely, make the lives of both recruiters and hiring managers as easy as possible. You'll be amazed how much smoother the recruitment process is if you do!
These are all tips to consider before you apply for your next job. At Auxeris, we're ethical recruiters and will never send a CV speculatively. We only talk to you about opportunities that we are actively working on and match your skills, potential and future career goals with our clients' roles and against their exact candidate requirements. We're recruitment specialists in Retail, Wholesale, Clothing, Consumer Goods, FMCG, Medical, NHS, Pharma, Software, Technology, Legal, Professional Services and Finance. If you're looking for help finding your next opportunity, get in touch today. You can also upload your CV using our online form.
This post was originally posted in 2020 and updated in December 2021.