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Applying for jobs

5 Steps to standing out to engage potential employers

The job search process encompasses:

  • pre-application
  • application
  • interview stages

Throughout these three stages, there are many ways to stand out and engage potential employers. The key to success in all of these areas is effort – the more effort you put in the better your chances of landing a job are.

Here are 5 steps to consider if you want to maximise your engagement with potential employers. 

1. Personal branding & networking 

First of all, you need to make sure your online business profile is pristine. Recruiters spend countless hours hunting through LinkedIn searching for the best candidates. The best candidates are the highest performers which means you must showcase your achievements on your profile. Quantify your successes as statistics and figures to make it crystal clear what you bring to the table.

To market yourself as a high performer you should also have multiple endorsements. If you don’t currently have any, begin endorsing others and they’re sure to return the favour. You could also ask some key people to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you, give them some examples and tell them exactly what you’re trying to showcase so they know what to include.  

2. Pitch an idea 

A unique way to get the attention of employers is to offer them suggestions for their company, if you manage to present them an interesting perspective of the business that they hadn’t thought of before, they’ll see you as a potentially valuable candidate to have on board. If you put a lot of time and effort into presenting your ideas to them, it’s going to be hard to ignore. Even if they don’t go for your idea, your interest in the company and initiative will speak for itself.  

3. Craft a winning CV and cover letter 

Before writing your CV and cover letter ensure you have thoroughly researched the organisation you are applying to work for. It will be easy for the employer to decipher those who have from those who have not.

The main thing they are looking for in choosing the right candidate is who is going to be the best fit. Selling yourself as the best fit for their organisation means tailoring your skills and experiences to the goals and purposes of the company. Think about what experiences you have had that are transferrable.

Also, as mentioned earlier, statistics and figures are crucial when showcasing what you bring to the table. Make it really clear with a bullet-point list of your accomplishments; how many people were positively impacted by your work? By what percentage did you improve a certain system or process at your previous employment? 

Two very simple yet highly effective tricks that can help to advance you in the hiring process are these: 

  • Address your cover letter to a specific person. Not just anyone, but the person who could be hiring you. A little research can point you in the right direction here.
  • Apply on a Monday. Research has shown that applicants who apply on a Monday have a better chance of landing an interview.

4. First impression 

It doesn’t matter how brilliant your application was if you don’t manage to impress at the interview. Everything you’ve sold about yourself from your LinkedIn profile to your CV and cover letter needs to match up in person too. 

Always dress smartly when going for an interview, even if you know the company has a casual dress code. Making an effort to be presentable shows that you really care about the position. 

Imagine that the interview begins from the moment you enter the building. Sometimes hiring managers will ask the front desk about the impression you gave so make sure you’re polite and friendly from the beginning.  

Introduce yourself with a handshake, eye contact and a smile. Then listen for your interviewer’s name so you can use it in conversation. This will show that you’re engaged in the conversation.  

Aim to match the energy of the interviewer. For example, if they have a high energy and use lots of hand gestures, try and match this. If they’re calmer and more serious, tone down your energy to match theirs. This is called mirroring and it will help to make a fast connection between yourself and the interviewer. 

5. Interview success 

Overall, the most impressive candidates are those who have done their research because employers want to hire someone who genuinely cares about the business. If you’re able to sell yourself based on the knowledge you have of the company, then you’re going to stand out.  

You should also memorise some of the statistics from your CV. Instead of saying ‘I boosted sales’, you should be saying something like ‘I boosted our sales by 75% over a period of…’. Facts like this will be memorable.  

Be prepared with ideas on how you would like to improve the company in your role. You don’t need to hit them with a four-year plan but having some ideas will show that you’ve been thinking about what you can do for them and show that you have value.  

Inevitably, there will be some difficult questions thrown your way. If you don’t have an immediate answer, don’t be afraid to reply with some questions until you’re clear about what they’re asking you. The interviewer won’t expect you to already have all the answers, they want you to demonstrate that you can think through the information and come up with a logical solution. 

It can be difficult to stay focused when you’re constantly anticipating the next question, so try and bare P-I-E in mind; (Positive, Interested, and Engaged) in conversation. Stay present with each question you’re asked and take it one step at a time.