With job creation numbers remaining modest and unemployment rates holding steady, landing your dream job may at times seem like a Sisyphean task. Sure, hand-delivering a box of chocolates to the hiring manager is one way to make your application stand out, but that’s not necessarily the best way to go about getting your resume to the top of the stack.
As a Managing Partner overseeing executive recruitment, candidates frequently ask me how to stand out in a job interview and build their personal brand. My response is simple: go the extra mile. This means tossing out a generic resume, upping your networking game, and thinking creatively.
Tailor your resume to match the position and company culture.
From tech startups to advertising giants, traditional resumes no longer make the cut. Tailor your resume to not only match the position for which you are applying, but also to align with the company’s culture. For example, consider using an infographic to visually illustrate your skills and accomplishments. And while a creative presentation is important, when it comes to your qualifications and accomplishments, stick to the facts. In the age of Google, it only takes a few seconds to spot “creative embellishments” and have your resume sent straight to the reject pile.
Build your digital brand and use it to network.
Your LinkedIn profile is your digital calling card; what does it say about you? Think beyond the basic profile and consider what you say in public forums, too. Establish yourself as an industry thought leader by curating industry news and adding insightful comments. Be strategic with your LinkedIn connections and don’t be afraid to ask colleagues and clients for a recommendation on LinkedIn. If you are currently employed but interested in a new position, reach out individually to the contacts you trust can keep your intentions private, let them know you are exploring the possibility of a new challenge, and ask for advice. I have found that people are genuinely interested in helping others when asked.
Stand out in your job interview.
Your interview is not a time to rehash your resume’s bullet points; it is a time to sell your personal brand by harnessing the power of storytelling. Come to your interview prepared with two or three anecdotes that demonstrate your soft skills, including teamwork, leadership, and creative thinking. Do your research: understand the company’s culture and be prepared with thoughtful questions to ask about the company’s future direction. Demonstrate how your leadership and ideas will be invaluable to building the company’s future. Speak with confidence, passion, and determination; there’s no substitute for human interaction, and an interview is your moment to shine.
If you are currently looking for a new job, what steps are you taking to make your resume stand out and build your personal brand? I welcome your ideas below.