According to research from Glassdoor, the average job opening attracts 250 resumes. Out of those 250, only about four to six people, on average, actually land the initial interview. When it comes to getting hired for a new role, passively applying for a slew of jobs is no longer an option. Standing out among a pool of strong applicants is a must.
So, how do you rise above the rest? Do something no one else is doing. To catch the attention of the hiring team, you need to leave a lasting impression. Take a risk. Try something out of the ordinary. Be different and memorable. Break the mold of the standard interview process as much as you can, while showing the hiring team that you’re a better candidate than the other applicants.
Shining through a sea of resumes is no easy feat. It takes patience, persistence, and a whole lot of work. But often those who give their all to go above and beyond are the ones who have the most success when it comes to landing the role of their dreams. Stand out amongst the crowd during the job hiring process with six unique and interesting ideas.
Hit the informational interview hard.
Informational interviews can be your best friend during the job hunt, as long as you approach them in the right way. Instead of thinking about the informational interview as your path to lock down a future job with their company, consider how you can use this time to learn about the organization from an internal perspective. A few sample questions are:
• What does the lifespan of a project typically look like?
• How often are changes made to team dynamics?
• How is the workload shared between teammates?
Attach everything you’ve got.
Are you applying for a role that provides an option to submit multiple attachments? Use that opportunity to highlight yourself and your work. Options may include your cover letter, resume, and work samples of the projects you’ve been proud to be a part of. Utilize all available space to provide their team with any information they need to know about you and highlight why you are the right fit for the role.
Identify why they’re hiring for this role.
What is the reason that you’re being interviewed? Why is the company hiring someone in this specific role? Try to figure out the problem their team is looking to solve or the gap that they’re trying to fill. Once you understand the employer’s pain points, offer your insight on a solution. Are they in need of a manager to run their development team during an upcoming project? Show them how you would staff and manage a project of that size. It’s up to you to demonstrate how you can help their company by thoughtfully approaching some of their key challenges head-on.
Show your skills in action.
Think about how your skillset can benefit their company. As you’re doing research before the interview, review the work they’ve already done and identify areas where you can be a key player. For example, are you a developer? Show off your deep expertise by looking at how their website is coded, pinpoint errors, and if asked, be prepared to offer thoughtful feedback. This isn’t your chance to ask for a job or a favor—this is a chance to establish a relationship with the company and make an impact. If they’re open to it, offer to share your knowledge, industry insights, and constructive feedback. Pointing out flaws to a potential employer can be delicate, so make sure that you have a solution for any problems you’ve found. Giving them half of the answer won’t help anyone. By going above and beyond what other candidates are bringing to the table, you’re sure to impress the hiring team with your hard work and insights.
Learn from what others are doing.
What are other candidates doing during their job hunt? Find out how your peers or competitors are approaching the interview process to see if there’s a new tactic you could try. In our experience, candidates that have been the most successful have all worked hard to differentiate themselves. Tap into your network to glean inspiration from other job seekers by attending meetup groups like Get Hired or IMA PDX. Listen to their stories and find out what’s working, what’s not, and what can you learn from their experiences. Take note of any additional skills you have that could identify you as an outstanding candidate. Are you well versed in management and leadership techniques? Have you written articles about innovations you’ve used in tech? Are you fluent in more than one language? Show the hiring team how all of your skills connect with one another, and how those skills make you an asset.
Leave behind a brag book.
Before your interview, assemble a small, professional packet that includes a clean resume, a snapshot of the projects you’ve been a part of, and your cover letter. Be sure to include the accomplishments that you’re most proud of like awards, certifications, LinkedIn recommendations or work samples (like excerpts from a published article you wrote). As the interview is winding down, take a moment to gauge if your interviewer needs more information from you. If so, delight the hiring team in your interview by leaving behind an impressive portfolio they can reflect on after you leave the room. If you’re unsure whether your brag book would be welcome, it never hurts to ask if they’d like you to leave it. Taking these extra steps creates a memorable experience for the hiring team, even after the interview is over. The effort shows their team that this is important to you and you’re invested in working with them. Stay top-of-mind by reminding the team of your enthusiasm with a perfectly crafted follow-up email.
Nervous for your upcoming interview? Overcome your fear and show up to the interview relaxed and prepared with these tips from our experts.