The most attractive vacancies receive several hundred, and sometimes even several thousand responses. It is crucial to stand out so that you are noticed. Now that competition for jobs has increased, and interviews are conducted mostly in a remote format, in which it is more challenging to get around other candidates only due to personal charm, the ability to stand out in the stream has become even more critical. But what does it mean to stand out?
Among recruiters, there are legends about unusual candidates. Someone sends resumes in the company’s corporate design to the mail. Someone writes a resume or cover letter almost inverse. Someone brings refreshments to a face-to-face interview to demonstrate their friendliness, and someone comes up with something else.
In fact, for a successful self-presentation, it is not necessary to show super-creativity and try to be friendly with recruiters.
1. Carefully read the text of the vacancy
Many applicants do not bother with this and respond to almost everything in a row without looking. And employers began to use a request to write certain information or even a passphrase in a cover letter as an effortless but effective filter from such unintelligible responses. This is written in the text of the vacancy, and this request is noticed only by those who carefully read it.
The head of the recruiting company talks about the complexity of the search for a key position: “I am looking for an operational director. The vacancy text says that for this vacancy, you must send a cover letter, indicate your strengths and the maximum number of employees that were subordinate in it. More than 500 responses were received, 98% of them were rejected at the stage of reading the cover letter or because of its absence (many did not even notice that it was needed). I give a rating of the most popular cover letters. They consisted of one line:
- “Please consider my resume”;
- “I can be contacted by phone of such and such”;
- “Summary in the attachment.”
Only 9 people out of 500 wrote in the letter what the recruiter asked and had a relevant job experience, and the same people got invited them for an interview. The rest continue to search for good work and, perhaps, are very surprised why they didn’t get a response.”
Tip: carefully read the description of the vacancy, write your resume for it, and in the cover letter, write what is essential for this vacancy.
2. Be Punctual
Sometimes a job offer is received not by the most talented, but only by the most responsible and collected candidate.
Says HR Director of an IT company:
“A couple of years ago, our office was located on the territory of the former factory. It took a long time to loop among the buildings to find the right entrance. Once we opened the vacancy of a leading specialist – and the search began. To make it easier for people to reach us, we made a map on the website with arrows and identification marks, but the candidates were still late. Some were 5 minutes late, some 20 minutes, and some even longer. Every fifth simply didn’t reach the office.
And now I’m getting ready for an interview somehow, I’m looking through a resume, and I understand that I forgot to attach a card to this invitation letter! I already pick up the phone to call and explain the way, but then they tell me that the girl is already there. It turned out that she had checked the office address on the map in advance, plotted the route and arrived in advance. It seems to be a trifle, but against the background of other candidates who were even late with the scheme sent to them in advance, this looked like an advantage. All our next interaction was also bright and harmonious, and it was to her that we eventually made a job offer.”
Tip: check the location of the office in advance and arrive in advance.
3. Rehearse a mini-presentation in advance
“Tell me about yourself” is a common phrase in an interview about any vacancy, except perhaps long ones. This is the standard situation, but many candidates still often begin to crumple, be embarrassed, or even lost. Think over and rehearse the answer in advance – and it will be much easier for you, show yourself in a favourable light against the majority.
This should be brief information – your interviewer does not have much time to listen to the smallest details of the biography of each candidate. The meaning of this short speech (maximum three minutes) is straightforward – you must convince yourself that you are suitable for this position. Think about what is essential for this job. Tell about it. Somewhere, you need to focus on the experience of public speaking, and somewhere – on analytical and reporting skills.
Tip: first think over and write down the main points of your story, then talk. Ask someone close to you to listen and share your impression (maybe something is worth fixing).
4. Feel free to say something out of work
If you have skills that you actively apply in other areas of life (not only at work), this can become part of your self-presentation and significantly strengthen it.
Elena, head of the financial technology company, was very impressed by one candidate for the position of a project manager.
“Unfortunately, Olga did not accept our offer,” says Elena. – But she was remembered from a string of candidates for telling about her family as one of the essential life projects. All this was in a joking form, but I was really impressed with how her schedule was drawn up, how she does everything with three children and is up to date on all their affairs. Of course, this composure was only an addition to the thorough experience that she gained while working for 10 years in one bank.”
Tip: Think about what your skills will be especially useful for the company, and add them to your self-presentation.
5. Secure the impression
There is a rule in American business etiquette: reply to business letters and write thanks for the meeting within 24 hours. If you want to stand out among a dozen candidates, write to your interviewer after the interview. And if after a conversation a good idea occurred to you, what else would be worth mentioning to emphasize even better how wonderful you are for this vacancy, be sure to use this opportunity.
A development director, calls this the “extra mile rule”:
“Recently, we made an offer to the PR manager, who right at the meeting began to offer ideas for our promotion, and then she sent me a small selection of articles that you can focus on when creating materials. There was another case: I interviewed a guy for a development position, he asked who else we were looking for, and right after the meeting he sent me the contacts of his former colleagues – a tester and an analyst. If a person so actively manifests himself before the start of cooperation, then in work, he usually gives all his best. We made him an offer.”
Now, when most interviews are conducted remotely, the risk of making the wrong impression because of the external style is minimal, in this sense, it has become more accessible. True, the remote interview has its characteristics – so do not forget about them.
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