In the recent Forbes article, Job Hunters: Here’s How You Can Stand Out From The Pack, career coach Nancy Collamer tapped several career professionals, including myself, to compile a short list of powerful strategies to differentiate yourself in job search.
Some of these ideas may not work for you, or you may hesitate trying them, but they can get you brainstorming other ways to stand out in today’s highly competitive job market.
Here are Nancy’s 7 ways to get yourself noticed. I contributed tips 3 and 4.
1. Tweak your resume’s keywords every time you apply for a job.
This tip is helpful if you respond to job postings because your resume is likely to land in a computer-based applicant tracking system (ATS), and must contain the right keywords and phrases for each specific job posting, to be noticed.
According to contributor Susan Joyce, online job search expert and editor/publisher of Job-Hunt.org:
“Smart job seekers stand out by customizing their resumes to reflect the appropriate terms used in the job descriptions — after carefully reading them.”
I don’t recommend responding to job postings as a good tactic for my c-suite clients. Instead, they need to circumvent human resources and connect directly with hiring decision makers, through purposeful networking.
2. Ship your resume using overnight mail.
Instead of just emailing your resume, attached to a covering message, invest in a FedEx delivery of a hard copy. Odds are that envelope will be noticed and opened. Only use this method, if you have the name of an actual hiring manager at the company. If it goes to human resources, they may not be impressed, and may actually be annoyed by having to deal with it.
3. List your LinkedIn recommendations on your resume.
Using customer testimonials has long been a successful marketing strategy. I suggested taking one or two snippets from your most compelling LinkedIn recommendations, and highlighting them on the first page of your resume.
Nothing reinforces your brand better than relevant accolades from the people who know your work best, your colleagues and co-workers.
4. Add a P.S. to your cover letter.
Career experts say that a P.S. always gets read — it’s brief and attention-getting.
I recommended using the P.S. to showcase a quote from someone you’ve worked with or for highlighting your strengths. For example:
P.S. Call me today to learn why Steven Mason, the president of Accord Consulting, said I was “the most effective copywriter on his staff.”
Alternatively, I said you could promote one of your most impressive accomplishments in a P.S., like this:
P.S. Would you like to learn more about how I tripled sales to $25 million in my first year at XYZ Company, while reducing inventory by 44% and accounts receivable by 47%?
5. Bring a “brag book” to your job interview.
Suggested by LinkedIn expert Lindsey Pollak, the idea here is to have at-the-ready, a portfolio, notebook or perhaps short ebook showcasing achievements, samples, media clips, photos, etc. Recruiters and hiring managers can relate better to visual examples, than just hearing about your accomplishments.
6. Attend a conference in your industry or the field you want to enter.
These events, of course, will be attended by many potential contacts in your industry, who may provide leads.
7. Carry something memorable to a networking event.
Not for everyone, this tip was suggested by job search strategist Tim Tyrell-Smith. He offered the example of a man who brought with him to a networking event, a volleyball and felt-tip pen. When he asked people to sign the ball, most everyone did. While signing, many conversations ensued and connections were made.