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Articles and Advice

 Separate Yourself from the Pack

By Joe Stein

Display Creativity and Initiative

 

In this economy, it is imperative that a candidate separate themselves from their competition. For an open position today, there are generally a number of qualified candidates for which a prospective employer has to choose from. Often, there is little difference between one person to another. One of the keys to separating yourself from the pack is to display positive creativity and initiative. 
 
Separating yourself can be hard work; it takes both time and effort. It rarely works for someone just “dabbling” in their job search in a passive manner. If you feel that you can commit to running more than your traditional job search (i.e., sending out a generic resume and waiting for a call) then displaying some creativity and initiative may be for you.
 
The following are some tips/hints on how you can pull away from the crowd. As you can see, it is more than just some Resume tricks, such as adding some clip art or using colored paper, as some would have you believe. It requires hard work and real thought, but can pay dividends when executed well by the Job Seeker.
 
·        Display Your Skills – If you are seeking a position where you can display your skills, then try to incorporate that with your Resume submission. For example, recently here at WNYJOBS, we had a candidate who took the initiative to download the newest version of design software and practiced her proficiency. This was culminated by including some creative examples of her work on this software in her portfolio. Isn’t this so much more effective than just listing a software package on your resume?
 
·        Do Your Research – In this area, we are not referring to the little bit of Internet research that everyone does now a days. Instead we are talking about digging deeper in order to give you a competitive advantage. In the example above, the candidate actually found out what design software was being used and practiced on it. That sure does generate a positive impression from a Hiring Manager. Some other examples would be to know the names of key members you may meet in the interview prior to meeting them, or having a feel for the specific needs of the Hiring Manager. Not only does it help you display your skills, but it positively shows how interested you are in the position.
 
·        Get Specific – Everything you do should make the prospective employer feel it was done just for them. The Cover Letter should be specifically written for their opening and your resume should emphasize the skills and qualification they are most interested in.
 
·        Resolve Your Weakness – Many Job Seekers almost take the “take me as I am” approach with prospective employers. Instead, why not enroll in classes or seminars to improve your skill set, and subsequently, your candidacy. 
 
·        Stay Connected – Never past the threshold of being an annoyance, but it is, however, essential that you stay connected with a potential employer. Follow-up after each section of the process (i.e., resume submission, phone screen, interview, etc.) not only to make sure the Hiring Manager or Recruiter knows your interest level, but to also thank them for their time. While you are doing this you can also weave into the conversation/written note why you are the best candidate for the position.
 
·        Network – Networking is not only important to generate leads, but also to create advocates for you within the company. Attempt to connect with those who can have influence on the Hiring Manager via individuals you both know. The use of LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool to accomplish this.
 
·        Listen Closely & Respond – This is when you potentially call an audible to your game plans based on clues provided by the Recruiter or Hiring Manager. During the course of conversations, they may provide you with some clues about things that are important to them. Respond by trying to provide them either verbally, or with some other document such as a summary of your accomplishments or a sample of your work.
 
It is a tough labor market nationwide and WNY is no different. Candidates must consider what they can do to pull themselves from the pack and create some separation. A savvy Job Seeker is dedicated to doing what is necessary. In any economy, talented and motivated Job Seekers will find success.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.