The old CV and cover letter combo won't quite cut it any more
As anyone who has applied for a job will know, it can seem nigh-on impossible to stand out from the crowd in a world of polished CVs, LinkedIn profiles and spotless references.
Everyone always talks about how to survive job interviews – but it can often seem that getting the interview in the first place is the hard part. How do you make your application impactful and memorable?
William Arruda, a ‘personal branding guru’, gave his top 10 tips on how to stand out from the crowd in a piece for Forbes – and we’re definitely going to take his tips to mark ourselves out as ‘interesting, compelling, valuable and differentiated’ on board.
1. Use video
Arruda says that in the world of text-based communication, video stands out. ‘It allows you to deliver a complete communication, build an emotional connection with the viewer and create familiarity before you ever meet in person, which helps you to build a relationship faster,’ he says. ‘You can use video in many different ways, ranging from thought-leadership videos posted on YouTube to a video bio explaining who you are and why you are passionate about what you do. You can even integrate video into the interview process by sending thank you video messages instead of the standard email follow-up.’
2. Draw a picture
Arruda says that using images can really separate your application from the rest. He says: ‘Sure, the version of your resume that gets read and evaluated by e-readers for job matching doesn’t benefit from visuals. But the version in the hands of your recruiter, the hiring manager and those who will be interviewing you can truly stand out when you appropriately use differentiators like color, infographics, and the logos of the companies you have worked for. Pictures tell a more complete story, in a way that makes people want to engage.’
3. Stalk away
Arruda recommends going beyond the usual requirements of looking at a company’s websites and digging deep into the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers. He suggests using the corporate Alumni feature in LinkedIn ‘to identify potential contacts and reach out to learn as much as you can – the stuff they don’t share on their company profile’.
4. Stay in the loop
Make sure you’re up to date with everything that’s going on in the business you want to work for. ‘Follow the company on LinkedIn to stay on top of their latest news,’ he says. ‘And use tools like Newsle to stay up to speed on what the executives and your hiring managers are doing.’
5. Make sure your own LinkedIn profile is excellent
Once you are Googled (and you will be), your online profile is likely to jump to the top of the research results. ‘Exploit this opportunity to the max and leap ahead of the competition with a compelling headline, summary that tells your story and professional headshot,’ Arruda says.
6. Have your own domain name and website
Arruda says that having a website with your name in the title will direct recruiters to the information you want them to learn about you. ‘Point the domain name to your personal web site or LinkedIn profile and add the link to your resume, cover letter and business card,’ he adds.
7. Make sure you’re up to date on the day of the interview
‘Check out what’s happening with the company and the industry on the days immediately preceding your interview,’ Arruda says. If you are interviewing at Amazon, for example, and you learn that Alibaba just purchased a building a few miles away from Amazon HQ, you may want to bring it up in your interview to show you are paying attention.’ This is an easy way to gain points on the day – and an easy way of losing points if you look like you don’t know much about the company.
8. Make your own business cards
Arruda says that even if you’re working for a company, you should have your own business cards as evidence of your professionalism. ‘Today, with digital printing and services like Upwork you can get a unique card designed and printed at minimum investment,’ he says. ‘Stand out with a square card or other features that showcase your personal brand.’
9. Follow up
Arruda says thanking your interviewers with a video message can make them remember you for all the right reasons. ‘You want all the elements of your thank you video to make you stand out from your competitors,’ he says. ‘Dissect the stages of the interview process and decide how you will make your mark at each touch point.’
10. Stay connected
Even if you don’t get the job, the contacts you made in your interview are still invaluable. ‘Stay in contact with the people you have met,’ Arruda says. ‘Most jobs are filled through networking. The relationships you build through the job search process are valuable beyond that one position you are pursuing. Take a long-term, strategic approach.’
Have you used any of these techniques before? Let us know @marieclaireuk