Trying to land a job interview in today’s market can be a real challenge. But there are several things you can do to help you stand out from the competition and get noticed. When considering the following suggestions to implement for landing your job interview, ask yourself two things: “Will this idea be something my audience (i.e. the person reading your resume) will appreciate or not?” and, “Is this appropriate for my chosen industry?”
1. Get creative with your resume. This doesn’t just mean being creative with how your resume looks, but also with how your resume reads. Even if you’re going into a job in a more conservative field where a visually creative resume would be frowned upon, it doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your wording. For instance, instead of calling your skills section “Skills,” call it “Strengths” or “Areas of Excellence.” Instead of calling your profile “Summary of Qualifications,” call it “Competitive Advantages.” This all sounds much more dynamic (and less boring!) and will generate interest from the reader to want to find out more about you.
2. Show what you can do! Have an online professional portfolio of samples of your past work. There are various web sites that host online portfolios, so do a little research and select the one that’s best for you. Then, replace that overused phrase “References available upon request” with the phrase “Professional portfolio available for review.” You should also hyperlink this phrase to your online portfolio if you plan to submit your resume electronically.
3. Create your own web site highlighting your experience. If you prefer not to have your portfolio on another site, create your own site using a web publishing platform such as WordPress where you can have pages for a portfolio, your resume, your bio (including your work philosophy and your unique selling proposition), past coursework, reflections from past internships and work experiences, and more. Just remember to keep it professional. Include photos of you at work on a project, but not photos of you with your three-month-old niece, and don’t include personal information such as marital status, etc. Don’t forget to list the URL for your site under the contact info section of your resume.
4. Create a YouTube video (Caution: this one can be a little risky!). You can create a YouTube video introduction of yourself, briefly highlighting your selling points and areas of expertise. You can use your elevator speech as a guide for what you want to say in the video. However, if you choose this method of getting noticed, understand that it can be risky, especially if you a) don’t do well in front of a camera, b) make it entirely too long (it should be 30 seconds max!), or c) don’t commit to the level of confidence necessary to pull this idea off! I’ve seen some good ones done, but more bad ones than not. If this is something you think you need to do to stand out, I would suggest going to a video production company that specializes in these types of videos. They will be able to direct you and provide a high-quality production so you don’t end up looking cheesy.
5. Be a problem solver. Start solving problems for the company NOW, before you’re even hired. If you do proper research on a company and determine some of the problems the position for which you are applying will be responsible for, come up with a few ideas of how you plan to solve those problems when hired. Then, submit that proposal as a supplement to your resume.
Again, use discernment in determining which of these suggestions are best suited for your audience and the industry. By taking the time and attention to detail to implement these ideas, you will not only increase your chances of landing an interview, but also the job!
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