5 Ways To Stand Out When Applying For A New Job

With hundreds or even thousands of prospective choices for a single role, HR will often single out candidates for follow-up who make their job easier. Attracting their attention in a bad way (by being sloppy or impolite), on the other hand, is a surefire way to end up in the trash, even if you’re qualified. So here are some simple things you can do to help out the HR clerk and thus better your chances of getting an interview:

1. Apply For The Right Job – Clicking on “Apply” for every job you see posted isn’t getting you any closer to finding one. Check each posting carefully for the skills and level of experience required and ensure you have them or can explain why you are a viable choice anyway. Mention these items in your cover letter and resume so that recruiters will see you as a serious candidate. By spamming job boards and company ATS with your resume, you give HR a headache and they can hit “Delete” just as fast if not faster than you can hit “Apply.”

2. Clean Up Your Resume – You may think your current resume is well written and pleasing to read thanks to the fancy and colorful fonts you’ve used. But recruiters are less interested in seeing how well you can add formatting in Word than they are in what you can actually bring to the role. Keep the look of your resume simple and professional. Use active verbs, avoid using personal pronouns, and weed out errors in punctuation, grammar, and spelling, since any one of these can turn off a potential employer.

3. Follow Up – Once you’ve sent in your resume, don’t sit back and twiddle your thumbs waiting for somebody to call. Most HR departments are so swamped with incoming requests and resumes that they may not give a second thought to yours. Use an email or a phone call to ensure your resume has been received and forwarded to the right people. Get in touch with the prospective employer and follow up again after a week or so. Doing so puts you ahead of the hundreds of others who don’t.

4. Be Interactive, Engaging, and Responsive – One of the best ways to stand out when applying for a new job is to have pleasant and quick interactions with HR and hiring managers. Be enthusiastic on the phone during phone screens. Reply to all email and communications sent by the company in a timely manner and avoid rescheduling and delays as much as you are able. Taking days to respond pegs you as lazy or uninterested, even if you have a good reason for doing so!

5. Always Be Prepared – Many companies prefer to schedule phone or Skype interviews first, as it’s generally quicker and requires less resources. If your interview will be conducted by phone, be sure to schedule it far enough ahead that you can prepare in advance and research the company. Write down common questions, job-related facts, and specific statistics you can present. Rehearse these with a friend or career coach. Keep these items, along with your resume and the job description, with you on your phone or laptop at all times so you’ll have them if something comes up last minute. And remember that you are not doing the company a favor by being interviewed, so try to be as accommodating as possible to their scheduling requests.