Hiring managers want to hire the right person for the job, and you want to make sure that you stand out as the person who fits the bill. Regardless of whether you are currently unemployed, or you are simply ready to quit your job, you will want to shine in your cover letter, resume, and at your interview in order to compete with other qualified individuals who also want a new job.
Coming across as the right person for the job requires confidence, research, and potentially, the ability to meet or know the right people in the right positions. Of course, your qualifications matter too, but once the hiring manager or team has whittled down the list of potential employees to those who are qualified, you will need to shine even brighter. Here’s how you can be the right person for the job.
1. Stand out
There may be 20 people applying for the same job as you who potentially have the same qualifications (or better) as you do. Your initial task is to make sure that you stand out in your resume, and through your cover letter. According to Monster, in order to make your resume stand out, be sure that you design your resume as a specific response to the job you are applying for; make sure that your skills, work experiences, degree, and any other information that you provide fit the job requirements as closely as possible. Also, describe and quantify your accomplishments, and be sure to leave off irrelevant information.
You should also stand out via your cover letter. Make sure you show that you researched the company, and like your resume, target your cover letter to the specific job and company you are applying for.
2. Ace the interview
Once you make it to the interview, you will once again want to stand out. Be sure that you dress appropriately. You should start by coming into the interview with a confident (but not cocky) aura. The first impression you make is key; be sure to give a firm handshake; it’s also important to be sure that your hands are not sweaty, and be sure to smile, make eye contact, and keep your handshake brief. Using appropriate body language can also help.
Once you move on to the actual interview questions, try to answer in a manner that will affirm what you think the hiring manager is looking for. Hiring managers want to find the right employee, and that person usually is someone who can and will do the job, (and be committed to it), and who will fit in with the company atmosphere. Be sure that you ask questions of the interviewer as well; you want to show that you are truly interested in the opportunity.
3. Use your resources
According to a survey completed by CareerXroads in 2014, 41% of openings in the companies surveyed were filled by current employees. While achieving perfect employee status at your current company is ideal, that isn’t the right move for everyone (particularly if you are currently unemployed). The same survey found that among job boards, LinkedIn and Indeed had the most significant sources of hire (as far as outside sites go), so those are good sites to use if you plan to apply online. If you do need to find a job, consider using LinkedIn or Indeed.
It can also help to use your network by letting friends and contacts know that you are looking for a job. According to CareerXroad’s survey, about 20% of openings were filled by employee referrals, and these referrals were the top source of hire.
4. Be patient
It’s important to send a thank you letter after you have an interview. In your letter, you can reiterate your qualifications, and clarify any questions or issues that came up in the interview; you can find a sample thank you letter here. Once you send the letter though, sit tight for a while.
It is reasonable to ask at the end of the interview if the company has a time frame in mind. If the interviewer says a few weeks and you haven’t heard back, you can write the person an email. However, try not to pester anyone. Contacting the company repeatedly isn’t going to make them decide any quicker, and if you contact them too much you risk appearing desperate or obnoxious. Some companies move slowly when it comes to hiring new employees; don’t assume the worst if you don’t hear back immediately. While it’s important to show interest, you don’t want to decrease your chances of getting the job.
If you want to be the right person for the job, you will need to do your research. Many job seekers make the mistake of sending out the same resume (or a slightly tweaked cover letter) to multiple companies; you are much better off researching the companies that you really want to work for, and making your cover letter and resume stand out. Also, show confidence and genuine interest when you make it to the interview stage, and if you know someone who might be able to put in a good word for you, go ahead and ask for it.