Posted April 22, 2015 by

How to Stand Out During the Job Search

Sarah Landrum photo

Sarah Landrum

When applying for a new job, the way you present yourself to an employer can be the deciding factor for whether you’re hired. Sure, a great resume and professional appearance go a long way, but many other candidates will likely have both as well. What can separate you from the pack of job seekers are the five often-overlooked areas below, which will showcase responsibility, communication, attentiveness and passion – all characteristics that employers covet:

1. Ensure All Communication Is Clear

In addition to the obvious need for strong verbal communication skills, non-face-to-face communications can have a big impact on your job search and need to be considered.

One disastrous area to overlook is the capacity of your phone’s voicemail mailbox. A full voicemail box can prevent a potential employer from contacting you, rendering any chance you have at that position remote. Make sure your voice mailbox has ample space and your phone is fully charged whenever possible. Also importantly, make sure your voicemail greeting is professional and to-the-point.

With that in mind, also check your email’s junk inbox when you’re applying for jobs. Sometimes important emails can get mistakenly identified as junk mail. It’s prudent to scan through your junk email at least once per day while you’re on an active job search.

Also, if you do ever receive a follow-up from a potential employer, be as amiable as possible. This means answering all phone calls in a pleasant and confident demeanor while on a job search; this can provide a great first impression to a prospective employer.

To improve your verbal communication skills during your job search, check out this post on Career Rocketeer.

2. Study the Job Description Intensely

Prudent job searchers have various resumes, tailoring each one individually to the specific position they’re applying for based on the job description. When you highlight certain positions or skills that align with the requests of a job description, prospective employers are much more likely to call you in for an interview, both because your resume seems like an ideal fit and you have proven capable of following directions.

Also, be sure to avoid buzzwords like “dynamic”, “mover-and-shaker” and others from this list by HR Morning in your resume. They take up too much space (a resume should be informative yet succinct) in addition to exuding a sort of disingenuous vibe.

3. Show Enthusiasm Throughout an Interview or Conversation

People love when others show interest in their personality or goings-on. Appeal to this aspect of human nature by visibly paying close attention to the person interviewing you, reacting amiably and openly to remarks that are presumably said to warrant a reaction. Try to tread a fine line between exuding complacency and over-enthusiasm; just the right amount of interest or interaction will express a genuine interest while showing that you’re not overly dependent on others.

4. Actively Follow Brands

For the positions you apply to, feel encouraged to follow them on social media. Social media is a great tool for helping you find and grow your career for many reasons. The following are just two of the ways social media can help your career, from this article by Vista College.

  • Following their updates consistently will show you what type of company they are, which will better inform you of whether or not the position is a right fit in addition to providing more useful information for a potential interview.
  • There’s a chance that the job interviewer may recognize your name as recently liking or re-tweeting their social media content, already casting you in a favorable light before the interview even occurs.

5. Keep Body Language in Mind

When the interview does occur, be sure to emphasize positive and confident body language, while avoiding negative signs. Mashable shares tips for using positive forms of body language in your next interview, including active listening, nodding, eye contact, smiling and a solid posture.

Poor forms to avoid include slouching, playing with a pen, brushing your hair, touching your face, mumbling or chewing gum.

Positive body language can only help, while poor body language can actually be a legitimate reason for why you’re not hired.

The five tips above should help jumpstart and/or advance your career to the next level by ensuring you land a position that’s aware of your communication, attentiveness, enthusiasm and all-around best attributes. Best of luck in the job search!

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals realize happiness and success in their careers and live life to the fullest. Follow her and subscribe to her blog for more great tips.

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