You’ve got your eye on a great opportunity. You updated your resume, polished your cover letter, and prepared your references.
So far, you’re on the right track to land your dream job, but at this stage of the game, having a great cover letter and resume won’t be enough to get you across the finish line. There are inevitably other candidates being considered with similarly impressive documents.
Now more than ever, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. To separate yourself from the rest of the candidates, one must be bold and prove their worth. Here are a few ideas on how to separate yourself from the pack:
1. Prepare a “Pain Letter” Instead of a Cover Letter
Instead of a cover letter, send a pain letter. A pain letter pinpoints a problem that is plaguing the company and explains how you, if hired, would solve it. Shifting the focus of the cover letter from selling yourself directly to helping the company with a challenge it is facing today shows a remarkable depth of research and knowledge about the company, as well as a unique creative ability to solve problems.
2. Put Together a Case Study
Another great way to stand out is coming up with a case study (with examples and results) of how you helped a company you worked for in the past overcome a challenge it was facing.
Identify the project you completed and then prepare a one-page document showing the before and after stats. Include specific details and measurable results of your previous assignments. You can even ask former managers/co-workers for feedback on your contribution and include them as quotes.
3. Treat the Job Interview Like a Conversation
A job interview shouldn’t be thought of as a quiz that has to be answered correctly from start to finish in order to “pass,” but rather as a conversation where each party is there to learn more about the other.
Therefore, it’s important to come into an interview armed not only with great answers but also great questions – and don’t wait until the end to ask them, but rather mix them into the conversation as it progresses. You can sometimes end an answer you give with your own question.
Here are some examples for inspiration:
- What should I know about the job that isn’t in the job description?
- What would be my top priority upon taking on this job?
- Can you give me examples of projects I would be working on?
- When and how do I get manager feedback?
- What should I expect to be the toughest part of this job?
4. Focus on Body Language
Body language is key to standing out in an interview because it’s human nature for people to gather their first, and often long-lasting, impression of someone just by how they carry themselves. Here are a few body language tips to keep in mind going into an interview:
- Walk in with confidence
- Keep a soft smile on your face to show that you’re happy and secure
- Maintain eye contact and sit/stand upright
- Lean slightly forward to show keen interest but do not slouch
- Avoid tapping your feet or hands as this will distract and possibly even annoy the interviewer
5. Ask Bold Questions at the End
Last impressions are just as important as first ones, so leave them with something that will make you a memorable candidate. This doesn’t call for you to be too aggressive – just willing to ask straightforward questions that demonstrate how much you know, what you want, and how ready you are to get it.
Here are a few great examples of questions to close out an interview with:
- Have we talked about anything that makes you feel that I’m not the right person for the job?
- What can I do to prove to you I’m the right person for the job?
- Why should I want to work for your company?
6. Send a Great “Thank You” Email
Within 24 hours of your interview (or the next Monday if it was on a Friday), you should follow up to thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the job. Make sure to customize the email so they know it’s not just a template by thanking them for sharing a specific piece of information they told you – anything you found particularly interesting or helpful.
If you have not previously sent a pain letter, this is a good time to do so and attach it to your follow up. You can use information gleaned in the interview to tailor it to the specific opportunity.
How Are You Standing Out of the Crowd?
In today’s job market, it’s vital to set yourself apart from other candidates. Let the specialists at ASB Resources, one of the top business consultants in the country, help as you navigate the job market. Schedule some time with one of our experts soon.