On a recent recording of recruitAbility’s “Nothing’s Sacred” podcast, our director of technical recruiting Scott Beardsley shared some suggestions for job seekers who want to distinguish themselves from other candidates.
Although hiring demand exceeds supply right now across many industries, there are still a high volume of candidates for roles at buzzworthy companies. So what’s the best approach to landing one of these jobs?
Scott has participated in thousands of job placements and reviewed even more resumes in his career. Below are his suggestions for people attacking a new job search so that they don’t get overlooked.
1. Ditch The Typical Resume
The resume has existed for the last 100 years with few changes. Imagine if you had to promote your capabilities and experience without a resume. What would you do? Think creatively.
For instance, what if your resume consisted entirely of references from people who you’ve worked with before. What impression would that make? At the minimum, you would be original.
Consider off-the-wall job pitches, too. Here’s a good example.
2. Find A Connection
It can feel defeating and discouraging to submit your resume to jobs and not hear back. In fact, getting “ghosted” by companies after applying is a huge source of consternation among applicants. Our advice is to abandon the idea that you will ever get a response from a company.
In most cases, the traditional approach to applying for jobs has a low conversion rate. Your time is better spent by partnering with a recruiter or connecting with someone on LinkedIn who works at the company that you are targeting. Tap into your network and find a shared connection who will introduce you to someone that can forward your information to the hiring manager.
Just set your expectations properly if you apply to jobs through normal channels. Sometimes companies post roles just to build their databases. Other times, there are too many applicants for a single role, so it’s unrealistic for companies to sort through (and respond to) every resume that is submitted.
3. Brand Yourself
Try a pattern interrupt. When everyone zigs, try to zag. Whatever cliché you want to use, just don’t mimic other candidates. You’re unique, so emphasize what makes you different.
Too often, candidates fill their resumes and cover letters with buzzwords and industry parlance in an effort to seem more qualified. This approach can backfire in the sense that it becomes more difficult for hiring managers to differentiate between applicants when every person sounds the same.
Be bold and don’t hesitate to lean into your unique personality and qualifications.
4. Browse Bosses, Not Jobs
Forget your search for the perfect company. Instead, narrow your focus on the ideal boss. Carefully consider the type of person that you would want to work for. What qualities does that person possess? What do you want to learn from that person?
Once you’re clear on the characteristics that you want in a boss, cast a wide net and meet with people to see if they check those boxes. Seek out mentors. When you take the initiative, people will notice. Perhaps your future boss will be impressed.
What you put into this process is what you’ll get from it, so be thorough. This is what it means to take accountability for your career, and it’s empowering.