Looking for a New Job? Six Ways to Spark a Hiring Manager’s InterestReading Time: 5 minutes
You’ve found a job that’s a great fit for your skills and interests. And, as an added bonus, it’s even with a company that you want to work for.
You feel a rush of energy and excitement at the idea of landing the role. After that fleeting moment, your self-doubt sets in.
“There will be so much competition for this job. I’ll never get it.” “My resume will probably just get lost in the stack.”
How can you move past those fears and become the candidate that catches the hiring manager’s attention?
Rick Wolf, President & CEO of Career Strategies, LLC, has been helping jobseekers stand out from the competition for more than 25 years. He specializes in career transitions, executive coaching and executive search.
I spoke with Wolf to get his insights on how to stand out during the job search process, and how the Coronavirus has changed that process.
Despite COVID and its ongoing challenges, much of what it takes to stand out as a strong candidate remains the same, he said. Yet, a few things about the process are now more difficult or are at least a little different, he added.
6 Ways to Spark the Interest of a Hiring Manager
Here are six (three traditional and three COVID-related) tips Wolf shared to help you stand out in your job search.
1. Focus on Your Results and Accomplishments
What’s the best way to make the hiring manager fall asleep during your interview?
Talk about your responsibilities in your previous roles. “I was a social media manager.” “I was in charge of the budget.”
“Interviews can really be boring if all you’re going to do is talk about your skills,” Wolf said.
What’s one of the best ways to help the hiring manager picture you in the new job?
Share the achievements and tangible results you had in your past roles, Wolf suggested.
Share examples such as: “I managed a social media campaign that increased our Instagram followers by 20 percent.” “I identified $250,000 in wasteful spending that we were able to cut out.”
“If you are able to demonstrate your results, the hiring manager can actually see you in the job as a candidate,” Wolf said. “You separate yourself from so many people by being able to identify some of the key factors that the hiring manager is looking for.”
Rather than offer a laundry list of your responsibilities, explain how your work benefited your team, department or company.
This is an important one to keep in mind even if you are employed and aren’t currently trying to find a new job. We often move from one assignment to the next without considering our accomplishments. Take the time to track your achievements along the way. They’ll come in handy when you are ready for your next job opportunity.
2. Tailor your experience to the job
Job descriptions offer valuable information. Use that information to determine the top four or five desired skills for that role.
Once you’ve identified those skills, again it’s important to focus on results. Address each skill and provide examples of your accomplishments when you used those skills.
For example, if data analysis is the top desired skill, talk about the time your analysis led to a process improvement for your team.
“Take the most critical areas they are trying to identify and correlate those experiences with what you have done,” Wolf said. “If you are able to share successes that are pretty similar to what they are looking for, they can picture you in the job much quicker.”
3. Leverage Your Network
Managing and growing your network is one of the most important things you can do for your career.
We are all guilty at some point of not staying in touch with previous co-workers or college friends. It’s easy to do when life gets in the way.
But making the effort to stay in touch with people can pay major dividends. That can be as simple as sharing a relevant article with a colleague or inviting them for a coffee catch up.
LinkedIn is an awesome resource for networking. Not only does it help us manage our network in one place, it also informs us of those next level connections. For example, we may not know anyone who works at the company we are applying to, but we may have a secondary connection at that company.
Networking hasn’t stopped because of Coronavirus, but it has changed. While in-person networking events are limited at the moment, video conferencing platforms such as Zoom provide opportunities to connect online.
“Just because we can’t be as social as we normally can, doesn’t mean networking should stop,” Wolf said. “It’s still important to reach out to someone you know at the company (you are applying to) or someone who can help you get your foot in the door.”
4. Brush Up or Add to Your Skills
For many of us, COVID-19 has resulted in more free time. How you use that time can be significant, Wolf advised.
“One of these things that employers are going to be asking is, ‘What have you been doing during this pandemic?’,” he said. “One of the things that is really impressive is when people can say they have gone out and been certified, added these skills, attended this webinar, networked. Prospective employers find that appealing.”
What skills do you need to add or brush up on that will make you more appealing for your next job?
5. Highlight Your Ability to Work Remotely
Some employers may also ask about your experience working remotely. Coronavirus has made it clear how important it is to be competent at working from home.
Get comfortable with Zoom, Google Docs or any other platforms you need to do your job remotely.
Many jobs will continue to be remote in the future, while others may need to be flexible. Some companies have already gone 100 percent remote.
“I have a friend who just got a job with Amazon. She didn’t meet one person. It was all Zoom, all the way through the process. And she’s now a director for Amazon,” Wolf shared.
6. Keep Up with Your Self Care Routine
It’s easy to get comfortable while working from home or taking time off from a layoff. Maybe a little too comfortable.
Keep up with your self-care routines, including exercise, meditation, prayer or whatever you do. Yes, that includes showering, brushing your teeth and getting dressed.
Searching for new work can be challenging and can leave you in a bad mental place. You don’t want those negative vibes around you when you are interviewing for a job.
“A job search is frustrating enough, and it can get you down. Employers can sense that,” Wolf added. “They want to hire people who are positive, who are able to role with the punches a bit, and who can demonstrate that they can get through tough times.”
When you take care of yourself physically and mentally, you’ll feel better and more confident overall.
On a similar note, make sure you take time to do activities you enjoy. Put in the work to land the job you want, but don’t forget to give yourself a break and enjoy life. You’ll feel refreshed and energized.
Conclusion: Make the Effort to Stand Out and Land the Job You Want
While some tried and true methods for standing out during your job search haven’t changed, there are some new things to consider.
As always, you’ll want to focus on the tangible results and accomplishments of your career, rather than your responsibilities. You’ll also want to tailor your professional experience and relevant personal experience to the job you are applying for. And always leverage your network to help land the job you want.
Additionally, make sure you articulate how you’ve grown your skillset during “The Great Pause” of 2020. Also, show that you are savvy when it comes to working remotely. Make sure you are comfortable with Zoom and any other programs you will need in your role.
Lastly, keep up with your self-care routines, even when life isn’t going great for you. You will feel better when you do and others will sense that.
What would you add to this list? What has worked for you when you wanted to stand out from the competition for a job? Leave a comment below.