The Job Market: How to Make Yourself Stand out to Potential Employers

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An article by Ohio based contributor Lizzie Weakley.

When employers need a position filled, they don’t go out and look for the mediocre candidates; they find people who shine out from the herd. Nowadays, it’s becoming even more difficult to stand out, though. Colleges and universities are spitting out hundreds of thousands of new candidates, all hungry to prove themselves and start earning money. So how do you make yourself stand out in such saturated markets? Here’s five ways to do that.

Think Outside the Box

A Minnesota native made the headlines a few years ago when he bought some screen time on billboards around the Minneapolis area. The 8-second video clip shows a picture of him with the phrase “Hire Me” and contact information underneath. His investment of $300 for the advertisement space paid off when he immediately got a job offer from a 3D printing agency.

You can try the same approach to get employers to notice you. Aside from billboards, you can post your ad on bulletin boards and leave business cards in office lobbies and clinics. Make a YouTube video that can potentially go viral, such as a parody of a movie or a well-choreographed dance.

Keep Learning

Employers get a lot of candidates coming in and out of their offices with a bachelor’s degree, so it doesn’t hold as much weight as it used to. Supplementing your main education with specializations can give your resume the “stand out” factor that you need. Keep learning through online or on-campus courses, such as Stevens Henager College, during your downtime. Make sure the courses you take rewards a certification after completing it. Some courses that do offer certification will most likely charge a fixed amount, but it’s definitely worth the money you pay for it.

Get a Glowing Reference

Cover letters and LinkedIn profiles all begin to look the same after you’ve glossed over a couple dozen of them. One of the things that employers look for in a resume is the Reference section. The logic is, professionals wouldn’t refer someone who they thought was a psychopath or someone who is incompetent in their line of work otherwise it would look bad on their part. This is why references remain a crucial part of any resume. The information is simply immutable and can say a lot about who you are as a person and professional without taking much space on your resume.

Dress Like You Already Have the Job

If you get called in for an in-person interview, dress sharp. First impressions are important, and coming in for an interview wearing a hoodie or sweatpants is simply destructive to your career. Dress for success by wearing a crisp suit and tie and appropriate accessories, such as a watch. Success doesn’t necessarily mean a suit and tie, though. Research your employer’s dress code and try to wear something similar to what the employees are coming to work with, whether it’s button down jackets or camisoles.

Do Some Side Projects

Side projects are especially useful if you are applying for a technical role, such as a web developer or a biochemist. Deploying your own websites and mobile applications during your free time and including it on your resume can be the competitive edge that lands you the job you want. Side projects show that you are technically proficient and genuinely passionate about the work or field you are applying for. Compliment your side projects with a detailed record by blogging or journaling the things you do on your own personal blog.

As job markets keep getting more crowded, the application process isn’t as straightforward as it once was. Use the tips above to go above and beyond when marketing your professional brand and applying for your desired job.

My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.

If you like Lizzie’s style of writing please follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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