Have you been job hunting?
If you have been applying for job vacancies with little or no luck, then it could be that your CV is lost in the pile of countless others that are as good as or better than yours.
According to research, “a single job posting on the average attracts up to 250 applications”. This means that for every job application that you send you are competing against 249 job applicants for that same position.
Yes, you must have checked all the right boxes in terms of preparing to land a job; you may have a good CV, cover letter, some level of job experience, and maybe a compelling skill too. Well, chances are that many other candidates are as good as you are.
So what else can you do to distinguish yourself from other qualified candidates?
You can distinguish yourself from other candidates by – showing your prospective employer that you are ready to go the extra mile to show that you deserve the job more than other job candidates do. How can you do this?
This is why we want to share these tips to help you stand out from other job candidates:
Do your Research
Researching the company before going for a job interview is one aspect of the job search that cannot be over-emphasized. We know you must have heard “research the company” thousands of times, and you may be wondering how does this distinguish me from other job candidates.
The truth is that many job candidates only do surface research of the company to find out basic information like:
- Knowing if the company exists.
- Finding out what the company does.
- Finding out who owns the company.
- The company’s salary structure, etc.
To make yourself stand out from other job candidates, you need to do more in-depth research on the company. You can go through the company’s website, read their blog posts, read their reports, search for them on the internet and read articles that mentioned them, etc.
Doing thorough research on the company will help you answer the interview question, “What do you know about us?”
Many employers find it boring and not engaging when job candidates recite their “about us” page back to them during the interview. Instead of doing this, read journals, reports, online mentions, and press releases of the company to get a hang of their ideology, language, audience, solutions, products, etc.
For example, A candidate was asked this question; “what do you know about us?” and the candidate went ahead to give a good analysis of the company (the major achievements that the company have recorded over the years, the market reach, the competitors, the challenges that the company is facing, etc.) The candidate even went ahead to profer solutions to the challenges mentioned.
What kind of impression do you think the candidate will leave on the interviewer? Positive of course.
Keynote question: How can you show that you are the best candidate from the way you research the role and the company?
Act like you have the job already
One of the smartest things to do to distinguish yourself from other job candidates is to act like you already have the job. This is not about being too forward or over-acting, employers always lookout for candidates with great potentials and enthusiasm.
Getting a new hire on board sure costs employers a lot, from onboarding the new hire on the daily practices to getting training materials ready. A survey reveals that it costs a recruiter an average of $4 to get a new hire on board.
Employers always find it refreshing to see a job candidate that has taken some time to think about their role in the company.
We have heard a story of a job candidate that came to a job interview with a well prepared thought-out plan of what she was going to do in the first 6 months should she get the job. The plan was clearly stated with achievable goals set for each month. The candidate even mentioned the support she would need to achieve the goals she mentioned.
Employers always admire job candidates that can take initiative to show them what having the candidate as an employee would be like. For example, if you are applying for a digital marketing position, you could write up an outline of your digital marketing plans for the company’s product launch.
For a social media/PR position, you can craft a press release and a campaign for one of their new products. You can impress employers not only with your CV but also with how you show enthusiasm about working with them.
Keynote question: How can you show that you are ready to do the job?
Emphasize your accomplishment more than your skills
Most job candidates are quick to emphasize their skills and qualifications, but not their accomplishment unless asked. If you want to stand out, then you would need to take the opposite route – emphasize your accomplishments.
Yes, employers want to hire a job candidate that has the necessary skills required to do the job that they are applying for, but they also want to see what you have accomplished. This will give them an idea of what you are likely to accomplish in their company if hired.
When you are talking to an employer about your achievement, you don’t just have to say you achieved ABC in XYZ company. No, you have to be specific when talking about your accomplishment(s) to your prospective employer. Give specific details like:
- How much you earned for your company.
- How much you helped your company save.
- The product you helped your company launch.
Once you have listed your accomplishments, you can then go ahead to talk about your skills and duties in your previous positions.
Keynote question: How can you emphasize your accomplishment to attract an employer?
Give detailed information about yourself
If you want to stand out from other job candidates, then you should be ready to give detailed information about yourself. Many job seekers would simply send their CVs or at most a cover letter when applying for a job.
Since you want to stand out, you can go a step further by giving the recruiter all the information he/she needs to conclude that you are the best person for the position. You can let the recruiter see you as the ideal candidate by giving them all the information they need upfront by providing a link to your portfolio, social media pages, and your online CV.
You can also add a link to your website. Giving good detailed information about yourself will go a long way to show that you are the best person for the job.
Before you give links to your portfolio, CV, etc. Always make sure you clean it up and tailor it to the job that you are applying for. Let your portfolio, CV, website, etc. scream “I am the best person for the job!”
Keynote question: What do you need to do to give your prospective employer all the necessary information they need to resolve that you are a great fit.
Show that you have a growth mindset
Having a skill is important, but employers also look forward to hiring job candidates with not only the right skills but candidates that have great potentials and the enthusiasm to learn as they progress in the job.
The truth is that things are changing, and no one knows what will happen next. An in-demand skill of today can be an obsolete skill tomorrow. For this reason, employers prefer to hire someone that does not necessarily have all the skills, but someone that is willing to take on new challenges and is enthusiastic enough to move with times.
It is good you know that companies spend a lot of money to hire job candidates. The truth is that they do not just hire candidates to take on immediate tasks, they hire job candidates for future purpose. To make a company see you in their plans, you have to show your learning agility and your ability to stretch yourself.
For example, you can talk about how you were able to perform 30% better in your previous job by learning a new skill even without the knowledge of the company.
Keynote question: What experience/story can you tell an interviewer to show that you are agile about learning new things? An experience that will emphasize that you will be an asset to the company now and even in the future.
Project a positive personality
Almost every skilled job candidate will have a well-established CV, but a job candidate’s charisma and positive outlook are usually what will make them stand out from other qualified candidates. Sometimes employers do not mind ignoring a candidate’s work experience, but offer the candidate the job because of the enthusiasm and drive that the candidate displayed.
Projecting a positive attitude and enthusiasm for the job tells the employers that you have the potentials of becoming a top performer in the company if given the right training and provided with the right environment.
Another way you can project a positive attitude is by sending a “thank you” note to the interviewer after the interview. Doing this will immediately create an impression about you to the interviewer.
You can create a thoughtful “thank you” note that includes part of your previous conversations with the recruiter; this will show that you engaged well during the interview (this shows that you have a positive attitude).
Keynote question: What can you do to project your positive personality and energy to the employer?
Common questions that job seekers ask about how they can stand out
1. How can I stand out from other job candidates when the interviewer asks me: What makes you better than other job candidates?
Recruiters often ask this question because they want to know the skills and abilities that you have that makes you better than other candidates. (these skills should be related to the job. To make your response stand out from that of other candidates, you have to focus on the value/solutions that you are bringing to the table.
While other candidates may be struggling to see what makes them better than others, you should concentrate on the challenge(s) you are going to help the company solve with your skills, experience, and abilities.
The secret to knowing what a prospective employer wants from you is by reading the job description. Don’t skim through the job description, read it carefully and take notes. You can also visit the company website and social media pages to know more about what they do and to also find the gaps that you can fill.
Once you can find out the company’s area of challenge and profer a solution with your skill and abilities, you are going to stand out from other job candidates.
2. How can I stand out during the interview when other candidates may be better than me?
The ironic thing about the job search is that the person with the most skills and experience may end up not getting the job. Why?
This is simply because if you cannot convince the recruiter or the employer that you can do the job, then you may not get the job regardless of your skills and experience. It is more like telling a story. We believe that no story is bad, but the story may not be told well. Landing a job has a lot to do with selling yourself to the employer, and while selling yourself you have to make it convincing and believable.
Don’t bother yourself with what other candidates have, focus on what you have and how you can use it to add value to the company. When you do this, it will be easy for you to stand out.
3. How can I stand out from other job candidates during the interview without being arrogant?
Sometimes, there is a thin line between confidence and arrogance. You need to know when to draw the line.
When answering interview questions like what makes you better than other job candidates? You would want to sound confident, but not arrogant. The best way to prevent coming off as arrogant is to avoid talking down on other candidates when you are trying to impress the interviewer.
The secrets to answering this question confidently without being arrogant are:
a. Keep the interview about yourself
There is no need for you to bad mouth other candidates. You can start answering the question like this:
“I don’t know what the other candidates you’re considering might be able to do. I believe you are looking at some top people, but let me tell you what I can do for you and why I think I am the best candidate for the job..”
b. Talk about your strengths.
c. Tie your special skills to the role you are applying for.
d. Talk and act like you are already an employee.
Getting a job is indeed a job, but you have to be smart to out-do other job candidates in searching for the same job opportunities as you. The key to standing out from other job candidates is not to think that you are the only qualified candidate for the job.
Truthfully, there are thousands of qualified job candidates searching for the same job as you, but putting these tips into practice is what will help you stand out.
The job interview is one of the best opportunities you have to stand out from other qualified job candidates. See 100 common job interview questions and answers to ace your next job interview.