Tips for Becoming a More Appealing Job Candidate

Most adults in the United States end up working in some capacity. Whether that means a full-time office job, running your own brand, or working a few hours a week while being a stay-at-home parent, there are plenty of different work patterns that you could incorporate into your life.

Finding a job can be a complex process. You have to decide what industry you are interested in. Then, you must have the skills necessary to do the job. Unless you are running your own business, finding a job will likely require filling out an application and potentially doing job interviews.

In a competitive market, you must find a way to stand out from the rest of the candidate pool to have a better chance of landing the position. Companies today look for a combination of experience, education, professionalism, and adaptability. With this in mind, here are some tips for becoming a more appealing job candidate.

Customise Your Resume/Cover Letter

A resume is a crucial tool when it comes to applying for jobs. It tells the employer about your work and education history, as well as the specific skills you have. A cover letter, on the other hand, is an opportunity for you to speak directly to the organisation you are applying for and demonstrate why you are a strong candidate for the position. The key to both of these tools is customising them to fit the specific company and role you are applying for. If it is evident that your cover letter is just copied and pasted from other applications, it could make recruiters pass over your name. Similarly, if the resume does not reflect relevant types of experience for that job, whoever is in charge of hiring may look for other candidates. Customise your resume and cover letter to fit each unique role you are applying for to demonstrate your interest in the job and knowledge of the position.

Dress Appropriately

When it comes time to participate in an interview, either in person or via video call, looking professional is important. While there are some professions that always require formal wear, it is still important to dress well for an interview no matter the type of position. For men, that typically means a button-down shirt and tie or a full business suit. For women, dress pants, knee-length dresses, blazers, or cardigans will help them come across professionally during the interview. The first impression you create with your attire can play a significant role in the interview, so dress professionally during this stage.

Acquiring New Skills

Showing potential employers that you are committed to improving your knowledge or skills within a specific industry can make you stand out even more. For example, if you are interested in healthcare careers, acquiring an online BLS certification will give you an advantage over other candidates that may not have this training yet, which would delay when they could be hired. Online courses and certifications are a great way to improve your current skill sets and acquire new ones that will give you vital tools that employers are looking for in their hiring process.

Follow Up

You might be applying for a role that hundreds of others are also interested in. That is a lot of resumes and cover letters to go through, and those in charge of the hiring process may be quick to toss an application if it does not grab their attention. Even if you have all the qualifications necessary, there could be many others in the same boat. Now you need to find a way to stand out in that group. Following up with a company after applying for a job is a simple but effective way to show your interest in the role. It could be as simple as sending an email a week after applying to ask if your application was received. If you land an interview, it can also be smart to follow up a few days later, just saying that you appreciated the conversation and hope to hear back soon. This super easy communication strategy tells the hiring managers that you are still interested and thinking about the role, which could set you apart from others who just apply and wait to hear back.

Apply Proactively, Not Passively

Many of these tips can be described as applying to jobs proactively rather than passively. Instead of copying and pasting your cover letter to each company, be proactive by writing a new one or making significant changes so that it is specific to the job you want. Choose an outfit for interviews that is dignified and professional to create a strong first impression. Learn new skills that make sense for the industry you are in before you even apply to stand out from other candidates. Be communicative once you have applied and interviewed to prove your interest in the role. These tips will help you come across as a strong candidate that is committed to improving as a professional, giving you a leg up on many other applicants.