You’re an ordinary guy doing your level best to get a job. You see some people taking extreme measures to land positions, far surpassing anything you might ever consider doing. How do you compete with that? Hannah Morgan explains in her article below.
Job seekers frequently complain about resumes falling into a black hole and employers are crying because they can’t find the exact blend of skills to fill job openings. Career advisers frequently advocate the importance of developing a personal brand and standing out, but is that practical for the average person?
It's true, the bar for getting hired has been raised and it seems to take herculean efforts to land even an interview. For example, recently a new college graduate paid about $30 to promote himself on Snapchat to gain the attention of his target employer. His out-of-the-box strategy worked, somewhat. He landed the interview, but not the internship he was hoping for. The company had already filled the internship slots. So you may ask, does it take this type of extreme measure to land a position?
Here are ways the average joe can stand out.
Use who you know. You have friends, past colleagues and classmates. Reach out to all of them and explain exactly what you are looking for. Make it easy for your friends to help by supplying job titles you are interested in or companies you think you would like to work for. This will almost always open a discussion and supply you with an opportunity to explain your situation. Reaching out rekindles the relationship but isn't a one-time activity. Stay in touch with the people who have offered assistance. Let your contacts know what you are up to and the progress you have made. If you've lost track of people you used to know, search for them on LinkedIn and Facebook and reconnect. You don't need any advanced skills or to put forth extreme effort. You may feel a bit uncomfortable, but think about what you might gain.
Use what you know. Not everyone is an expert. But you certainly know a thing or two. No matter what your occupation or field of study, you have transferable skills and experiences. Highlight the skills you enjoy using the most. You can even apply some of your skills to your own search campaign. If you are in marketing, you already have familiarity with promoting companies or events. Take the same logic you used to market a new product or service and apply it to yourself. Perhaps you have amazing organizational skills. Put those to use in organizing a thorough and productive job search. A safe and easy way to show your skills is by volunteering with a local organization or professional association. Every organization needs skilled volunteers, and they will provide you with the chance to use your talents. If you have strong writing skills, consider publishing blog posts on LinkedIn's publishing platform or on SlideShare, a social network for sharing presentations and documents.
Be sure of yourself. Being average doesn't mean you lack self-confidence. You have a unique set of values, beliefs and skills. It is important for you to confidently convey this blend of information. Be genuine. You may want to write a story about what inspires you or why you do the work you do. Be truthful and bake these ingredients to communicate your personal brand. When you package yourself and distribute the message properly, you are more likely to catch the right employer's eye. When you've decided on your personal brand, show it off within your LinkedIn profile and other social media profiles. Make sure the bio section uses the right words to describe you. While you are updating your social media accounts, it may be a good time to create a personal website and infographic resume highlighting your new branded message. And finally, be sure to use a consistent bio and headshot across all social platforms.
Effort is the differentiator. You could do the minimal amount of work to look for a new job, but that probably won't work. As you know, there is a lot of competition out there in search of the same job. Put more effort into everything you do for your job search. This means tweaking your resume to fit the job, finding people to talk with inside the company before you apply, writing a personalized cover letter explaining the top three reasons you are qualified for the job and why you are interested in working at that company and most importantly, following up after you've applied.
You can be an average employee but if you want to land a new job, you can't be an average job seeker.