4 creative ways to get employers' attention
Good news: You've probably heard by now that unemployment in the U.S. is at its lowest in seven years. Companies are actively hiring, and candidates are seeking new jobs. If you're ready to start your job search, how can you stand out from everyone else who is taking advantage of the positive situation?
Sure, you can update your résumé and LinkedIn profile, but you're probably wondering if there's more to it than the now traditional methods. You may have read about tools to grab the attention of employers. Many recruiters and employers dismiss them as too extreme and still want to see a traditional résumé and cover letter. However, there are a few things you may consider adding to your job application that could leave a positive and distinct first impression.
Write a Biography
One of the key elements to getting past the interview stage is to show the company you're a good cultural fit. You don't have to save that show for the interview. You can demonstrate that to prospective employers by mirroring their own style when creating your applications.
This is especially effective if you're applying to a more progressive company. For example, if staff bios on the company's site reflect the sense of humor of each employee or state their interests outside of work, you may want to create your own. Keep it short and in the same style as those you see on their site, and send it in with your regular application.
Shoot a Video
Recording and sending a two- to three-minute video to an employer can be effective if the company and type of job you're applying to warrants it. If the job is a client-facing or instructor role, such as a customer service representative, recruiter, sales associate or teacher, this can be a good representation for the employer of how you handle people and situations.
Most importantly, the video needs to be short and targeted specifically to the company and what you know about it. A video of you sitting and talking to the camera will not be powerful, but short takes of you interacting with others will. Remember to show, not tell.
Make a Presentation
There are certain jobs for which a presentation is a more appropriate application piece than others. If you're applying to be a consultant, trainer or researcher, you may want to consider including a presentation as part of your application package.
If you've been asked for a writing sample, you don't have to provide one you've already written. If you don't think that anything in your files accurately reflects the type of work you'd be doing at the company, create something new. It should not be long, and as with any presentation, is should be eye-catching and understandable for the audience. If you are creating something new, consider using the company's colors as the template, as that will show extra attention to detail and catch the employer's eye.
Design an Infographic Résumé
Infographic résumés have become popular lately. They are noticeable and often tell more of a story than a traditional résumé does. Most employers will still expect to see a polished, well-written résumé, so you're better off sending both if you want to send an infographic version. Be careful that your flashy version's graphics and representation carries purpose; you don't want an employers staring at it trying to figure out who you are because they're so distracted by the colors or odd graphics.
Submitting something additional is probably a good idea only for the opportunities you are really serious about, as it can take a lot of your time. The bottom line is that if you choose to submit a non-traditional item with your application, make the best use of your and the employer's time. How can you do this? Do your homework before you put it together.
Read news about the company, peruse the website, study reviews of current and past employees and talk to anyone you know who worked or works there. Make sure the medium you choose is tailored to the company and job as much as possible. This is your opportunity to let the employer interact with you and get a sense of your personality before inviting you for an interview. Make it count.
Marcelle Yeager is the president of Career Valet, which delivers personalized career navigation services. Her goal is to enable people to recognize skills and job possibilities they didn't know they had to make a career change or progress in their current career. She worked for more than 10 years as a strategic communications consultant, including four years overseas. Marcelle holds an MBA from the University of Maryland.
Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report
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