Our team at Flare Partners is growing its’ Marketing+Communications organization with a new Public Relations offering. In doing so, beyond designing the scope and direction, we have to hire our first Publicist to join the staff who’ll support the first PR client. In limiting our job position to LinkedIn, we garnered over 170 applicants for that role in 2 weeks. When soliciting applicants for the job, we might have over 500 applicants in that same period. That means someone in their job search needed to process, “how can I stand-out?”
Do you see where I’m going with this? Our Human Resource team will see each of these 200-500 candidates on every single role minus those who are automatically removed to things such as “years of experience.” They’ll have to weed out every candidate to end up with one hire ultimately.
For you, the candidate looking for a new job means you have to stand-out and give both the recruiting lead & the hiring manager reason to believe you’re the best candidate at every stage of the journey. Sometimes this might be with your charm and suaveness in conversation, but the first step has ZERO verbal communication, it’s all in the resume, cover letter, and portfolio. Often, you have just a few seconds to capture the recruiter’s interest to get them to select a “good fit” or “maybe” before it becomes a definite no.
So let’s dig into how you can stand-out as a candidate for a job position!
Let me first start by saying, sometimes you might see a tip saying, “find a few key jobs that you want and apply or only them, don’t apply for too many,” but with these odds — you need to apply to as many as you can within the scope of your capabilities & experience.
Tailor Your Resume & Cover Letter to the Position
When a recruiter reviews your profile, they have a few seconds to identify whether or not you might be a fit. It’s vital that your cover letter quickly establishes your specific experience to work for the company and its’ role.
Let’s jump into that resume! Do you know the short description under your previous job title? Customize that for each job application to ensure it speaks to your tangible experience and actual wins in that role. Drop the most relevant facts, statistics, and numbers. Keep this “new position” in mind when you’re tailoring that. For a recent hire in the Digital space, I was excited to see the applicants who answered the “how I would approach this job” in their cover letters.
Design a Portfolio
If the opportunity exists when submitting your application, provide a Portfolio of Designs or Case Studies. If you can’t do it at the time of submitting your application, make it available during your first conversation with anyone on the recruiting or hiring team. The portfolio allows the hiring team to see the fruits of your labor and experience in ways that you could never express verbally.
Pictures are worth a thousand words. Also, if there were multiple people involved in projects you’re referencing, add a caption or note speaking to your function in that project coming to life and the part you played in its’ success. Answer the question, “what did I actually do?”
Look for an Introduction
When you consider the odds of being noticed via an application on LinkedIn, Indeed, or other job search platforms, spend a little time seeing if you have anyone in your network with connections to the companies you’re applying to. When someone can take your resume and pass it along to the hiring manager as a reference, it drastically increases your odds.
Don’t be afraid to ask for that “favor” because it might benefit them too. Generally, when internal employees make referrals that are hired and remain on staff for 6-12 months after the hire, they will often receive a financial incentive to make that recommendation.
Every time you have the opportunity to speak with someone from the company you’re applying to, whether via email, phone, or in person, ask precise questions. Ask questions particular to the job position, the company’s services or products, and, most importantly, company culture.
Let us See You
We don’t want to see the extraordinarily scripted and perfected candidate for the job. We want to see a human who has the experience and skillset to tackle the task at hand, as a big part of the larger team. Let your personality bleed out in the interview! I’d want to know I’m hiring someone who’s fun who can get the job done, versus someone who could never take a joke. (Try to understand their culture before coming with a fully prepared stand-up set.)
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your job search!
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Jaylen D. Bledsoe is the Chairman of The Bledsoe Collective, Managing Director of Flare Partners, a brand architect & speaker.