10 job-hunting skills for an advantage over other applicants

Applying for a job is difficult in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive job market. With hundreds up to thousands of fellow applicants vying for one spot, it’s best that you’re well-equipped to handle your competition. 

That’s why today at Recruitment Desk, we’ve prepared the following tips you can use and follow to have a competitive advantage over your competitors. So keep on reading to find out how you can get the job you’re dreaming of. 

Fix up your social media

With us living in the social media era, companies will Google or search for you on your social media pages. Because of this, you’d have to thoroughly clean your timeline free from potentially problematic posts such as offensive memes or sexually explicit imagery as they’re red flags to employers. 

Though Facebook is the most popular social media platform, companies will also view your other social media accounts like Twitter and Instagram. So if you have any of the aforementioned posts, it’s now time to clean them up. 

You may argue that it’s your right to post whatever you want on your social media accounts. Yes, you’re right about that, however, it’s also the company’s right to decline any applicant they find that’s not culturally fit for their team. With this in mind, you now have to decide what matters most: your right to post anything or get your dream job?

Look professional in your photos

How you appear in your photos is the first step for the company to know you. So you need to make sure that the photo you’re using on your resume, LinkedIn and other professional paraphernalia. 

You may be wondering what constitutes a ‘professional photo’. Can it be any cropped photo of you wearing a professional suit or dress? No. A professional photo needs to be a headshot on a plain white background as you’re wearing formal attire. Don’t forget to give a simple smile and make sure you’re properly groomed in the image.  

Send a remarkable resume

There’s no doubt that a remarkable resume is the ultimate key in getting you into your dream company. Though as time passes, what’s considered ‘remarkable’ also changes. So if you’re a long-time professional, using the same-old resume from 2 to 3 years ago is not ideal. 

This is because a lot of companies value the look of the resume as much as the content. Why does this matter to them? This is because having a trendy resume shows you’re always willing to learn the modern trends used by most professionals. 

An ideal resume is something sleek, clean and attractive, free from a lot of visual clutter. This means additional design icons, using a dozen font sets and an inconsistent colour palette must be removed as they’re a pain to view. 

Be aware of company keywords

With companies going through hundreds and potentially thousands of applicants, they’d want to make the search process easier by using the Applicant Tracking Software. 

What this does is, the company will set certain keywords of interest such as ‘Experienced Graphic Designer’. Then, the software will go through the myriad of resumes and search for these keywords. Should a Graphic Designer’s resume not include these words, they’d get shortlisted at best and ignored at worst. 

Yes, HR representatives still view and read your resume, however, it’s the Applicant Tracking Software that does the most reading. So if you’d like to increase your chances of getting a job, use the right keywords on your resume. 

To find these keywords, you’d first have to visit the job posting or the company’s website. Then choose the ones that best apply to you and paste them on your resume. In doing so, you’d be able to grab the attention of your chosen company faster.

Assembling your resume

Once you’ve collected all the necessary information, it’s now time to build your resume. Here’s how: 

  1. Research the latest resume building trends. 
  2. Choose the best one that fits your personality and accomplishments. 
  3. Place all the necessary information in your blank resume such as your keyword-based accomplishments, active contact details and a professional HD photo.
  4. Check your grammar, spelling and look for any information you may have left out during the writing process.  
  5. Should you be switching industries, it’s best to place transferable skills like your newfound attention to detail and superior leadership abilities. 

Write a cover letter

Writing a cover letter is one of the most important steps in the job application process that countless professionals forget or skip writing. This is shocking to know about because a cover letter is the one that introduces you to the HR representative and the company itself. 

This gives them an overview of who you are and what you can offer the company, so in essence, this is the one that sells you as a potential employee. This cover letter gives the idea that you have a strong desire for the position. 

Prepare for the interview

It’s now time for the most important and arguably the hardest part of the job-hunting process: the interview. Here, the HR representative will want to learn more about you. From your professional/academic background to how you work well in a team, you need to be prepared to answer the interview questions effectively.

The interviewer will also ask you a lot of common questions that other corporate recruiters ask like ‘What’s your biggest weakness?’ and ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’, so you’d better prepare interesting, yet truthful answers to improve your hiring chances. 

Next, the company will be asking about essential parts of the company such as your knowledge of the position you’re applying for and a little bit of what you know about the company. These questions are an essential part of the interview process that you need to answer perfectly as much as possible.

Finally, like any good conversation, an exchange of roles as listener and speaker needs to happen. To do this, you’d need to be a listener as you ask the HR representative essential questions about the company. For example, you could ask them about the history of the position and why it’s open. 

This is an important part of the interview process since it gives you a general overview of the company and the expectations it entails should you get hired. Additionally, asking these types of questions will surely impress your interviewer since it’s clear you did your research and want to know more about the company. 

Dress for the part

It’s no secret that you’ve accomplished a lot of great things over the years. With these great feats showcased on your resume, the interviewer is surely impressed! However, if you’ve come to the office looking like a slob with improper clothing or looking unfashionable, all your hard work becomes overlooked. 

This may sound unfair, but it’s the reality of our situation. This is because if you show up unprepared, it makes you look like you don’t care about what other people think about you. Since most companies will have you working with a team, this perceived ignorance of others is not ideal and can affect your chances of getting hired. 

So when appearing at the interview, dress appropriately, look fashionable and groom yourself properly to show the company that you value the respect and ideas that everyone else is thinking. 

Use the right email language 

With many of your conversations now done through emails, especially professional ones, you must be aware of the right language to use. 

Like in face-to-face/verbal conversations, you need to have a different way of speaking to someone on the email, especially your interviewer. This means you can’t speak to them in slang, make jokes or references and use emojis as they’re unprofessional. If not, they’d think you don’t respect them since you’re very casual in communicating with them. 

When talking through email, it’s best to speak in a respectful, yet understandable tone. Because like everyone else, HR representatives don’t want overly complicated blocks of tests to read. 

Then finally, check your grammar, information used and the spelling of people’s names to show the level of your attention to detail.

Use positive body language

Aside from your right choice of words, you also need open, positive body language. Because when you do, you’d be more likeable to the interviewer and better remember your interview with them. 

Here are some things you can do to exude positive body language:

  • Have your arms and legs apart from each other to show you’re opening yourself up to the person you’re talking to. 
  • Smile if needed. 
  • Have healthy eye contact with the interviewer. 
  • Have proper posture that doesn’t make you look stiff. 
  • Then once the interview is over, allow the interviewer to give a handshake. Then, give them a firm handshake back with proper eye contact.

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