3 Ways to Stand Out from the Crowd to a Hiring Manager



Executive Search Specialist and Career Coach at the 23rd Annual ACFE Fraud Conference & Exhibition, June 17-22, in Orlando, Fla.

What is the biggest hurdle you see facing those attempting to find a job in today’s market?

Without a doubt the biggest hurdle to finding a new job in today’s market is that there is so much competition for every opening. Millions of people lost jobs in the recession, and many people are still trying to re-enter the work force. Millions more are trying to make a job change. A recent survey of 250,000 people by The Ladders found that more than 60 percent of the respondents want to change jobs now that the economy is improving. Other surveys indicate that job seekers would be willing to make a lateral move just to get into a new company. And many have the attitude that it does not have to be a promotion to bring a new challenge. 

All of this pent-up demand means that the candidate pool for every job will be full to overflowing. Job seekers need to think about how they can stand out from their competition and receive serious consideration by HR gatekeepers and, ultimately, by hiring managers.

There is no one way to stand out; there are many approaches to try:

  1. Make a business case: I encourage candidates to put together a résumé that makes a business case for the particular job they’re seeking. I’ve seen candidates create spreadsheets with metrics that measure how they align with particular job specifications. Clearly, it is more work to tailor a résumé to an opening or create a spreadsheet that details how you match the role, but these tactics can help. 
  2. Connect with an insider: Find “a real live person” within your target organization and send a résumé directly to that person by politely requesting your résumé be forwarded to them. Simply submitting a résumé to a job board or through a company website is a low-effort, low-return tactic these days.     
  3. Show YOU want the job: Recently I’ve been bombarded by email blasts of résumés sent by offshore services that circulate résumés to companies and recruiters for a fee. Save your money. I immediately delete those and most other recruiters do as well. If you want the job, make the effort yourself and, by all means, take the time to craft a compelling and persuasive cover letter. Anything less than that looks lazy.

Tune in tomorrow for more career advice from Kathy. Also, speak with her and other career coaches at this year’s ACFE Annual Fraud Conference, June 17-22, 2012, in Orlando, FL.