Looking to stand out in a pool of job candidates? Have tons of experience, lots of education, and a wide and impeccable reputation. More easily said than done for many.
But take heart, there’s more than one way to improve your chances. Other things you can do: be active, be up to date, be nice. Sound simple? It is. None of these things is very difficult to do and they will all go a long way towards making you a more desirable job candidate.
Here are six ways to make yourself instantly more hirable.
Update your resume: Get rid of the objective statement and list of duties and responsibilities – nobody uses those anymore. Add a skills summary and list your accomplishments and achievements, using action words and removing meaningless terms like “results-driven” and “team player.” When applying to a specific position, tailor your resume to that position. If your resume says “references available upon request,” take that out. Employers assume you’ll provide references when the time comes. Bring your resume into 2014.
Get a website: It depends on your industry, but if you’re an artist, writer or some other form of creative, you should have a full site, showcasing your work, complete with a bio. Ditto if you are an expert of some sort. Whenever I need to contact someone an expert for an article, I look for a website. If they don’t have one, I move on to the next person. One could argue that not everyone in every industry requires a website but even those in less attention-getting professions, like, say, engineers, can benefit from a web presence, which may be as simple as a personal blog. It just gives people a place to find you and learn a little bit about you.
Clean up your web presence: This means updating your Linkedin profile, making sure your Twitter looks presentable, and setting your Facebook privacy appropriately. If you tend to sound off on social media and express a lot of opinions, or get into arguments with strangers online, consider not doing that anymore. Stop swearing. Make sure your pictures are, if not professional, not stupid. Remove your sexy selfie from Twitter. It’s not as appealing as you think it is, anyway. You look silly.
Volunteer: Researchers at the Corporation for National and Community Service found in a study of 70,535 respondents over a ten-year period that active volunteers were 27% more likely to get a job than non-volunteers. Volunteering increases your capital by making you look like a good person, and it also provides networking opportunities. Then there’s the added bonus of making a difference and contributing to the world and society.
Develop your people skills: Be nice. A recent survey of Canadian CEOs found that people skills are by far the most sought after attributes in potential hires. Listen, communicate, cooperate, be patient, be polite. When the opportunity to be helpful presents itself, take it. It doesn’t hurt if the person you’re offering to help may be a valuable friend to have in future. So, if someone you would like to work with is looking for some web design help and you happen to be a web designer, instead of trying to get the person to hire you, try offering some helpful advice. Giving instead of asking can strengthen your position in the future.
Put your best foot forward in all situations: Look presentable everywhere you go, since you never know who you will run into. And be mindful of the impression you are making on everyone you encounter, even passively. If a jerk driving a big car in the rain speeds past you on a busy street full of bystanders and splashes you with water, resist the urge to lose it and shout swear words at the driver as he disappears into the distance (as I might have done recently). Someone might be looking, and you might regret it.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go do all these things and make yourself more hirable. Good luck!