Professional woman

Six tips to make yourself instantly more hirable

Elizabeth Bromstein|

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!

Category: Job Search Strategies, Resumes and Cover Letters
  • WRLO56 .

    Yeah. G*d forbid we should hire people based on their actual qualifications. The ability to keep up to date in resume-writing trends is a far more important job skill.

    I quit consulting for the federal government because of this b**s**. I wrote a Threat Risk Assessment (TRA) for the Dept. of National Defence in Canada. My supervisor wrote in an e-mail (which he cc’ed me on) that it was “the best TRA” he had seen in 20 years. Before the contract ended, he took me for coffee and told me there was an upcoming two-year contract to develop more TRAs for the same department; he couldn’t guarantee anything, of course, but he indicated strongly that he would like it if I was available for consideration.

    When the contract finally came out (months later), he even called me to let me know about it. I met all the mandatory criteria and scored 100% on the rated requirements; I literally couldn’t have been more qualified for the position. It took them over 4 months to make a decision; then they awarded the contract to someone else – who had asked for a higher hourly rate (i.e. he wanted more money).

    When I talked to my former supervisor about it, he explained “You should have seen this guy’s resume!” I interpret that as “we placed more emphasis on the candidate’s resume-crafting ability than on his ability to do the actual work.” (Due to the government’s conflict of interest legislation, my supervisor – the guy who knew my work best – was not allowed any input into the decision-making process, so I don’t blame him.)

    The problem is, most organizations are lazy. Rather than have the applications reviewed by someone who understands the actual job requirements, they slough it off onto some 20-something HR person, who is then forced to make a decision based on how many of the right buzz-words you were able to work into your resume.

  • WRLO56 .

    Get a website: and Clean up your web presence:

    Again, G*d forbid we should hire someone who values their online privacy.

    • Richard Derek

      I agree.

    • smscamp

      Agreed, and some cases, one can use LinkeIn and other online sites as dishonest as say some have a dishonest profile on dating sites

  • WRLO56 .

    Develop your people skills:

    I have Asperger Syndrome. That means, I have no “people skills”. (You probably guessed that already, right?) I am, however, d**n good at my job. As long as that job doesn’t require “people skills”. Just about every job I’ve ever held involved being hired by someone that had worked with me before.

    I suspect Elizabeth Bromstein is an HR specialist who is simply giving us insight into the shortcuts she and her fellow HR specialists take when making decisions. As such, it’s good advice for job-seekers, but IMO a sad commentary on the way organizations make hiring decisions.

  • ♪ಠ_ಠ♬MaRiE[+ — ••]

    What I gather from all these workopolis articles is that I will never be qualified enough to get a decent job and if I wanna get a job at all (even a mcjob in cutosmer service) I need to completely hide and/or change who I really am. Since my value system doesnt coordonate with that employers want (like being a sheep thats happy to be a slave for minimum waige) I guess Im f***d, right!? I just wanted to thank all the people who wrote these articles aimed at people with degrees and careers for shattering my hopes and confidence that I will make it some day, on a regular basis.

  • Keith

    What ever happened to the good old days, were you were hired on experience,
    personality, and a great work record. what happens if you do’nt twitter, face book
    and you have no web site. Job interviews are like going to church, just put your heart into it, The smart ones can see if your the right one for them just from your interview

  • smscamp

    Good points on updating resume and even if someone as Asperger Syndrome, that should not being able to not “Listen, communicate, cooperate, be patient, be polite” with regard to people skills

  • Pete Lancashire

    In the 1950’s many technical companies would give the name address of the hiring manager as the person to send your resume to. Even in the 70’s when I entered the market the call I got for interview was from the the hiring manager of the engineering department. Now when I am the technical person who is asked to pick the ‘best candidates’ I’m denied even seeing all the resumes.

  • Remi

    Thank you, I agree with you absolutely. How does the employer get rid of the areas covered up inside the employee thereafter? There is so much not revealed by all the CV and other means of checking people out, remember, after the near perfect pictures painted, and efforts at confirming them, the onus of misdemeanor lies with the employer. Be aware.