Advice from an alum to job seekers.

This is a guest post by one of our alums who works as a recruiter. Thanks Kelly!

America’s Next Top Candidate: You!

Reality TVThe “fad” phase of reality TV has come and gone; these shows are here to stay. Whether it’s a singing, dancing, surviving or weight loss competition, it seems everyone has “my show” they DVR each week to follow their favorite competitor.

If you’ve ever noticed, the competitors who walk away winners have one trait in common: they leverage this chance as an opportunity to show off their personal brand. Whether they display their unique talents, highlight their personality quirks or have a quality no other competitor has (everything from fashion sense to an accent), the winners always stand out among the pack of also-rans.

During a job search, the most successful candidates tend to apply this same mindset!

Here are a few techniques that will propel you into one of the top 20 spots, then the final five and, hopefully, your new title: “America’s Next Top Candidate”…

Professional Social Media Presence

Do you display yourself online as a top competitor? Is your profile page clean, work-appropriate and personalized? Do you make it clear you are passionate about your career… maybe even about the company to which you’re applying? Are you engaging with other professionals and influencers in your field or just with your college and high school friends?

Expert Networking Skills

Do you have an “inside” connection at the company? Are you connected on social media with employees at the company to which you’re applying? If not, find someone at the hiring manager level and message that person to request a networking call. This call does not have to be an “interview” but it is a chance to impress the hiring manager by showing your networking skills and confidence.

Present a Unique Personal Brand

What are you passionate about? What motivates you? How would your previous managers describe you? Instead of waiting for these common job interview questions to be asked, work toward answering these in your personal branding well before the interview. This way, the hiring manager will already know enough about you that you can spend your interview time talking about problem solving, solutions and your potential value.

Leave a Lasting Impression

As I personally go through hundreds of resumes, applications and interviews each day, which candidates impress me the most? Those who commit to one or more of these best practices:

  • Confidence is king; simple qualities like body language, eye contact and bringing a “brag book” are never out of style.
  • Handwritten thank you notes come few and far between; therefore, for those candidates who send them, they go a long way toward impressing the judges.
  • I am always impressed when candidates have their own websites where they post their resume, links to their social media pages, other tidbits describing who they are and a statement about their long-term goals.

Next time you enter the tough jungle that is “job hunting,” think of the competition as a reality show of sorts – hundreds of thousands of competitors all fighting to gain the title, the contract and the prize: a shiny new job.

Without a doubt, demonstrating this competitive mentality will help you become “America’s Next Top Candidate”!

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