Stand Out from Your Competition – Online, On Paper, and In an Interview

There’s no doubt that today’s job market is highly competitive. For many job seekers, being a qualified candidate is not enough—because there are so many other qualified candidates vying for the same position. If you want to land a great job, it’s essential to truly stand out from the crowd.

These tips will help you rise above the competition in every aspect of your job search, and get noticed in a positive way.

Standing Out Online

Much of today’s job search activity happens online, from social networks and online job boards to employers running Google searches on candidates. Here’s how you can stand out online as a candidate:

Embrace LinkedIn:The largest business-oriented social network in the world is the best place for job seekers, and the one you should be focusing on for most of your online efforts. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and searchable, with detailed experience and keywords relating to the type of job you’re looking for. You also need to be active—join groups, follow industry leaders and companies that interest you, and participate in discussions.

Get recommendations:Another powerful way to stand out on LinkedIn is to get LinkedIn recommendations. Ask a few high-profile people for a recommendation, and be specific with your request: mention exactly what you’d like highlighted, and give them examples to work from.

Develop an online portfolio:Showcase your work online on a dedicated website with a URL you can point employers toward. Consider the required skills for the type of job you’re trying to get, and arrange your portfolio to highlight the work you’ve done in those particular areas.

Standing Out on Paper

The vast majority of today’s resumes and cover letters aren’t technically on paper, since they’re usually submitted electronically. Still, you need these crucial submission materials to stand out from the crowd.

Show them the money:The most effective resumes use facts, figures, and numbers to quantify accomplishments and demonstrate your value to employers. Even if your past experiences weren’t measured in terms of impact on revenues or growth, you can include figures such as how many people were impacted by your work, or the percentages by which you exceeded goals.

Make specific connections:Tailor your resume for the particular company and position you’re applying to, and you’ll easily stand out. Read the job description carefully, research the concerns and issues of the company, and use your resume to describe how you’ll accomplish job requirements and address pain points in the organization.

Add a splash of personality:Hiring managers read a lot of cover letters—and they don’t enjoy it any more than you enjoy writing them. But the cover letter can be your chance to shine if you keep it professional, with a dose of personality. Write an engaging cover letter that’s interesting to read, and also conveys your fit for the job, and you could make a hiring manager very happy.

Send on Mondays:According to a new study from job search website, job candidates are more likely to be called for an interview if they send out resumes on a Monday, as opposed to any other day of the week.

Standing Out In Interviews

The interview is the final hurdle between you and the job of your dreams. Prepare to make a killer impression that the hiring manager will remember positively.

Do your homework: Before you arrive at the interview, make sure you’ve researched the company as much as possible, and you’re prepared to speak intelligently about this company in particular. Have answers to common interview questions prepared and practiced, as well as a list of question you’d like to ask the interviewer.

Basic attention to detail: Many candidates are knocked out of the running in the first few minutes of the interview, due to poor first impressions. Make sure you’re professionally dressed, have a firm and professional handshake, and make eye contact (without staring too long). Introduce yourself and listen for the interviewer’s name—then use it at least twice out loud so you’ll remember it.

Imitation is flattery: A technique called “mirroring” can help you make a fast connection with the interviewer. This involves imitating some of the other person’s attitudes and behaviors—for example, matching the interviewer’s energy levels, whether they’re lively and gesturing or serious and calm. Mirroring can also extend to answering interview questions: If the interviewer asks questions in detail with facts and figures, give your answers using the same framework.

Be a STAR: The STAR method is an effective way to answer experience-based interview questions that will help you impress hiring managers. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result: explain the situation and the task you were assigned, describe what you did (action), and reveal the outcome (result).

Ask questions: When you’re given a complicated interview question, feel free to ask questions of your own in response. Often, the interviewer is looking less at your answers, and more at how you approach and solve problems. You should also never leave an interview without asking some questions of your own about the company, the position, and anything else that may be important—such as how to follow up.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at


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