On the Job Hunt? Recruiters Explain How to Stand Out

By Robert Half on June 12, 2015 at 1:56pm

Anyone who’s on the job hunt knows it’s important to stand out from the crowd. So, what exactly do hiring managers look for in candidates? Read the recruiter perspectives below.

Even if your skills and expertise are highly marketable, it isn’t a given that you’ll land the job you want. You still need to impress with your resume writing and interviewing skills.

I decided to ask some of our OfficeTeam recruiters to share their thoughts on what people can do to stand out during a job hunt. Here’s what they had to say:

Job hunt basics: a concise resume and business attire

“First and foremost, you need to have a clear and concise resume. This needs to be detailed to the point where the employer understands what you have done, but at the same time it is not excessive. Focus on the basics: The dates need to be listed and accurate, showcase your software skills and proficiency, and share main duties and achievements while at your position. After you’ve submitted a resume, follow up with a phone call, email or handwritten note to express your interest. We call that being professionally persistent!”
Kelly Lintz, division director, West Palm Beach, Fla.

“I still live by those corny sayings that you were taught in high school and college: 'Dress for success' and 'Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.' There’s no reason to be too cool to wear a suit and tie or dress like a business professional at an interview. Being overly casual is always going to hurt you in the initial impression. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, I always say.”
Jason Scoville, division director, San Diego

Stand out by showing your care for presentation

“The people who stand out the most for me are those who are excited about working with me! They make great eye contact, smile, aren’t afraid to laugh a little, have thought about the job, have questions and they are able to give examples of similar work they’ve done in the past. Of course, nerves are always a part of the interview process, too. So, try to remember your interviewer isn’t so different from you. They’re hoping to make a positive connection with the person they hire.”
Elizabeth A. Harmon, division director, Toledo, Ohio

“I have a number of tips for job seekers: 1. Have a professional social media presence, especially on LinkedIn. 2. Ensure your resume is error-free, clear and concise. Highlight accomplishments, technical skills and job responsibilities. 3. Research companies prior to an interview. Have an understanding of the industry, years in business, and become familiar with the company’s history and objectives. 4. If there’s a specific company you’re interested in exploring, connect with the HR department via LinkedIn. Try to find a connection to establish rapport. 5. Excellent follow-through skills are key. Always send a thank-you email after every interview.”
Christine Rowe, regional manager, Central N.J.

Think like a recruiter and offer a hand-written thank you

“Job seekers should be prepared to show how they will add value or return on investment to the potential employer. Before going in to an interview, start thinking about a few examples you want to offer. What have you done in previous positions that will add value? Did you save the company money, streamline processes, etc.? Add these to your resume as well and be prepared to talk about them in the interview. It’s surprising how many candidates can’t speak specifically about previous achievements.”
Stephanie Cook, district president, Irving, Texas

“One way of standing out after an interview is going 'old school' with a handwritten thank-you note. Most applicants will send a thank-you via email. This definitely shows a level of professionalism and that they understand that it’s important to thank someone for their time. However, given the amount of emails that hiring managers receive on a daily basis, these are often skimmed over. When a handwritten card arrives, it clearly stands out from the rest. Given the extra touch, hiring managers will stop and read it.”
Christine Endres, branch manager, Philadelphia

If you’ve successfully completed a job hunt recently, what advice would you give to other job seekers? Share below.

More job hunt tips from recruiters

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