As the workforce continues to grow, job seekers are met with an increasingly competitive job market that makes finding work seem impossible. Even with the most unique job applications, techniques, and strategies — like those that have you turn your resume into an infographic instead of a traditional resume — you may feel like you are getting lost in the proverbial crowd.
Truthfully though, many companies are hiring individuals just like you, and there are plenty of opportunities for you — even if you can’t seem to find them. But how can you secure one of these seemingly scarce opportunities in this increasingly competitive job market?
You need to stand out.
The 7 Best Job Market Differentiation Tips
Realistically, searching for a job in a competitive market is quite similar to searching for one in a booming market. In either, you need to stand out amongst the other applicants.
The only real difference is that figuring out how to stand out in a competitive market can feel a lot harder. Luckily, there are plenty of job market visibility tactics that you can use to set yourself apart from the competition and land your dream job.
Here, we will explore seven of the best tips that can help you do just that!
1. Build Your Skills and Experience
The first tip for separating yourself from the crowd is developing the right skills for standing out. In job market differentiation, one of the largest factors recruiting and hiring teams consider is applicable skills and relevant experience.
This helps them narrow down potential candidates so they can focus on those who will truly thrive in the role or position.
To ensure that you stand out in the applicant pool, you must ensure that you highlight your most relevant previous work and volunteer experience as well as a healthy mix of hard and soft skills.
For example, you may want to highlight some of your advanced interpersonal skills, such as your empathetic nature and ability to communicate effectively, alongside your job-specific “hard” skills.
2. Work on Personal Branding
Why focus on personal branding for job market differentiation? Simple. When you have a strong and recognisable personal brand, you’ll be more memorable to recruiters and hiring managers.
To create a solid personal (but professional) brand, you must look at your digital footprint. Look through your social media profiles, remove any inappropriate photos or videos, and ensure that if any recruiter or potential employer looks at your accounts, they will not be met with anything you wouldn’t want them to see.
After removing this content, you’ll want to ensure the rest is up-to-date and reflects the image you want to show your new potential employer.
It is completely fine to have separate personal and professional social media pages. However, ensure that if a recruiter were to stumble across your personal profile, they would not have any concerns about hiring you.
You will also want to update your professional profile(s) regularly and reflect on your current experience, skills, and goals.
Bonus branding tip: Google yourself. Seriously.
Take note of what comes up first; if it is not your personal website, you might want to make some SEO improvements so any hiring managers do not get steered in the wrong direction when they look you up.
3. Express Your Passion
Bring passion into your work — and your applications.
There are some things that simply cannot be taught, and passion is one of them. If you already have (and effectively express) the passion you have for a type of work, specific role in a company, or even the long-term goals of a company, you will automatically stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.
If you are looking for ways to really show your passion for a potential employer’s mission or organisation, you could try opting for more creative job application ideas rather than the standard resume formula.
You may even try cold-calling a business you are passionate about and explaining how you can help them improve and grow. If they like your pitch, they may hire you for a role they didn’t even know they needed until you highlighted it.
4. Customise Your Application for Each Role
Tailoring your resume and cover letter for each position you apply for helps inject individuality into your application. Today, many people simply reuse the same resume and a basic cover letter template that they fill out for the specific role.
This results in dull-sounding applications that typically display more indifference than interest in the job they are applying for.
So, instead of falling into this trap of convenience, try changing your cover letter structure to best fit the role and ensure that your resume is customised to help you put your best foot forward for that particular job.
This will include updating your:
- professional summary,
- relevant work experience,
- skills, and
5. Start Networking
Networking for job market advantages is a strategy as old as the job market itself.
The simple truth is that it is much easier to land a job, especially in a prestigious field or company, if you already have a connection with it. This may mean having a reference from a current employee at the company or having done work with a partner or other prestigious business.
It may also mean joining online groups or attending networking events for your industry or job goals and engaging with others in these spaces.
No matter what you choose to do, ensure that you stay in contact with these connections — regardless of whether or not you are currently searching for a job. This allows you to call on them later down the track if you find yourself in need of a reference or other support without having to start from scratch.
6. Go Beyond “Doing the Research”
Yes, of course, you should learn about the company you are interviewing with — this is a key part of preparing for your interview and shows the hiring team that you care. But if you really want to stand out in your interview, you can take your interview prep one step further.
Rather than regurgitating statistics or phrases you found on the company’s website, think about how you relate to the information.
Study competitors and keep up with market trends to help inform your responses. Incorporate your own thinking and explain to the interviewer what you like about the company‘s approaches, goals, and values.
Explore how these goals or values align with your own and touch on any ideas or skills that you would bring to the table if they hired you that could assist in these areas. This is a great opportunity to show the hiring team why the company should hire you.
7. Make Sure to Follow Up
The final way to stand out in a competitive job market is to leave no threads hanging. No matter how well or poorly you feel the interview went, send a follow-up email to the recruiter or hiring manager for taking the time to interview you.
This is also a great place to briefly reiterate your desire or excitement for working with the company and, if you can, highlight one thing the interviewer said during the interview that makes you feel that you would be an excellent fit.
Not only is writing a follow-up email a generally respectful and gracious practice, but it also helps to leave a positive impression of you as the last image the interviewer has of your application.
Finding a job in a competitive job market may seem challenging, but if you follow the tips above and focus on standing out, you should be able to land the job of your dreams.
Still, if you feel you are struggling to get your foot in the door anywhere or could use some additional guidance on reaching potential employers, contact us at WellsGray to speak with an expert and get the tailored coaching and advice you need to find permanent work!