Stand out from the Crowd: Distinguishing Yourself in a Tight Job Market


With many people out of work, the challenge for job seekers to differentiate themselves compounds. How can you give yourself the best chance of getting an interview—and getting the job? We have three tips to give you a competitive advantage:

Explore your network. The colleagues you’ve worked with are the single greatest asset you bring to a job search. When entering the job market reach out to trusted colleagues to let them know you’re open to a new position. If a position catches your eye, check to see if you know someone with ties to the company who could give you insight or a recommendation. Make a practice of helping others so colleagues will be eager to help when you’re the one in need of assistance.

Do your homework. In a competitive job market, hiring managers receive a high volume of resumes from people looking for a job—any job. Your job is to show that you want this job with this company. Your research into a company should include more than a cursory visit to their website. Spend time getting to know them on their website, especially their “About Us” and “Team” pages. Browse their social media accounts across platforms. Check for recent news stories about them.

Hone your resume. Crafting a cover letter and resume takes time and effort. It’s tempting to skimp on this step when in a job search, but doing so can end your chance of getting a job before you even begin. Consider customizing your resume to be a key first step of practicing for an interview. As you tailor your resume and cover letter to the needs and mission of the organization, you are thinking through how you will present yourself in an eventual interview phase.

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