Getting an interview and landing a desirable new job is more challenging than ever due to an increasingly competitive job market. It takes careful forethought and near-flawless execution to land the perfect job. However, you can make the search easier on yourself and more successful by staying proactive throughout the entire job-hunting process. Here are some of the top tips for landing a coveted role: 

Personalize Your Resume

It’s no secret that having the right resume is critical to your success during a competitive job search. These days, recruiters and hiring managers receive more resumes than ever for desirable open positions, and because of this, the vast majority of job seekers never move past the initial screening process. Your resume needs to stand out from the rest from the very beginning. 

When writing or editing your resume, start by focusing on your experience, key accomplishments, education, etc. These sections are fairly straightforward, but they should also be tailored to each potential employer. This requires a lot more work, but resumes are not one-size-fits-all. Your resume needs to include specific words and phrases that relate to individual jobs, if you want it to move past computer software to an actual recruiter or employer. These keywords are vital to your job hunt. By adapting your resume to fit each job you are applying to, your chances of being invited to an actual interview increase.  

To come up with appropriate keywords, carefully read the job description and take note of wanted skills and stand-out phrases – especially those that are mentioned multiple times. Incorporate these words and phrases throughout your resume, and validate them with relevant experience and credible context. You can also research similar job postings and include comparable phrases and skills that extend beyond the scope of the original job description. If you do not have much experience with a desired skill, skip that keyword and incorporate another. Honesty is still important. 

Create Your Own Brand   

Personal branding is all about building your professional identity online in order to attract employers. Your personal brand acts as your resume and portfolio of work all in one, and a dedicated following or connected professional network helps establish credibility in your field. This credibility makes it easier to connect with other successful individuals, which in turn creates a longer list of potential leads when searching for a new job. Recruiters are also attracted to strong personal brands. 

To establish an effective personal brand, make sure the way you portray yourself on all social media channels is consistent. Your brand should also accurately portray who you are. It needs to be uniquely you. Keep the tone professional, but also include glimpses of who you are outside of the office. It’s perfectly acceptable to post about your hobbies and interests. You should also regularly share updates about your accomplishments, as your brand is also acting as your professional resume. Join groups and partake in relevant online discussions to demonstrate your knowledge in certain areas. This helps establish your brand as an expert in that particular field. Finally, be patient. Building a successful brand takes time. 

Nailing the Interview

After you’ve been invited to an interview, it’s time to prepare. Start by researching the job, the company, and the hiring manager. Comprehensive knowledge about the position and employer will enable you to ask intelligent questions to the person interviewing you and format your answers to their questions to better fit with the general atmosphere of the company. To research the open position and employer, use the resources available to you, such as the company website, online searches, and the professional network you have built with your personal brand. 

After learning about your potential employer, review common interview questions and mentally prepare answers. Hundreds of common interview questions are readily found online, and while the questions may not exactly match what you will be asked, your prepared answers will help you answer almost anything thrown your way. Don’t memorize your answers, as you also don’t want to come across as a robot. Instead, just have a general idea of how you will answer, complete with detailed, yet concise, examples of your work accomplishments to act as support. 

Next, use your knowledge of the company to come up with questions to ask the interviewer. Asking insightful questions shows interest in the position. However, coming up with questions to ask on the spot can be difficult, especially after a long interview. It’s easier to mentally prepare a list of possible questions beforehand. While many of these questions will inevitably be answered throughout the interview process, there should be a few left unanswered at the end. 

After completing your due diligence, it’s time to show off your efforts. Start by planning an outfit that is professional and fits in with the company’s atmosphere. If you are unsure, remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Keep your accessories to a minimum. Next, plan on arriving to the interview about 10 to 15 minutes early. There are very few valid excuses for being late to an interview. Be polite and warmly greet everyone you encounter, from the parking attendant to the receptionist. When meeting the interviewer, use positive body language and a firm handshake. Throughout the interview, maintain good posture, appropriate eye contact, and remember to smile. Hiring managers make essential decisions about potential employees early on in the interview process. Close the interview with gratitude, express interest in the job, and request information about the next steps in the hiring process. 

Finally, immediately follow up the interview with a handwritten or emailed thank-you note that continues to emphasize your interest in the job. While a thank-you note doesn’t guarantee you the job, it will undoubtedly make you stand out from other applicants. As with most things in life, the more effort you put into the entire process of job hunting, the more success you will ultimately have.

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