Brand Yourself for Success
In a competitive market job seekers can feel overwhelmed by factors beyond their control. However, one thing you do control is your “brand.”
What’s your brand? Imagine you’ve just left a job interview. Two hours later, how does the interviewer remember you? Do they recall the well-dressed man with an impressive client list and a good sense of humor? Do they think of the woman who reorganized her department at her last job, increasing productivity by ten percent? Do they remember you at all?
Think about what you do well, what you bring that no one else has, and make sure you communicate these strengths in every single interview contact, whether in person, via email or phone or through your resume.
Here are some ways to stand out so hiring managers remember you after the interview ends.
Be brief — and always to the point
Whether it's your resume, a cover letter or phone call, your audience appreciates brevity. "The resumes that get my attention don't waste a word," says Hiring Manager Monica Daniels. "And in interviews, I've learned people who have a talent for getting to the point are the ones who ultimately succeed."
When creating your resume keep sentences concise and use bullets for faster reading. Learn to distill your accomplishments into a 60-second speech that conveys both your professional achievements and what you can do for an employer. Practice it so when the opportunity arises, you can deliver it to (seemingly unrehearsed) perfection.
Polish your resume until it shines
If you make a mistake in person, you can gracefully correct yourself — not so with your resume, where errors and typos glare mercilessly at potential employers. On the other hand, unlike with an interview, you have all the time in the world to make sure your resume is clear, flawless, and markets you brilliantly, so long as you know what to emphasize.
"Resumes that focus solely on job duties squander a great opportunity," says Daniels. "Good resumes highlight accomplishments." Triple-check your resume for errors, and take the time to custom-tailor each submission specifically for the job you’re applying to. Employers appreciate it when you take the time to present your skills and accomplishments as a close match for their stated requirements.
How to impress — and make a lasting impression
If you make it to the interview stage you're doing something right. Your goal now is to remind the interviewer of what they saw on your resume that so impressed them and expand on that, while demonstrating your interpersonal “soft skills,” your positive attitude, your grasp of marketplace dynamics and the challenges and opportunities this company offers, and what you would bring to the team.
Stay upbeat and positive and take the time to listen and formulate responses that fully answer the interviewer's questions. At the end of the interview remember your brand and finish up by thanking the interviewer, and offering a big smile and a firm, professional handshake.