How to Sell Yourself EffectivelyBY |
In today's increasingly competitive job market, a company might look at 100s of resumes and interview dozens of candidates to find the best person for a role. With those odds against you, you must stand out from the pack. In the same way that businesses compete for customers' attention in their respective markets, you are a personal brand that needs to attract the attention of potential employers. And make no mistake – you're competing with other graduates for that attention – so you need to know how to sell yourself effectively.
So, with that goal in mind, this post looks at how to stand apart from the crowd and give yourself a better chance of landing the job of your dreams.
Make Sure Your Resume and Cover Letter Are Flawless
Your resume and cover letter will create the first impression your potential employer will have of you - so you have to get it right.
Firstly, make sure all the information on these documents is up to date, and that clearly highlights your skills and education for the recruiter. Also, don't just list a previous role - detail your responsibilities within it, the skills you utilised to undertake it, and how you developed from it.
Secondly, double, triple, and even quadruple-check the spelling and grammar in your resume and covering letter. It's incredible that so many people put significant time into putting their resume together and neglect to do something as simple as proofreading it a few times. Think about it from the company's perspective: if you won't put in the effort to get the job, how much effort will you put in when you're working there?
Potential employers notice things like this; if they have many applicants, a spelling mistake can result in your resume ending up in the 'discard' pile. Leave mistakes like this to your competition.
Customise Your Resume to the Company
As well as taking the extra time to ensure your resume is perfect, give yourself the best chance of securing an interview by tailoring it to the job you're applying for.
If the job's specification requests particular skills, carefully assess where you've used said skills in previous job roles and how you can describe that experience in your resume and cover letter. Similarly, do a little homework about the company, including their history and what they're focusing on as they head into the future. Then, find ways to demonstrate (read: show off) that knowledge when you make your application.
A tailored resume and cover letter show that you're willing to go the extra mile just to be considered for a position. Generic applications, by contrast, show that you haven't put in much effort - and no one's excited to hire someone that isn't proactive.
Get a Typed-up Reference
As well as listing people as references on your resume, get one of them to write you a recommendation and submit it alongside your resume and cover letter. While simply listing your references is fine, the company you're applying to won't check them until they've offered you a job. But if you did such a great job at an organisation that your previous boss is willing to write you a glowing reference, why not put that front and centre in future job applications? It's a tiny detail, but it could be the difference that puts you ahead of other applicants.
Present Yourself Well
If you manage to secure an interview, leave the best impression possible by looking your absolute best for it. As humans, we're naturally judgemental creatures, and this extends to the job recruitment process. Fortunately, you can use this to your benefit by ensuring you look the part. You might stumble over your words from nerves or not answer a question as well as you would have liked, but things like this are often overlooked if you look like a professional.
You have zero influence over who else will apply for the same job or the questions you'll be asked in your interview, but how you look when you first meet your potential future bosses is up to you – so take full advantage.
Additionally, if your budget permits, spend a little money improving your appearance in preparation for your interview, such as getting a haircut or buying some new clothes. These are small touches that will give you that touch of extra confidence that could be the key to landing your ideal job.
Are you interested in the kind of work experience that will make your resume stand out to your future employers? Do you want to develop additional skills to gain an edge over other graduates in an increasingly competitive job market? Then take a look at our Professional Internship program.