Three Ways to Stand Out as a Job Candidate

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With more and more job seekers chasing fewer and fewer jobs, the question you have to ask yourself is, how can I possibly stand out? How can I get on the short list of viable candidates? If your cover letter, resume and interviewing skills are top notch, there are three things you could try.


FedEx or UPS your resume


Important pieces of mail deserve first class delivery. So why not do what the big advertisers do to get the attention of their corporate customers? Ship your cover letter and resume via FedEx or UPS. Do this if you know the name of the recruiter or HR manager. Don’t send it blind. Remember what you do to all your “occupant” addressed mail. So take the time to get names—call if you have to. Tell the receptionist that you want to send the HR manager or recruiter an important piece of mail. They will usually give you the name. 


End your cover letter with a P.S.


Direct marketers use this all the time. They know that people invariably read the postscript--those little sign off notes at the end of a letter. In his 13 Platinum P.S. Ideas for Direct Mail Letters, direct marketing pro Ray Jutkins notes that about 80 percent of readers look at the P.S. before they read the letter. He says the P.S. should repeat and remind the reader of key points in your letter and not introduce anything new. Unlike the sales pitch found in a product or service letter, it should be a “soft sell,” reiterating a major past job achievement. The goal is to summarize and revitalize your pitch to be hired.


Bring a “brag book” to your interview


A brag book is a compilation of your presentation materials, your achievements and a summary of who you are and what you’ve accomplished in your career thus far. It reinforces what you say in your interview, adding substance and credibility to your potential as a “short list” candidate. If you regularly met your sales targets in your present or previous job, a brag book lets you highlight ranking reports and performance reviews. Career transition expert, trainer and professional speaker Jessica Leppert Pierce advises job seekers to take a brag book to every interview to back up how they successfully helped an organization reach certain specific goals.


Your brag book should be bound, look professional and include the following:


  • Resume customized to the employer’s needs or job description
  • One page bio that summarizes your experience, key career accomplishments (ranking reports and performance reviews), education and hobbies.
  • Professional Organizations to show that you’re connected and up to speed on the latest techniques and technologies in your field.
  • Awards that show recognition of your expertise by professional peers.
  • Letters of Recommendation from former bosses, colleagues and mentors to show that others regard you as a hard worker and key player.
  • References (optional at this point) who can attest to your personal character and work ethic.


Want to get noticed in a sea of job candidates? It won’t be easy. But a little creativity goes a long way.


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