candidate_success_job searchNobody needs to tell you that today’s job market is highly competitive. Recruiters and hiring managers receive a large number of resumes for every open position. How can youreally stand out?

There are strategies that go beyond catchy titles or keywords on the résumé. The way to really stand out is to research the company, then align your career marketing materials to demonstrate that you are the perfect fit. You really want toblend in and contribute your knowledge and expertise to add value to the organization! How can you do that?

Research. Research. Research. What is the organization’s mission? What is the culture is like there? What do they value in employees? What do they do? What kind of projects do they accept? Who are their customers? Who works there? What is their revenue or budget? How can you find out this information?

Easy. One of the fastest ways to research an organization is to conduct research on their website, as well as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. LinkedIn is a fabulous resource for researching and connecting with people working in the organizations and companies. Facebook has awesome apps called BranchOut and BeKnown that can connect you to potentially thousands of connections who state they work at [Fill in the blank organization/company] in their profile. Connect with them. Ask them what they do. Ask them what they like about working in that organization and if they are aware of any upcoming job openings. Ask them questions to help you find answers!

What comes to mind when you think about Google? Facebook? Microsoft? FBI? NASA? Each of these organizations has made an impression. They have created their brand. You need to create your brand. You need to demonstrate your value.

Another easy, but very impactful, way to demonstrate your value and stand out is to include excerpts from performance evaluations and letters of recommendation in your résumé. In addition to telling the hiring manager how great YOU think you are, tell them how great SOMEBODY ELSE thinks you are!

How could you do this? On the first page of your resume, after presenting your qualifications, include a quote from a credible source that testifies to your capabilities, accomplishments, work ethic, or character. For example:

 “…there is no job John cannot handle…he accomplished every project on time and on budget…you will never find a more diligent employee…head and shoulders above his peers…”   -from Official Performance Evaluation, 2012

In addition to including a quote on the first page, try to include a brief testimonial along with accomplishments for each position listed on your résumé.

You could also ask current or former supervisors or colleagues to send you a few sentences in writing describing how you made a difference in the organization. Extract appropriate parts and build them into your resume. This might take a little more time, but I guarantee you will demonstrate your value to the employer and stand out from your competition!

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