Recruiters and employers are constantly making their way through candidate CVs and interviews. That’s why, if you’re looking to land your dream job, you need to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.
Some of you may have brilliant CVs filled with relevant experience and recommendations. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean employers are going to be jumping at your feet. If you want to truly stand out from the crowd and show that you’re more than just a good CV, apply these five best practices for job seekers:
1. Be personal
Sending out the same, copied-and-pasted CV and cover letter to every single company you apply to is not going to work. Why? It’s simple – because your applications won’t feel personal. Recruiters like to feel like you’ve done your research, and genuinely care about working for their company.
Make sure you’ve taken the time to learn about each company you apply to work for. Most importantly, don’t forget to address your cover letter to the relevant person instead of the generic ‘Dear Sir/Madam’! Otherwise, you’re unlikely to even get your foot in the door.
We trash generic inquiries (i.e. form letters) automatically. If you don’t care to put in a little effort to tailor your communication to my company, I sure don’t care to read it. Why do you want to work for Particular instead of some other company? How did you find us? Some indication that you’ve read the Particular or Matter websites is a good start.
— Ash Arnett, PARTICULAR
2. Be selective
It’s easy to become desperate when looking for a job, especially if you don’t receive much positive feedback at first. It’s important to resist the urge to binge-apply and instead, to focus on the kind of role you want to apply for. Channelling your efforts into fewer, better quality applications gives you a better chance of landing a position you’ll be happy with.
A good place to start is to set some criteria for the role you want:
- Is there a particular profession that you’ve studied for or are you looking for a new challenge?
- What matters to you about the company? Their culture, their holiday arrangements, their working hours?
- Are you looking for a temporary position, or somewhere you can progress your career?
Once you clarify exactly what it is you want, then you can be selective about the jobs you apply for.
3. Be confident (but not arrogant)
It can be difficult to draw the line between confident and arrogant. What’s the difference? Generally speaking, arrogant people are all talk, whereas confident people actually back up what they’re saying.
The best candidates demonstrate their ability through working examples, e.g. past work samples. They are confident and they know that they can get the job done well. But, at the same time, they accept that they have a long way to go. We’re all constantly learning; it’s a process that never stops.
Some candidates worry about admitting weaknesses, in case they sound less than capable. In reality, showing that you’re willing to learn from others and continually try to better yourself is much more attractive than refusing to admit that you’re anything less than perfect.
4. Be proactive
Being proactive and approaching a company to show that you want to work for THEM specifically will make you stand out from the start.
If there’s a company you’ve always wanted to work with then take the time to get in touch personally, even if they don’t have any positions advertised. By demonstrating your initiative and interest, rather than simply applying as a standard response to a published vacancy, you’re guaranteed to stand out from the crowd.
Employers know that they can teach and improve employee skills, but they can’t train you to be passionate about working or to be loyal to their company.
Contacting company recruiters directly – whether it be by email, or by using the Career Inbox tool on Xpo-Online – proves that you’re motivated. It shows that you’re enthusiastic, and gives the employer the confidence that you will be a loyal employee.
One of the most important best practices for job seekers is networking.
Networking has become a word we’re all used to hearing. However, many people don’t actually know how to network properly. If you feel like you need to brush up on your networking skills, check out these great tips for networking by Forbes magazine.
Putting yourself out there is the best way to meet the people who matter. Networking does take time and effort, but consider it an investment. The opportunities that arise from it can pay off more than you may expect.
Whether you’re looking for your next career challenge or getting prepared to start your career journey, following these simple best practices can help you to give the right impression to recruiters.
If you haven’t already, make sure you start using Xpo-Online’s Career tool today. It’s free to register, and it’s a great way to search for jobs and to be found by recruiters globally. With unique personality profile job matching, the opportunity to progress your career with a company you’re going to love is now in your hands.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.