How To Get Noticed By Employers
14th Nov 2022
The process of looking for a new job can be daunting, and when companies are receiving hundreds of CVs and Cover Letters, it’s easy to wonder how on earth you’ll stand out amongst the crowd.
Your experience and qualifications may be brilliant, but you're still at risk of getting lost in the hundreds of applications that employers receive. In this new age of tech and social media, it’s important to utilise your strengths and establish a presence, so that your dream employer simply can’t help but notice you.With this in mind here are our 11 top tips to get a job - not just any job, but your dream job.
1. Presentation is key
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of applications that don’t meet this simple criterion. Your CV and LinkedIn are an online extension of you. It’s important to keep both of these elements up to date-and looking sharp. Some key things to remember are:
Correct spelling and use of grammar:
Spelling and grammar are one of the first two things a recruiter will notice - especially when technology tends to highlight any mistakes. If this isn’t your strong point, ask someone you trust to proofread for you.
Neat and consistent formatting:
This is mostly applicable to your CV, but it’s important to maintain consistent formatting, such as using the same font and size, using paragraphs, and making sure your dates and job titles are formatted in the same way throughout. It’s also recommended that you convert your CV to a PDF to avoid any formatting errors occurring on the recipient's end.
Job titles and dates are correct and your CV lines up with your LinkedIn:
It doesn’t leave a very good impression if your job titles and work dates on your CV don’t match your LinkedIn. Surprisingly, it’s a common mistake and often leaves the recruiter asking questions.
Correct contact details:You’d be surprised by the amount of CVs that don’t display up-to-date contact information on them. Ensure you have your full name, telephone number and email address displayed at the top of your CV in a clear font.
2. Let your personality shine
Sadly, many fall into the trap of thinking that being professional means not showing too much personality. This likely stems from generational viewpoints and what we’ve been brought up to think is correct. On the contrary, nowadays, allowing your personality to shine through is more than acceptable and you can still do this whilst maintaining the right level of professionalism (and without referring to yourself in the third person). Employers want to see who you are. Is your personality a good fit for the existing culture? What will your traits bring to the business? Put simply, are you a good person who is enjoyable to work with? Usually, you’d see this element being discovered at a face-to-face interview, but I can’t express how refreshing it is to receive a CV or application that seems, well, human! It’s such a nice break for the recruiter, after reading through numerous CVs and Cover Letters that all seem to sound the same. Despite the rise of automation, human contact and social interaction is, and always will be, a huge part of our lives.It’s truly wonderful when someone can make themselves shine on paper as well as in person. Be yourself. Don’t hold back. Because the likelihood is, you’re awesome and this will also ensure that you end up working with the right people for you.
3. Publish your best work or set up an online portfolio
You don’t have to be creative to have an online portfolio. It’s a really good idea to share any work you’re proud of, even if that just means having relevant examples prepared. Provide details of the creation process, show how you brought it to life and share the final results and any feedback received. People are naturally curious and interviewers love it when a candidate is able to showcase their experience as well as just talk about it. It doesn’t need to be too complex and it doesn’t require you to be too tech-savvy either.Whether you build yourself a simple website, create a presentation, attach digital samples to your application or take physical copies along to an interview, you can be sure that you’ll be remembered and stand out as an individual, who’s passionate about their work and getting the right results. If you don’t feel that a portfolio is right for you, make sure you’re able to discuss strong examples of your experience and back up these achievements with key facts and figures. It’s a good idea to outline this information on your CV as well. For example, for those in a performance-based position you could mention growth or sales figures alongside the role: “I grew sales from X to Y” or “I increased email engagement from X% to Y%”.
4. Maintain an active presence on LinkedIn
Some might disagree, but LinkedIn has consistently proven itself as a professional tool for networking and employment. I’m yet to meet a recruiter or business owner who doesn’t use LinkedIn, even if just a little. The great thing about LinkedIn is how easy it is for content to be seen and distributed amongst your network and beyond. All it takes is a like or a comment from a connection, for your content to then be displayed to second and third-party networks. It’s simple, really. The more you share, the wider your reach. The wider your reach, the bigger your network. So when it then comes to job seeking, you’ll not only have a network of connections to help you with referrals and introductions, but prospective employers will also see that you have a presence; an active role within the community and a clear desire to stay on top of industry news and trends.Sharing original content is obviously a great way to maintain a presence online and show off your knowledge and creativity, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Simply re-sharing others’ posts and articles, news, or even just dropping a comment on someone else’s post will show levels of activity and a desire to be involved. Try not to fall into the trap of becoming overly vocal or political. Steer clear of negative, controversial topics and maintain a level of professionalism when interacting with others, particularly strangers who might not be familiar with your personality or tone.
5. Utilise social media
Direct outreach on social media is the modern-day equivalent of knocking on a company’s office door and handing them your CV. There’s something endearing about an individual who takes the extra steps to seek out an employer online and tell them directly, “hey! I love your brand and I want to work for you.”. This is a particularly good approach when dealing with small companies and startups. Amongst hundreds of applications, those who stand out are going to be the ones who took matters into their own hands and demonstrated an extra level of savvy, not to mention a passion for the opportunity … and that’s just it, nowadays, passion matters.Employers want to see the passion, drive and personality behind the CV. Why do you want to work for them? What makes them so special to you? What makes you the best fit? When it comes to Social Media, it’s quite easy to make it impossible for an employer not to notice you. Whether you’re successful or not, you can guarantee they’ll remember you and it makes for a great icebreaker the next time around. You’ll have built a relationship with the company and it’ll get you off to a great start in the interview process or the next time you apply. Don’t forget, LinkedIn also falls into the Social Media category and enables an even more direct approach than other platforms. If you’re confident enough, contact the right people directly on LinkedIn by dropping them a connection request and sending them a message to introduce yourself. Even if you’re not actively looking, it’s never a bad idea to be connected to those working at a company you’re particularly interested in. It means you’ll instantly have a direct route to reaching them once you are ready to begin applying.
6. Share your ideas
In most cases, when applying for a job, you’ll know the employer and perhaps have even used their products or services. So, speaking of passion, what is a better way to show it than by sharing ideas for new features, designs, and products or suggesting improvements to existing ones? Right off the bat, this shows the company you’re serious about working with them; you know the business, you’ve done your research and you’ve taken the time to think about ways in which they can better themselves. Any company serious about seeing success will welcome fresh perspectives and bright, new ideas with open arms.Similarly to the previous point, this is a great way to get noticed and stand out amongst applications. It puts you just above the rest, with the employer knowing you’ve gone the extra mile, and leaving your name at the forefront of their minds. Even if they’re not hiring at the time, it’s always worth a shot with this approach. If your ideas are good enough, they may just find a place for you or keep you in mind for the future.
7. Research the company and ask questions
If you’re in a position where you’re not already familiar with the company, it’s vitally important that you take the time to become so. As a former recruiter, I can concur that it’s never a good look when you’re interviewing a candidate and they have absolutely no idea what the company is or does. Even if it isn’t the case, it gives off the impression that you’re simply not interested or perhaps even just lazy. How can you confidently say that you want to work for a business if you know absolutely nothing about it? When we find a particular topic interesting, naturally, our curiosity drives us to learn more about it; we research and educate ourselves. This is exactly why the majority of interviewers will ask you, “what do you know about the company?” and “do you have any questions about the role?”. They want to see that it’s not a one-sided relationship and that you’re interested enough to have a basic understanding of who they are and what they do.On the flip side, if there’s anything you’re unfamiliar with or generally just curious about, take the time to ask questions. Interviews aren’t meant to be one-sided and they’re the perfect opportunity to learn all you need to know about the business. It shows the employer that you’re interested and keen to learn more about them, plus, it also puts you in a position where you’re able to make an informed decision on whether or not you want the job.
8. Attend virtual or in-person events and workshopsIt might seem a little outdated to some, but there’s, quite literally, no better way to be noticed by employers and people than by literally meeting them face to face. Attending such events puts you right where you need to be - right in front of the employer. This gives you a unique opportunity to speak to an insider, one-to-one and find out more about the business and the roles they’re hiring for. Recruitment fairs, such as Silicon MilkRoundabout in London, are especially beneficial. You get to speak with the hiring team and express your desire to work for them then and there. But any type of event is ideal, and you don’t just need to seek out the hiring team. You could easily make a good impression on another employee and be referred to the company that way. If you can, try to meet someone working on the team or in the department you’d like to join; otherwise, go for it with anyone you’re able to get in front of! Lockdown has got us all stuck at home right now, but virtual meet-ups and seminars can be just as effective and are a great alternative until life returns to normal. Ultimately, it’s about networking and making the right connections in the right places. The more you attend, the more recognisable and credible you become.
9. Be an Expert
Whilst experience and qualifications aren’t all that matter, they’re still very important and a key part of whether or not your application will be successful. In the first instance, it’s important to apply for roles you’re confident you can actually do. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have “professional” experience, but any experience you do have should be detailed on your CV. When applying for a role, it’s important to read the job description thoroughly. Pick out the skills that you have experience with and begin putting together a list of examples to back these up. Research and work on developing these skills further if you need to. Figure out exactly what it is they’re looking for and hone in on those points. During the interview, you’ll sound more experienced and credible in your field.
If there are multiple role types you’re interested in applying to, it can also be beneficial to have a few differing CVs with each one focusing on a particular job, skill type or industry. For example, if you’re a consultant, you might have one CV for Business Development, that focuses on your skills around lead generation, and another CV for Sales, that focuses on your experience in pitching. Above all that, it’s important to develop your skills and keep your accomplishments fresh. This is more for your sake than any employer. It’s good to further your knowledge and develop your skills. Whether it’s volunteering, a personal project, college or an online course, anything you do should be included on your CV and discussed during interviews if relevant. Remember, confidence is also key here. A university degree or someone else’s professional background doesn’t necessarily make them a “better” applicant than you. It’s all about possessing the right knowledge, demonstrating your skills and proving your ability to get results.We’ve also previously put together our tips for finding your first flexible job if you previously have no experience working in a flexible working environment.
10. Be SelectiveMany candidates seem to think that the more roles they apply to, the higher their chances of being hired - even if it means applying to roles they’re not a match for. This couldn’t be further from the truth and it’s something candidates really should avoid doing. Don’t apply to hundreds of roles you aren’t suitable for. Instead, take the time to tailor your CV and follow the steps detailed in this list. It’ll make you seem far more genuine and you’ll have a much higher success rate with your applications.
11. Keep communicating
Regardless of what stage you’re at, whether it’s an application or interview stage, communication is vital. If you apply and don’t hear back after a couple of weeks, drop the hiring team an email or a message. It’s really easy for applications to get lost amongst the crowd or even for a recruiter to occasionally forget to give feedback to a candidate. Drop them a friendly note to enquire about your application and whether or not it’s being progressed. The worst-case scenario is that they come back and say no, but at least you’re aware. Thank them for their consideration and try again next time.Once you reach the interview stages, it’s vital you keep in touch throughout the process. Life can be busy, but don’t forget to respond to emails, accept calendar invites and keep them updated on any changes to your schedule or circumstances. If you don’t hear from the hiring team for a while, drop them a friendly reminder after a week or so, to check in with them and see if they’re ready to progress to the next stage with you. A nice touch is to drop your interviewers or the recruiter an email after your interview, to thank them for their time and express your interest in the opportunity.
Now you’re clued up on how to get noticed by employers
Job hunting in general can be exhausting but there are few of us who actually enjoy it. And this is your reminder to not give up, remain positive and don’t be disheartened. Being rejected is never easy but if you think of rejection as redirection towards finding the right role for you it makes the process a little easier.
Ultimately, it’s always a learning process and with each application and interview, there’s something new to be learnt. If you aren’t successful with one, you might be with another - take constructive criticism in your stride and use that to improve future interviews.Everything happens for a reason, so even if it feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel right now, you’ll find the perfect role for you.