stand out

‘How to’ is the question here. How does one stand out and get the job, without turning into a stalker, a briber or a complete nutter? When it comes to so-called ‘creativity’ in impressing your potential employers, some tactics work, and others don’t. When there are hundreds of other people, qualified in your field, applying for the same jobs as you, it makes sense to find a way to stand out. Nothing says boring like a textbook CV and a cover letter, sans personality. Regardless of whether you’re going for a job in a bank or a bar, your employers still want someone fun to work with. Believe it or not, outgoing people who like a good joke or office prank, are the ones stealing the jobs and injecting some life into the workplace. But there are cases when you can go too far, or stand out for all the wrong reasons. Take a leaf out of an employed book, and find out how best to stand out and get the job.

stand outStand out ‘do’s’…

  • Make it relevant: that means, if you’re actually going for a job at a bank, don’t try and stand out with an original rap verse (although this honestly would only work if you were going for a job as a rap artist). However, if you’re applying for a job in marketing, why not show some of your creativity that you could bring to the team. Design your resume like an ad campaign, or bring a few ideas for the company to the interview in the form of a visual storyboard. If you were applying to be a teacher, why not bring a mini white board or spare paper and answer a question as though you were teaching a student. Finding unique ways to demonstrate your capability for the job is a great way to stand out.
  • Keep it tame: Don’t show up at the office unannounced with homemade cakes, claiming to have ‘been in the neighbourhood.’ This is bordering on stalkerville. Don’t take it into AVO-town by following the employers to after work drinks or showing up at the gym they mentioned they go to. If you’re qualified for the job, and come up with clever ways to stand out to your interviewers, then that’s as far as you’re entitled to go.
  • Prepare thoughtfully: obviously, you’ll take a copy of your CV, any examples of work you’ve produced and a reference list, but in preparation for an interview, think carefully about other ways you could stand out to your interviewer. If you were going for a writing job, bringing your laptop with samples of your work open on the websites would save the employer from having to find it themselves online, and allows you to demonstrate your diversity. To stand out for a fashion job, you could bring sketches of your designs, a piece of clothing you’d made or a collection of images that inspire you.

stand outStand out ‘don’ts’…

  • Send gifts: not only does it come across as desperate, many companies have a policy where they won’t accept gifts from potential employees. When you want to stand out, try not to make your attempts smell of bribery.
  • Neglect the cover letter: employers are astounded at how many poorly written or duplicate cover letters they read. If you want to stand out, the first place to start is to write an honest, personable and clever cover letter. If hiring managers read your cover letter and not only learn about your skills and experience, but also get a feel for what kind of person you are, then you’ll stand out. Employers want people who are hard-working, but also fun and enthusiastic. Let this shine through in your cover letter.
  • Go over the top: while its great to show off your skills and previous achievements, there’s no need to parade a catwalk of models through to show how well you make clothes, or build something from scratch to prove yourself as a carpenter.

Essentially, if you act naturally and allow your personality to show through (with an added flair of creativity), you’ll stand out for all the right reasons. Employers aren’t stupid. They can tell who’s faking it and who’s making it, and will pick the person they think is best suited to the job.

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