Pro Tips on How to Stand Out and Land an Interview

Looking for work is a full-time job. That said, when you've uncovered your dream job, it can ignite your energy reserves. You want to make sure you hit the first impression out of the park and land the job interview — but how?

For most job seekers, it's hard to know how to stand out and land an interview in a competitive job market. Distinguishing yourself before, during, and after the interview process is what I'm here to help you with. Below I'll reveal what makes job seekers memorable along with some pro tips to help you land your dream role.

Before the Job Interview

Every hiring manager is passionate about growing their team with the right people. They've spent countless hours perfecting the job description to attract the right person. Here are some tips to help you be that person in your job application.

A Well-Researched Cover Letter

Study the job description and the company page on the website. Pick out words and value statements that show up often. Make a bullet point list of the themes that your potential employer cares about. Incorporate those words into your cover letter. This is how to stand out and land an interview the easy way.

Social Media Audits

Google yourself and see what comes up because many recruiters will, too. If you need to beef up your social media presence, LinkedIn is a great first stop. In 2017, a study found that out of 122 million job seekers invited to an interview via LinkedIn, 35.5 million were hired by someone they connected with via the social networking site. 

Your profile is a common first stop during the hiring process. Make a great first impression by stepping up your endorsement count. At 99+ endorsements you will be ranked as highly-skilled but even 30 endorsements in related skills shows authority. A great way to do this is to endorse others whom you’ve had a great working relationship with in the past — they’re likely to return the favor. You can also ask with a short and sweet direct message.

Self-audit your bio and work history to make sure it's up to date. 

Use LinkedIn to see who you have a connection with at the company you’re applying to. Ask them about the company culture or whether they might be able to put in a good word or referral. 

Once you've completed a personal social media audit, take some time to scour the company feeds too. Look for clues about topics and social causes the company supports — it might be interesting to cover in your job interview.

How to Stand Out and Land an Interview Using Work Experience

You've studied the job description and learned more about the company. A surefire way to stand out is by now telling a story that makes your work experience seem like the obvious fit. 

It helps to review the past job opportunities that you've had. Make a list of skills, software, and related industry experience that you have. A candidate with work experience that relates to the job posting is most likely to land the job. 

Here’s an example of what you can put in your cover letter:

After reading through the Account Executive job description, here’s what I know that I can bring to the role:

  • Experience increasing lead generation by 30%
  • Top 10 sales performers company-wide in 2018 and 2019
  • A gross sales revenue of $3 million
  • A previous client had this to say about me: “Sarah is an exceptional resource who we know that we can count on in a pinch. She has a high level of detail and speed that makes her the ultimate partner. She added a lot of value to our organization.”

Adding a quote or endorsement is always a nice touch that validates your skills without sounding too jargon-heavy or general.

During the Job Interview 

How to Stand Out and Land an Interview: Man shakes hand of another man

If you've figured out how to stand out and land an interview — congratulations. Before you start researching the interview questions, there are a few things we need to go over. 

Day of the Interview

It is imperative to research your potential employer. Nerves will help you stand out but not in the way you want them to. A few things you can do to ensure that you stand out in a cool, calm, collected way are:

  • Schedule a lot of time before your job interview to prepare.
  • Try some breathing exercises to relax your body.
  • Take a break from rehashing interview questions in your mind. 
  • Watch something inspirational like your favorite TEDx speech or Tony Robbins video.
  • Don't shy away from wearing color. According to Career Builder, out of 2,099 hiring managers surveyed, 23% prefer blue clothes in a job interview.

Body Language

From the moment you step inside, be sure that you are gracious with everyone you meet. Smiling and strong eye contact are easy ways to project confidence. 

Mirror and Match

The best way to connect with a potential employer in the interview process is to mirror and match the cadence, tone, and volume of their voice. Repeating back their phrases is another way to mirror your interviewer that confirms your understanding.

Be a quick study during the interview and sync up with their body language as well to build rapport. 

Talk the Talk

When you've done your research, it shows. By bringing company knowledge to the job interview, hiring managers know that you're a serious candidate. 

Research coupled with a consultative approach shows them how your mind works. Ask great questions to understand their business better and then share your experience. This is a great way to stand out with future employers. 

Some examples of questions to ask in your job interview are:

  • “What are some of the challenges this person will face in this role?’‘
  • "What are the biggest challenges the organization is dealing with right now?”
  • "What has been your biggest concern when looking for the right person for this role?"

Acknowledge, empathize, and reiterate that you understand the business problems. If possible, relate back to a similar experience that you've overcome. Added introspection could put you to the top of the pile.

After the Interview Process

thank you note

When you've nailed the interview, continue the momentum with an impressive follow-up. There are many ways that you can stand out post-interview. Here are a few of them:

A Thank You Email 

A handwritten thank you card is ideal, but with remote interactions becoming the new normal, email thank you notes are a great catchall.

The thought that goes into a well-written thank you email is a game changer. To stand out, be sure to reference a special point of conversation that you shared during the interview. 

Connect Via Social

When you’ve built a good rapport during your conversation, it's a great idea to connect via LinkedIn or Twitter. You can engage post-interview and stay top of mind. This also gives you a window into the business and helps you stay relevant. 

One Solid Email Check-In

Still waiting on an interview invitation email? Consider a succinct email check-in. It's possible that you slipped through the cracks and they'll be grateful for the reminder. 

It Boils Down to Preparation, Aptitude, and Confidence 

The best way to get a job is to put your best foot forward before, during, and after you land the interview. Align yourself through body language, work experience, and professional etiquette to impress recruiters. There's no substitute for a great first impression. 

Cover all your bases and brush up on the different types of interviews. Doing your research means you’ll be prepared for that interview when it comes your way — and it will.

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