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Outshining the Competition: Strategies to Stand Out in the Leadership Job Market

Think about how difficult a hiring manager or recruiter’s job can be—sifting through hundreds, maybe thousands, of resumes and applications trying to select the ideal candidates for an open position. You are actually doing these people a favor if you learn how to stand out among your competition. Make it easy for them to find you and think you’re the best candidate for the job. Here are a few ways to do just that.

Identify your unique selling points.

Generally speaking, your unique selling points are qualities that you’ve spent time and energy working on. When you show an employer how your unique selling points translate into a measurable value, they’ll want to talk to you because it shows them you’ll bring more money to their bottom line. To find your unique selling points, ask yourself who your ideal customer is and then dig into what makes this customer tick. Then, formulate your points based on your discoveries about how you would serve these customers and come up with an elevator pitch to describe these attributes to potential employers. 

Tailor your application materials.

If you’re applying for several jobs, it can become tedious to tailor your cover letters and resumes for each one, but taking this initiative is where you will stand out. To do this, research the employer of interest by checking out their social media, website, press releases, etc. See what former employers have to say online. Take this information and the job description and customize your resume and cover letter for the open position. Use keywords throughout your documents that they’ve used from the information you’ve found. Also, consider creating a portfolio that showcases your work according to what you find they want.

Build a strong professional network.

Nowadays, it’s a little easier to network since we can contact prospects online. However, because of social media and email, people are also bombarded more now than ever, so, you have to be intentional about your networking efforts. Start with reaching out on LinkedIn and staying connected to key people in your industry. Send them notes and articles you think will resonate with them, but don’t overwhelm them. Be purposeful in your communication. Don’t underestimate in-person events either. Since easing up on pandemic rules, people have appreciated some face-to-face interactions. Join a group that is popular for your field, ask for a mentor (always keeping in mind what you can give them in return), and keep your eye out for anywhere you can make a connection (like during a training class).

Showcase your leadership skills.

Leadership skills are qualities like great communication, creativity, giving and accepting feedback, self-motivation and motivating others, and generally being optimistic. You can showcase your leadership skills through the stories you tell on your resume and cover letter. You can also show them by demonstrating how well you listen and how clearly you communicate. Also, think of ways you can talk about times you’ve taken responsibility and set examples for others you work with. Finally, be authentic in sharing who you are and your goals and visions for your career and for their business.


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