You have a well-polished resume, the perfect cover letter and are feeling confident that your efforts will get you over the hump to an interview. But is that enough? The average number of people who apply for any given job is 118 and only 20 percent of those applicants actually get an interview, Forbes reports. You may think you’re doing everything you can, but what can you really do to set yourself apart?
Stand Out from the Crowd
One thing you should consider is getting your own domain name. When employers want to find information about you, they are going to Google you. Having a domain name that includes your full name pretty much guarantees you will show up in the search results, according to careerenlightenment.com. From there, you can either create an online portfolio and have it link to your LinkedIn profile, which is another step you should complete to help you stand out. LinkedIn will not only help you find a job to apply to, it will also help you showcase your talents and successes.
If you want to be well versed in your field but do not have years of experience, you can take some training seminars or get certifications that other applicants may not have. Many employers will do initial phone or video conferencing interviews to weed-out candidates. Make sure you have a reliable cell phone and Internet connection. You will also want to make sure you have a computer that can handle video chats, and a webcam that will make you look your best. No one is going to want to hire a dim, grainy blob, when the competition comes through clear and sharp.
Nail the First 10 Minutes
So your efforts paid off and you got an in-person interview. Now, what will you wear? Frank Bernieri, Ph.D. published a study on interpersonal sensitivity that determined that in the first 10 minutes your potential employer has made up their mind about if you are right for the job. He goes on to conclude that dressing conservatively is your best bet. He says that it shows you are making an effort, as well as trying to not offend while being polite and respectful.
How Do I Pay for All This
This is the Catch-22. You may not have a job yet, but you still have to spend money to get the job to make money on a regular basis. There are several ways to help generate some capital to prepare for your future:
- There are many websites that let you review apps for developers and get paid.
- There are also mobile apps that pay you to take photos or shop.
- You can also try to cut back on bills you may have with loan forgiveness programs.
- And at home, Bankrate.com suggests using low cost or free phone and Internet services and packing your own lunch. This will help you free up some money from your budget that you can put toward your job hunting preparations.
- Another little-known option is to use a company, like J.G. Wentworth, that will allow you to sell annuity payments or structured settlement payments in exchange for a lump sum of cash, giving you money sooner, when you need it, rather than later, when you have a job bringing in income
- Take any entry-level job within a company where you eventually might want to work. Most firms would like to hire from within their own ranks, if possible. So, take a not-career specific job and network with folks in PR and other departments where you eventually hope to work.
Anthony Lara is a recent business marketing grad from the east coast. He writes for several finance blogs.