Job Search – Standing Out From the Crowd

Job Search – Standing Out From the Crowd

This post is about applying for advertised vacancies for which you are in competition. Unfortunately, in the present climate, job seeking is intensely competitive.  There are usually many applicants for every advertised post.  (That is why finding out through your network of contacts about potential vacancies that are not are advertised, or not likely to be advertised, matters so much.)

When you submit a written application, with or without a CV/Résumé, what matters most is that you show clearly and convincingly how you meet the criteria for the vacancy.  You need to include keywords that will stand out like head lights – you can find out more about job search keywords at this link.

Once you get to the interview stage, it is reasonable to assume that all those others who are being interviewed at the same time, have also demonstrated that on paper they meet the requirements.  Yes, you can assume that the interview and following up your references will be used as opportunities to test whether what you have said on paper in valid.  But at the interview stage you want to stand out from the crowd.

Now, standing out from the crowd is not without its risks.  And you need to take into account the culture of the organization when deciding how to make your mark.  When deciding what to wear for the interview, for example, knowing the company dress code is important.  If it is casual then make sure that you wear very smart casual attire.  No, you don’t want be so bland that you sink into the wall paper. Wearing, for example, a smart but distinctive tie, scarf or piece of jewelry, can help the interviewers to remember you.  The “something distinctive “needs to be chosen with great care and very good taste!

The interview is also an opportunity to show clearly that you will bring added value beyond that required by the job specification.  Again show that added value with care and make sure that what you say is relevant to the questions that you are being asked and to the job.

You can also stand out by being actively engaged in the process and showing real interest in the organization and in what the interviewers have to say to you.  Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep before the interview, if possible.  Do your best to arrive in plenty of time.  You want to be bright-eyed and relaxed – not red-faced and slightly out of breath. The impression you want to leave is that you are intelligent, highly competent and likely to be an asset to the organization and to your future work colleagues.

You want to be remembered but for all the right reasons.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

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