How to Get a Leg Up on Other Qualified Job Candidates Resources

No matter how great your resume and cover letter are, they might not be enough. According to career counselor and expert Caris Thetford, you “have to be bold” in your job search, and in a fantastic Daily Muse post titled “5 Ways to Stand Out When You’re Competing With Really Qualified Candidates,” she offers tips on how jobseekers can differentiate themselves from the pack.

Theford’s first pro tip: “submit a pain letter.” This involves highlighting for a potential employer precisely the problem you intend to solve. By drawing attention to a specific challenge the company is facing, you’ll prove that you’ve done your homework, and by explaining how you’d address it, you’ll highlight your talents in a useful and original way.

On a similar note, Thetford says you should “showcase your skills” with a website or online portfolio. This is your chance to share writing samples, project timelines, and even time-lapse videos showing all the great work you’ve done in the past. “A cover letter and resume can only go so far to describe what you can do,” Thetford writes.

Thetford also suggests you “demonstrate your value” by putting together additional documents that offer a preview of what the company gets by hiring you. This could be a proposal for a new program you’ve dreamed up in response to the “pain” you’re trying to ease, or it might be some left-field approach to something the company is already doing (but could be doing better). Regardless of what you create and submit, it’ll show that you’re enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and willing to put in some extra effort.

In terms of landing an interview, Thetford urges jobseekers to “connect with an insider.” Even if you have a great resume, a killer web portfolio, and a super-creative set of additional documents, you’ll greatly increase your chances of scoring a sit-down meeting if you establish a meaningful connection with someone at the company. There are many ways to do this, including — but not limited to — LinkedIn and professional organizations.

Should you get that interview, Thetford says, be sure to “ask bold questions.” While you shouldn’t come across as cocky or aggressive, you want to prove that you’re interested in the position and excited about the idea of working for the company. In another Muse posted titled “3 Bold Ways to End an Interview (and Land the Job),” writer Lily Zhang shares sample queries that might give you the edge over the competition.

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