January is usually one of the best months to start your job search because many employers begin a new round of hiring in January to coincide with their business plans for the upcoming year. While more jobs are available than usual, the number of candidates for these jobs is also higher. So, how do you make sure you stand out from the crowd of other candidates?
Make use of keywords and tailor your CV to the role
Nowadays, almost every company uses an applicant tracking system (ATS), which sifts through thousands of resumes. Include some keywords from the job posting in your resume so that it is customized for the job you are applying for. It's impossible to get hired unless your resume is reviewed, which means getting noticed first. So, put the extra time in and make sure you mention some of the key aspects of the role you're applying for in your CV.
Tailoring your CV to the specific role you are applying for also demonstrated that you’re willing to put in the effort and show the recruiter how you can meet their job criteria. This will more likely get you noticed and invited for the interview.
Put more emphasis on accomplishments and results than on skills
A lot of times, job applicants focus on their skills and previous experiences. While it's important to mention those, you should focus more on accomplishments and results. In describing your accomplishments, you should be as specific as possible: What was the amount of money you earned for your company? What was the amount you saved? Did you manage a large team? How did you contribute to the company's growth? Make sure to back everything up with specific figures and data or examples.
Demonstrate your ability to solve a company's problem
If you want to go above and beyond, try to identify a problem or opportunity that directly affects the company you are applying to. Then, write a blog explaining how you can solve the problem or take advantage of the opportunity and indicate what steps the company needs to take. However, rather than posting it as a blog post somewhere online, send it as an email to the hiring manager and attach your CV or a link to your resume at the end.
Become a brand ambassador
The best way to stand out is to demonstrate that you are an advocate for your current or former employer's brand. It is important for candidates to use social media to show that they will be a good employee and a good candidate by sharing company news, articles, events, and volunteer activities. This will make you stand out and look like a star employee that cares about the place they work for.
Be sure to follow up comprehensively
Make sure you follow up creatively after securing an interview to make yourself stand out even more. Being a good interviewer is easy, but hiring managers want to know if you'll actually be able to do the job. Include work samples or, better yet, a sample of something you would do on the job in your follow-up "thank you" email, such as a piece of analysis, a pitch or a sales deck to really demonstrate your expertise.