Don’t apply for your next job without reading THIS first.

Picture: Markus Winkler (Unsplash)

Times have rapidly changed and there’s currently no way of knowing what’s the best way forward for any one. There’s been a considerable amount of job losses, pay cuts and push backs and there’s no better time then now to introspect on what we can do to better our careers.

Yes, standing out is difficult today. But it’s definitely not impossible! Here are five ways you can set the right impression and rise above all of that job search competition—no hours of waiting in the office lobby required.

1. CHANGE UP YOUR C.V

You’ve heard the advice before: You should tailor your cv for every single position you apply for. Nowadays online applications arenormal than walking into any firm and handing in your cv at a chance of meeting someone and making an immediate first impressions.

This basic first step is one of the best ways to separate yourself from the pack and prove you’re a no-brainer fit for the job—without having to do anything completely drastic or over the top.

Ensure that the cv is reflective of your match to that particular job, be honest in your application, and research the main job specification and incorporate that into your whole document. It seems basic, but it’s an important part of the process that you don’t want to skip. When it comes to job applications, remember quality over quantity.

2. HIGHLIGHT YOUR PERSONALITY 

The legal industry, law firms and any corporate office for that matter, have a very formal way about them but you’ll need to find some subtle and professional ways to sprinkle your personality into those otherwise stiff and dry documents, and you’re sure to make an impression on the hiring board. 

This can be done by avoiding the generic emphasis on how hardworking you might be and all the other things that we imagine they want to hear. 

3. NETWORK

 “It’s not always what you know, but who you know?” Like it or not, it holds some water—particularly when you’re job searching.

If you’re really eager to make a connection and leave a memorable impression with a company you’re interested in, it’s best if you can find an “in” with that employer.

This connection doesn’t always have to be obvious—after all, if your best friend or professional mentor worked at that company, you likely would’ve already thought to reach out and ask them to put in a good word.

Instead, LinkedIn is where you’ll want to turn when you want to build a relationship. Start by searching for the profile of the hiring manager of the team’s department leader you’re hoping to work on. Do you have any connections in common? If so—and you know that shared connection fairly well—reach out and ask him or her to make an introduction for you.

Don’t have any shared connections? It’s not the end of the world! You can still gather your courage and request to connect with a personalized message. 

Just making the effort to get beyond the anonymity of the job application process will help you build some name recognition and stand out.

4. BE EMAIL RESILIENT

Reach out to companies. Some jobs positions are never advertised and are filled at the discretion of the directors. Of course, you won’t always get those results with a cold email. But if there’s a company you really respect, why not reach out and let them know how much you love what they’re doing? It can’t hurt to express your interest in working there!

There’s not a lot of competition for jobs that aren’t advertised, so you’ll be a step ahead of the curve. Plus, what’s the worst that could happen?

5. FOLLOW UP

Companies have a turn around time, so in as much as you much show eagerness you also need to be patient. 

Try ending your email by passing along an article you think they’d find interesting. Maybe it’s a news story about something that pertains directly to their industry. Or perhaps it’s a blog post about a certain a case that would apply. Create a conversation , ongoing between yourself and the network of people you’ve connected with. 

Because you’ve created a relationship, this approach isn’t entirely random and abnoxious. You can politely check in on where you stand in a way that still adds some value to their workday.

In today’s impersonal job hunting landscape, it’s increasingly tough to stand out from the sea of competition. However, it’s not impossible—as long as you’re willing to get a little creative. Give one (or all!) of these five methods a try and you’ll make yourself that much more memorable.

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