Standing Out as an Applicant
It can be intimidating to apply for an interview, internship, or job, but simple changes to your resume and professional mannerisms can make all the difference. The chances of you landing that position is immediately heightened when you stand out against other applicants. As simple as that sounds, many of us still do not take the steps forward on our resumes, LinkedIn’s, and applications to diversify ourselves from our fellow applicants. At last week’s #GirlBoss workshop, CWIB members learned some tips on how to effectively present yourselves from representatives of the organization. Here are the four ways to stand out to employers!
1. Personal Statement — A personal statement is a quick description of yourself, both as a student and a human being, that shares your best attributes with the reader. This statement contains your current aspiring goal, such as receiving an internship, interview, or job opportunity. These few lines about yourself can be put into your resume, LinkedIn, emails to employers, portfolios, and more! A significant part of a personal statement is the inclusion of examples to express why or how you show a specific attribute. For example, one may say, “through strong leadership skills and a motivated attitude, I helped develop a new financial planning theorem.” In interviews, you can break up different lines of your personal statement to apply to different questions you may be asked. These questions may include: Why are you a good candidate for our team?, What are your strengths?, How have you applied yourself in order to be successful? A personal statement is an elevator pitch for employers to show how you are qualified for a position, yet unique from every other “determined, hardworking” applicant.
2. Descriptors — It is important to make use of descriptions when necessary on your resumes, portfolios, and applications. You do not want to simply include a title of a job. Instead, it is important to briefly explain how those jobs helped get you to where you are today. A job title will not tell an employer what you were asked to do or what you learned as part of that job. On paper, would you rather be “Cashier,” or “Cashier: Where I learned basic math skills necessary for running a business and impressive interpersonal communication, while effectively managing my time and prioritizing tasks?” The same goes for leadership positions or club memberships. Explain to the reader how those roles were significant in your academic and professional development. Make yourself truly stand out from the next candidate.
3. Emails — This is an easy, and sometimes scary, tool we have right at our fingertips. Post-interview follow-up emails can show an employer how dedicated you are. Although you want to make it short and sweet, emails to employers can help them remember your name, rather than tossing it into the large, mental pile of applicants who all want the same job or internship as you. Sending simple emails to connections you have can also lead to vast opportunities. You never know who knows who, so putting your name out there can be extremely beneficial. If you take initiative, they will remember you. Take the leap.
4. Confidence — Yes, it may seem simple, but there is a difference between being confident and being cocky, and sometimes that line gets blurred. Being graceful, yet confident, in your successes goes a long way. Rather than saying, “I am smart and hardworking, which is why I am successful in school,” it is better to say, “As a motivated individual, I strive for success. This is exemplified by my placement on the Dean’s List the past four semesters.” Remember, examples are your friend. Employers will not doubt that you are hard-working if you land a spot on the Dean’s List, but they may question how “smart” you really are without examples to back up your statements. Also, honesty is always the best policy! Stretching the truth to make yourself seem more competent than you really are is a risk you do not want to take.
These members of CWIB pictured below took initiative to ask questions at Power Panel last semester. This is another perfect example of taking initiative, standing out, getting your voice heard, and showing confidence! Take control of your life and your future by being proactive.
Ultimately, you do not want to be generic on paper. Show the world how you are different from the next person. Each and every one of us has the power to succeed. It is our responsibility to make that known by standing out to every employer.