How to Be an Unforgettable Job Candidate

T-SQL Tuesday logoTake a moment and visualize a job posting you’ve seen recently. What did it look like? Was it a list of bullet points? Responsibilities on top, candidate requirements below?

Okay, now consider this: Was it remarkable to you?

Probably not.

Now think of a time where a job posting was remarkable. It blew you away, not because of how good a fit you were, but the effort the company went through to get you interested in applying. Was the posting all in text?

Probably not.

It may have been a video or a well-designed web page, but it was certainly more than bullet points.

Put more simply, it was good marketing.

Good marketing works both ways. It’s one party trying to persuade another.

When a company puts marketing effort toward attracting talent, they get better talent. This is true for big companies and small companies alike. (Be sure to click on Wistia’s “Partytime” button for a fun surprise.)

Good marketing works both ways, right?

That means you can attract companies to your talent.

I know it’s true because the three best jobs I’ve had, I got through good marketing. (I didn’t know it at the time; I just really wanted to make a big impression.) I read the requirements carefully, then tried to create a response that would get them to say, “Wow, no one else did something like this.”

I applied for a job with Brent Ozar Unlimited with a video. I applied for another job for a report writer by giving them a sample executive dashboard I wrote in SSRS. I’ve used infographics to make my case too.

Now, I can’t emphasize this enough: I have no special talent for visualization. This is a learned skill, that’s all.

You can learn this skill too.

Here’s how:

1) Find an opportunity you’re interested in.

2) Read the description carefully. Figure out what’s most important to them.

3) Think about how other people are responding to this opportunity.

4) Now think about how you can respond in a way that:

  • Clearly requires extra thoughtfulness and effort
  • No one else is likely to have done
  • Is authentically you
  • Addresses what’s most important to them

(Even if another candidate beats you on the first or second point, they’ll never beat you on the third.)

5) Craft your response.

Make no mistake — you still have to be fairly qualified to do the job. You don’t want to bluster your way into a terrible fit. That’ll end badly for both you and them.

Your mission is to market yourself in such a way that you stand out from the crowd. Better bullet points won’t create a lasting impression. Instead, make the extra effort in an unexpected way. You’ll become an unforgettable candidate for whatever opportunity you’re after.

This post is part of the T-SQL Tuesday series, hosted this month by Kendra Little of SQLWorkbooks.com.

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