Job Searching Today: How to Stand Out from the Crowd!

WorkCoachCafeI constantly hear from job seekers who don’t understand why their resume submissions aren’t effective, or, even, acknowledged by employers.  I have also seen so many job seekers who seem to throw together a quick response to every job posting, and send it off as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next one, also as quickly as possible. 

Know this important point that many job seekers don’t understand –

The whole job application

process is an audition

for the job.  

ALL of it matters!  Assume that everything you do, in every part of the hiring process from your initial contact through job offer and acceptance, is being viewed as a demonstration of how you would perform on the job.

You need to bring your “A Game” to each step in the process:

  • Job application or resume submittal – on time, clean, well-done
  • Email with staff members – polite, well-written, short, clear
  • Phone interview – prepared, pleasant, professional
  • Office visit – dress appropriately, treat ALL the staff members with courtesy
  • Face-to-Face interviews – well-prepared, confident, professional, polite
  • Follow-up after interviews – promptly, politely, and professionally

At the same time, it’s important for you to pay attention to what they do and how the organization seems to operate.  Do you want to work for them?  Are you comfortable with them?

Employers Want a “Good Fit” and So Do You!

For an employer, a “good fit” is an employee who will be worth their salary and the time and expense spent hiring them – someone who will, hopefully stay in the job for a long while, working effectively and efficiently.  They want an employee who will be on-time, dependable, honest, pleasant, and very good at their job, one who hopefully does not need any additional training.  

For you, a “good fit” is an organization you will be comfortable in, working with people you could like (or, at least, can easily tolerate), in an environment that is safe and pleasant for you, with a level of pay that is appropriate, hopefully with a career path and future increases in compensation.

Demonstrate Good Reading Comprehension and Appropriate Use of Language

Read the job description carefully before you apply, so that it is clear that you fit many, if not all, of the requirements of the position.  Carelessly applying for every job you find is most likely wasting your efforts and giving employers the impression that you don’t (or can’t) pay attention to the descriptions or are too lazy to take the time to read the description.

In addition to being error-free, be sure your application or resume and cover letter “connect the dots” for the employer between their job’s requirements and your accomplishments, skills, and qualifications.  This means focusing on the details in the job description and customizing your resume to the job – your relevant skills and accomplishments. 

Show Your Attention to Detail and Ability to Follow Directions

Of course, your resume or application must be error free and easy to read, and submitted in accordance with the directions provided.  That doesn’t mean you can’t also network your way into the organization (demonstrating your initiative and creativity!), but it does show that you can read and follow directions.

Answer any questions included in the job description.  Employers can build a “test” into the job description in the form of a question (or two or more), like “In your application, include a description of how you solved a problem like this…” 

Exhibit Your Strong Work Ethic and Knowledge of the Business

Employers are looking for job candidates who are interested in the job and in working for them.  If you seem indifferent, they will be indifferent, too.  Is your resume customized for their position?  Are you on time for the interview?  Are you prepared for the interview, or do you “wing it”?  Did you take the time to do some serious research.

Bring your “A Game” to this process, as you would to your job, and you will succeed.

For More on Standing Out From the Crowd:

How to Knock Their Socks Off in an Interview

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers

No Response to Your Emailed Resume? How to Get It Noticed 

© Copyright, 2013, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.


About the author…

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been  observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .


  1. Natalie Prigge says:

    Nice points, Susan. Every candidate needs to understand they are branding themselves. Every interaction is being scrutinized and when you are searching for a new position, every day is an opportunity to sell yourself to those around you.

    Job Seekers need to understand that it is about the QUALITY of the interactions, not the QUANTITY of the interactions.

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