What Makes You Stand Out When Job Hunting?

how to stand out when job hunting

“You have to become a premium item in a generic market.” ~ Tom Hopkins

This is one of my favorite quotes from world renown motivational speaker Tom Hopkins, that has guided and motivated me over my career.

Millions of Americans are currently unemployed, which makes the job environment very competitive. But now is also the most optimistic, opportune time to change or find work since 2010.

So how do you become perceived as, and known for, being a premium item in a generic market?

Below are some significant statistics that show the importance of developing your in-person networking skills, social media footprint and using social recruitment when job hunting:

  • 21% of full time employees plan to change jobs.
  • 92% of employers are using social media for hiring.
  • 73% of employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media.

One of the most interesting statistics is 29% of surveyed hiring managers found something positive on a profile that drove them to offer the candidate a job. So, more proof that your social media platforms are branding opportunities that are being monitored and used to qualify people and do impact being noticed and hired.

Here are a few things that can help you stand out when job hunting, that should be obvious and common sense to most job seekers but a reminder is always good.

How to Stand Out When Job Hunting

Right Job, Right Fit, Right Culture

Your best approach and mindset going into your job search should be to go for and find the right job, right fit and right culture. Bring all your relevance and value to the process, employer and workplace.

This ensures ultimate job satisfaction and longevity and that you will be a great hire for a company.

Update Your Professional Image

Make sure you have a current, professional and appropriate headshot. Make sure your professional image conveys who you are and how you want to be perceived.

No flip flops, crinkled and tight clothes, low necklines or bad grooming.

Tell Your Career Story

Create a functional resume that tells your career story, accomplishments and achievements more personally instead of a long list vertical bullet points.

Use your first person “I” voice on your LinkedIn profile.

Be Mindful of Your Social Media Footprint and Social Recruitment

Take your social media footprint, technology savvy and social recruitment very seriously. Presenting both your hard and soft skills is very effective on social media and there are jobs that are posted only on social networks between connections that are not on job boards.

If you are not engaging  – you won’t see them.

Network in Person

Blend your online and in-person networking. Get out and meet people through chambers, meet ups, professional organizations and referrals.

Nothing replaces face-to-face time with the right people to build your likeability so that you are more memorable.

Convey Clearly What You Do

Prepare a concise, articulate branding statement, when someone asks you, “What do you do?” Be specific and focus on one or two things you want people to remember about you. This can be a  “door opener.”

In today’s competitive job environment you have to have every advantage you can in your arsenal to stand out and get noticed. So take the initiative and responsibility for your career development, direction and job search.

Get prepared, be professional and stay laser focused on moving yourself and your career in the direction you want it to go.

Hire Me Photo via Shutterstock


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

15 Reactions
  1. I’m an artist, but I found some of the above useful, particularly the networking aspect; I don’t think I do enough of that – online or off.

    • Ebele, making smart, mutual and active connections is part of “selling” you and your art. You never know where you will find kindred souls and customers.

      • That’s very true, Deborah. I’ve found kindred souls just by being me. I just need to up my intention/mindfulness and proactiveness – and do so regularly.

      • Ebele, that is an awesome plan that I hope you are putting into action!

      • I am in some ways…well, intention-wise; not so much on the proactive part! Consistency is a personal challenge – a science when it comes to me. I was never that great at science 😉

  2. I would advise job seekers to have a LinkedIn profile that is as good as, or better than, their resume. I would advise them to blog about their expertise online. LinkedIn shows your experience and skills (with recommendations hopefully) and the blog should demonstrate your knowledge and how you apply it/have applied it. That should help you stand out.

    • Robert, LinkledIn profiles and resumes should tell your career story NOT list vertical bullet points. “Show and Tell about your value, accomplishments and how they can help solve problems. The career and job world are driven by your social footprint.

  3. Very inspiring post for all job seeker, who are desperate to find a relevant job through their knowledge skill & past experience. I believe social media is playing a major role in merging the gap between the hiring companies & the candidates, who doesn’t wait in along Que’s to face the interview, use of catchy words & good amount of exposures level makes one gets easily appointed for the deserving job.

    • Thanks Steve, it’s a new game, rules and tools. What it takes to get noticed, interviewd and hired is very different than it was 3-5 years ago. Get prepared, relevant, go social, be mobile, get hired. Important to be more personal and tell your story.

  4. I agree. You really have to learn more about your job. More than being able to deliver, you should continuously hone your skills so that you really become a premium item in the job market. This way, employers will be willing to pay extra just to get you on their team.

    • Aira, you give yourself the best chance to stand out when you offer the best you have and are. We can only hope that brings the best compensation.

  5. Very true.:) When you are seeking for a job, just be with yourself. Specify what job you want in order for them to know where department you’ll be assigned.