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    Stand Out: 8 Simple Ways to Step Away from the Crowd

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    “Can you make my profile look just like Dan’s?” she asked. “Why would we want to?” I replied. Ultimately, a successful job search requires you to stand out in a crowded field of candidates. If your resume or LinkedIn profile are too similar to those of other candidates you won’t be visible enough to get selected for an interview.

    Of course, you also don’t want to stand out so much that you appear to not belong in a particular team, company, or industry. These simple strategies will help you attract more attention for your brand without rocking the boat:

    • Include a Why-Buy-ROI in your career summary. That is, show, not tell, your readers why they should hire you and what specific quantifiable impact you typically have on your employers.
    • Brand your resume visually. Leverage formatting to create a distinctive look for your document while being careful to adhere to industry formatting, color, and cultural norms. Use color and formatting to draw your reader’s eye to the information you most want them to read.
    • Introduce brief recommendations in one or more of your career communications tools. Including a well-written testimonial on your resume, cover letter, or bio can be an excellent way to provide a deeper perspective on your candidacy. But be sure it’s a great one or it will water down the document.
    • Leverage a brand bio or a marketing brief as a networking tool. Resumes are no longer effective networking tools because they are too much information too soon in the process. A brand bio (more brand-driven than a typical corporate bio) or a marketing brief (a one-page flyer about your candidacy) can communicate you more powerfully.
    • Employ LinkedIn add-ons to spruce up your profile and engage your target audience. Bios, marketing briefs, case studies, white papers, interviews, and articles can all add flavor and focus to your online presence.
    • Enrich your LinkedIn profile with a personal tidbit. While you want to keep your LinkedIn profile professional in tone, there is no harm in weaving in a personal factoid that will help get and keep your reader’s attention.
    • Customize all of your LinkedIn messaging, including your invitations. The default messaging on LinkedIn is boring in the extreme — why use it? It may be quick and easy to do so, but every time you do so you are willingly hiding your brand in the shadows. Custom content helps you and your message stand out.
    • Add custom notes to your cover and thank you letters. Marketing research has shown that hand-written comments get more attention than word processed messages. While it’s professional to use a word processed cover letter, adding a quick hand-written comment will strengthen your letter’s attention-getting capacity.

    If these ideas are a stretch for you, try adding one at a time to your search. By maintaining professionalism but mixing in a splash of uniqueness now and then you’ll increase the magnetism of your candidacy.

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