The more competitive the job market, the more important it is to stand out from the crowd. Here are 10 ways that will help separate you from the rest:
1 – Do Your Research
Before an interview, spend a few hours researching the company and role. At a minimum, you should cover: Company mission, recent company news, recent market news, backgrounds of leaders, and backgrounds of interviewers. ChatGPT is a powerful asset—use it.
2 – Embrace “I Don’t Know”
You can’t know the answer to every question. And you know what? That’s ok. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”—but follow it with a plan to acquire that information. Ex: “I don’t know, but I’ll dig in and follow up via email.” Then actually follow up!
3 – Leverage Warm Intros
Warm intros are the holy grail of a competitive hiring process. Scan your networks for any connections to a company—use LinkedIn for this!
4 – Prepare for “Why Us?”
Interviewers inevitably ask, “Why us?”—make sure you’re prepared for it. Leverage your research. Write down 2-3 unique points about the company that appeal to you. The more specific, the better.
5 – Pass the Plane Test
There’s a common—and dated!—test in the hiring process: “Would I want to sit next to this person on a plane for 6 hours?” This was about being “normal”—but normalcy is overrated. Be yourself, but be sure to get across that you’re kind and genuine.
6 – Cite Real Weaknesses
Getting asked about your weaknesses feels like a trap, so we tend to cite weaknesses that could be viewed as strengths. “I’m TOO detail oriented.” I once told a finance interviewer I didn’t know accounting—but that I would learn it. That’s a real weakness!
7 – Highlight Learning as a Goal
When asked about your goals, always highlight learning. Lifelong learners tend to be great employees—they’re interested, intellectually curious, and driven to do more than what is asked of them. Emphasize your focus on lifelong learning.
8 – Ask Unique Questions
Most interviews end with a classic: “Do you have any questions for me?” This isn’t a throwaway. It’s an opportunity to show off your differentiated initiative. Ask a unique question grounded in your research on the company.
9 – Personalized Thank Yous
After an interview, always make it a point to send a thank you note to the interviewer. It should be concise and direct. Include a specific, personalized detail from the interview—something you found interesting or a key follow up.
10 – Stop Fearing Rejection
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been rejected for more jobs than I can count. It happens—you can’t be a fit for everything and everyone. Stop fearing rejection and put yourself out there.
Credit for this article goes to Sahil Bloom’s excellent LinkedIn post. We highly recommend following him on LinkedIn or Twitter for consistently inspiring content and useful tips that you can apply across all aspects of life!