There’s a lot of job advice out there that sounds like a broken record:
- Arrive early
- Bring a portfolio and resume
- Dress neutral and professional
- Research the company
- Ask questions
- Send a handwritten thank you note
I’ve been on both sides of the interviewer and the interviewee, and I’ve realized these tips have become assumed. They’re expected so much to a point that they don’t make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
So for those looking to standout, go above and beyond with these outside-the-box tips.
1. Create a virtual resume.
It’s assumed you’ll have your resume on a word document and/or LinkedIn. But to make you look even more on top of your game, buy your name in a domain (for example, mine is JessEkstrom.com) on a site like GoDaddy.com. Then, use a host like Weebly.com (no coding needed) to create your own website with your resume, portfolio and maybe even a blog. You can also use a site like About.me, which doesn’t require you to purchase a domain to create your profile.
2. Have a fresh headshot.
Have a friend with a nice camera? Or can you rent one from somewhere? Get a nice headshot done to be used as your Gmail icon, LinkedIn profile pic and on your website.
The solid professional backdrop has become a little “old fashioned.” Instead, find a more natural and exciting background like a city skyline or trees to look more modern. August and September are good times to get headshots done because you still have a little “glow” left from the summer.
3. Your name in a logo.
Branding isn’t just for products; it’s for people too. How do you want people to feel when they look at your business card, website, resume or signature? If you have Photoshop or InDesign and can do it yourself, awesome. If not, try to find a friend who can or hire someone on Freelancer.com.
Related: 5 Ways Job Seekers Blow It
4. Portfolio on a flash drive.
When you’re coming to an interview, bring copies of your portfolio and resume for people to hold and look at while you talk. However, after the interview, employers may want to also have your information stored on their computer. Come in with flash drives with your resume and portfolio uploaded (and maybe even a cover/thank you letter to the company). Even better, order custom flash drives with your name (in logo form) on them.
5. Personalized stationary.
When you write your handwritten thank you note, put it on personalized stationary with your logo name. On the back of the card, you can also put your website and/or email. I like using Vistaprint.com for printing but there are a ton of print options to get personalized stationary.
6. Be quick to reply.
With smartphones, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to reply to emails promptly. And when I say promptly, I mean within an hour. If you’re interested in a job, and I send you an email and it takes you a day to respond, it shows me that you’re not that eager for the opportunity. If you respond within an hour (even less is awesome), I can see that you’re excited and on your game.
7. Be concise in your emails.
The longer the email, the less I’m going to read. I understand details are important but be as concise as you can be when emailing a potential employer. Getting to the point shows that you have a clear train of thought which is attractive to an employer. Clear writing equals clear thinking. Enough said.