Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

How to Stand Out During a Job Interview

Have you made sure your resume is scannable and sent a thank you note? Such actions make you stand out.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to Jobvite, 65 percent of recruiters say that the lack of skilled candidates is their biggest obstacle to hiring -- and I completely agree. I was recently hiring for a position at my company, Ramp Ventures, and I was shocked by the poor quality of applicants.

Related: An Introvert's Guide to Job Interviews (Infographic)

So many people are doing things wrong in the application, interview and overall hiring process. When you're applying for a job, you want to make the best impression possible to show you're the right person to hire. But, if you make simple mistakes or give a bad impression, those issues may cost you the job.

Here are a few of my top tips to be a successful job candidate. Follow my advice, and you're sure to stand out from the crowd and land the job:

1. Follow instructions.

When I post a job ad, I often include some directions to follow, such as sending an email with a specific subject line. I do this to see who is actually reading and can follow instructions. Right off the bat, this rules out 80 percent of applicants.

Before you apply for a job, make sure you've read the ad in its entirety and note any specific instructions you need to follow.

2. Send an enticing email.

When you send in your application, make sure your email is not too long and doesn't sound like you've copied and pasted it from a template. Show your personality and what makes you unique.

You also want to make your ambition clear in the email. You want to come across as someone who is hungry and knows what he or she wants.

3. Make your resume scannable.

Whether you're applying for a junior, mid-level or senior-level position, your resume needs to be a concise representation of you. Nobody should have a five-page resume!

Related: 3 Important Tactics for Job Interviews

Only include the information and experience that is relevant to the job you're applying for. If you're applying for my company, I don't care that you worked for Taco Bell. Take all unimportant information off your resume.

4. Engage

Follow the company you're applying to on social media. Comment on leaders' posts if you have something relevant to contribute. Check out their latest blog posts, too. If the topics are relevant to you, leave a comment.

Bestselling business writer Robert Kiyosaki wrote on Facebook, "The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work."

Networking early can help you become recognizable to the company before you've even stepped through the door.

5. Do your homework.

When asked what he looks for in job candidates, Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, said an a Fortune interview: "People who live our company values, who treat failures as learning opportunities and who lead with their emotional quotient and their curiosity quotient, rather than their intelligence quotient."

Hiring managers want to make sure you will be a good fit for the company. Get ahead of the game by researching the company, its culture and the hiring manager, before you come in for the interview. The information you learn will help you better position yourself to get the job and help you make conversation in the interview.

6. Ask questions.

At the end of the interview, when the hiring manager asks if you have any questions, don't make things awkward by staying silent. Prepare a few questions ahead of time to ensure you have something to say at this point. Asking questions reinforces your interest in the position and shows that you've come prepared.

As Zig Ziglar wrote in his book, See You at the Top: "Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation."

7. Showcase your problem-solving skills.

Jeff Reynar, an engineering director at Facebook, told Business Insider, "Don't forget to make sure you can talk really concisely about what you've done in the past, what particular accomplishments you had by doing it [and] why you chose to work on those things; and come with great stories."

Hiring managers want to see that you can solve problems and that you are a creative thinker. Give them an example to showcase those skills.

8. Follow up with an email.

After the interview, make sure you send everyone you met with a personalized email. Keep it simple and concise and maybe include a tidbit from your conversation, or wish them a good weekend.

Related: Here's the Perfect Email Template to Land a Job Interview

9. Mail a thank you card.

If you really want to go the extra mile, take the time to send a thank you card in the mail. Hiring managers probably get dozens of emails a day, but rarely snail mail. This will help you stand out from the crowd and show that you're willing to go above and beyond. It could be the tipping point to help you get the job.

Latest

2020 in Photos: A New Book Captured the Year that Changed Everything

Christina Hawatmeh, the CEO and founder of Scopio, a community-based image marketplace, talks about her new book, 'The Year Time Stopped: The Global Pandemic in Photos' with Entrepreneur's Jessica Abo.

Geoff Alexander of Wow Bao on Branding Dark Kitchens

Interview with Geoff Alexander, CEO and President of Wow Bao, about improving your online brand presence, digital ordering innovations, and letting go in order to grow.

3 Ways Your Brain Reacts to Uncertainty

Here's Ben Angel's three-step plan to control your emotions and achieve your goals.

How a Throwaway Joke Became an Award-Winning Ad Campaign

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, Creative Director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners Tristan Graham and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss the birth of a very funny (and impactful) commercial.

How This Amazing Campaign Succeeded in Changing a Brand's Perception and People's Lives at the Same Time

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Group Creative Director Tony Jones gives the heartwarming story of how Operation Santa finally took off.

How this Tech Entrepreneur, Biohacker, and Author is Helping Women with Their Periods

The founder and CEO of Flo Living on the future of biohacking and hormonal healthcare.

Duce Raymond of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ on Using Social Media Like a Boss

Interview with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Catering Culinary Director Duce Raymond about his fresh approach to social media content marketing and huge results with short video for the already world-famous brand.

The Key to Effectively Communicating Important Messages Is All About Simplicity

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, award-winning Group Creative Director Giancarlo Rodas and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss distilling complex ideas down to a simple message.

How to Deliver a Serious Message Through Humor

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Creative Director David Stevanov explains how humor can be a storyteller's most effective tool.

This Successful Shark Tank Entrepreneur Shares His Latest Innovation

The Founder of Ooonimals, Club 44, and the OOO Studio Lab talks about his current projects and what you need to know about the risks and rewards that exist in the NFT space.

Brendan Sweeney of Popmenu on How Ego is the Root of All Evil

Interview with Popmenu CEO Brendan Sweeney about building a positive user experience, the state of restaurant technology, and the importance of providing answers.

Recession-Proof Your Mindset with Neuroscience

With top economists fearing a recession, award-winning author Ben Angel teaches how to recession-proof your mindset with neuroscience to manage stress levels.

How to Find Your "Oxygen Points" to Sustain and Grow Your Business, According to an Investment CEO

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with the CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, Dr. Adil Alzarooni.

How to Get Investment Funding for Your Business

Entrepreneur magazine's Editor-in-Chief Jason Feifer and Narya Partner Falon Donohue have a lively and informative conversation about securing the funding you need to launch your dream.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.