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Beating the competition: how to stand out in the job search process

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As you begin your hunt for the perfect job, one of the best things you can do is to figure out what makes you unique. What do you bring to the table that the next candidate does not?

That question may be difficult to answer right away, especially if the other applicants come from the same university as you and with a similar degree and grade. However, there are several ways you can set yourself apart in the job search process without having to reinvent the wheel!

Pursue as many internships as you can

Internships are a great way to gain real world experience in your field of choice before you begin working in that career full-time. If you still have time to apply for internships as a student, I highly suggest you do so! You will gain valuable experience and meet people who can help you on your path to success. By showcasing these experiences on your resumé, you are letting the employer know that you have taken an interest in the field early on and have put work into it outside of the classroom.

Include extracurricular activities on your resumé

Highlighting your extracurricular involvement on the resumé shows employers that personal side of you and helps you to better brand yourself. Leadership roles in student organisations can actually help you develop relevant skills for the job you want. For example: If Lisa wants to pursue a communications position but does not have the internship experience, but she has served as her organisations secretary, she can focus on the written and verbal communication skills she developed in her role as secretary.

In my second year of university, I served as director of fundraising in one of the clubs on campus, which I never thought would be relevant when applying for jobs. However, my current job is very event-driven, so when I interviewed for the position, I was able to draw from my fundraising event experience! It was a personal example that was unlike anything my competitors had on their resumés.

Be specific

Before you go in for your interview, have some specific examples and anecdotes ready to discuss with the employer. Think about your biggest challenges, accomplishments, and ways you had to use certain skills necessary for the job. The employer will ask you about these things, so preparing this information ahead of time to provide concrete examples will make the interview process a lot easier. It also sets you apart, because many of those experiences are unique to you!

Do you have any tips on how to stand out in the job search process? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: kate hiscock / Flickr

Valerie MosesBeating the competition: how to stand out in the job search process

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