The Need to Be A Star in the Eyes of an Employer


It is still a “buyer’s market” in the employment arena. Employers continue to receive sometimes hundreds of resumes per job opening (with many hundreds more being sent for no specific job, but with the hope that someone will notice how terrific is the sender).

Thus, hiring managers and HR departments can and continue to be very selective regarding with whom they spend time speaking.

Whether a candidate is a passive job seeker (currently working, but looking to make a move/switch employers) or in transition, he/she needs to significantly distance themselves from the competition.

Jack Welch, legendary Chairman and CEO of General Electric, wrote in a June 4, 2013 post on LinkedIn: Avoiding These 3 Hiring Mistakes “Every smart idea matters. Every ounce of passion makes a difference. You cannot have a black hole in your organization where a star should be.”

Most of us have, unfortunately, had the opportunity to work with/near some of those “black holes” (co-workers who suck the positive energy right out of a team). These folks are an anchor on the forward progress of an organization. Ah, but the shining star! They can be that beam of light that helps move the organization in the right direction. These stars are the “go-to” type of employees…the “game-changers.”

Clearly, Jack is correct. Hiring managers can only look like geniuses if they tend to hire the candidates who seem to be potential game-changers for their team/organization. Unfortunately, in what has become a sea of sameness, employers continue to struggle to find great/ideal candidates for their open positions.

Thus, the challenge for job seekers is to be seen as a shining star. Below are some tips as to how to go about doing so:

  1. Provide specific examples that clearly demonstrate that you have done what others were unwilling or unable to do—being that “go-to” person has significant value. Managers LOVE having that person on their team who is willing to learn to support/backup multiple functions, even when those duties are not included in his/her job description.
  2. Use metrics to substantiate your accomplishments, but be certain to also provide a context of comparison for such to quantify the degree of the accomplishment. For example, a candidate could state that he/she increased sales by 50% year-over-year. That sounds pretty impressive, unless all of the other members of the sales team increased their sales by at least 75%. But, if the candidate quantifies the 50% metric with something like, “which was the highest percentage increase in the company within the last 25 years”, well, now that’s impressive.
  3. Incorporate various awards, honors, and recognition into your resume, LinkedIn profile, networking dialog and answers to interview questions. Too often candidates list such awards on the bottom of the second page of their resumes. This assumes that the person reading that resume is actually going to read every word on every resume they are reviewing. NOT SO..! Most reviewers are scanning resumes in less than 30 seconds…unless the candidate gives that person a reason to continue reading or quickly makes up his/her mind that the resume in question should go into the “A” pile (i.e., the pile of resumes that made it through the first cut). Each bullet point on the candidate’s resume and in his/her LinkedIn profile, which speaks of accomplishments—along with recommendations on LinkedIn and testimonials by selected references, should always include some sort of quantifier such as an award or recognition of special performance.

This is how a job seeker pushes the bar higher for the other candidates, and can significantly improve the chance of being seen as the ideal candidate.

At one of our Ohio CareerConnect networking functions for job seekers, nationally known motivational speaker and sales/customer service trainer, Marvin Montgomery concluded his comments to those gathered by stating: “Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.”

Are you prepared and willing to get noticed and stand out from the crowd by swimming out to your “ship”?