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How to stand out in a noisy market (2/2)


Not long ago, we had the privilege of engaging in deep conversations with Victor Gowrava, Mirco Hellekes, and Christina Schlaeger. Our focus was on how individuals seeking employment can distinguish themselves in today's fiercely competitive job market. Now it is time to share part 2 of the series, featuring the exceptionally talented Joanna Sinicka (Auto1), Oliver Langsteiner (CGI) and Michał Szafraniec.


Similar to the initial instalment, we had the opportunity to sit down with all three guests. Our aim was to delve into their perspectives on the current job market and to discover specific actions that they would recommend for standing out amidst the prevalent competition that job seekers face today.


While several points from our conversations overlapped with those covered in Part 1, Joanna, Oliver and Michał provided additional insights that you can readily learn from and, more importantly, put into practice today.


We extend our gratitude to all three guests for their valuable contributions to this discussion, and of course, a big thank you goes out to all our readers for their continued support.



Preparation and Relevance


Do you have a clear understanding of your specific objectives for your upcoming job search? Are you mentally prepared to navigate the job search process? Have you meticulously crafted your resume with the right keywords, compelling examples, and a well-structured format to ensure it flows smoothly? Have you incorporated a summary that provides a glimpse into your qualifications? Have you allowed yourself the flexibility to swiftly customise each resume based on the job requirements?


These are all inquiries you should regularly pose to yourself, as advised by our three featured experts.


Preparation and relevance extend beyond just resume writing; it encompasses the entire job search journey, from the initial idea of embarking on a job search to ultimately accepting a job offer, as Michał pointed out.


Gaining clarity on your true aspirations and narrowing your focus within a specific scope will enable you to make a more profound impact on your job applications. This doesn't mean you have to confine yourself to specific job roles within that scope, but having a target industry, for instance, can guide your selection of examples to highlight in your resume.


Joanna, in line with numerous other Talent Acquisition specialists we've interviewed, advises adapting your resume to align with job postings. This entails thoroughly reading the job specifications and comprehending the hiring company's needs. She encourages a reflective exercise where you assess whether you can perform the tasks outlined in the job description and to what extent. Any skills you may currently lack can serve as a basis for crafting a career roadmap, simplifying future job searches.


Furthermore, Joanna emphasised the importance of assessing where the hiring company stands in its life cycle as a team. Indicators such as team size, departmental structure, and funding availability can all offer insights into their flexibility within the specified job requirements. A larger team might be more forgiving of missing skills, whereas a smaller team may not be as accommodating. Understanding this dynamic allows you to fine-tune your resume summary or cover letter, as Oliver pointed out, and proactively address questions the hiring team may already have in mind, streamlining the application process.



Utilise Social Media Profiles Effectively


There seems to be a prevailing notion within the tech industry that having a LinkedIn profile removes the need for a traditional resume.


However, this assumption is far from accurate.


A resume is your formal document, and while it may encompass certain aspects of your LinkedIn profile (or other social media profiles), it should offer deeper insights, greater value, and a more structured presentation.


LinkedIn, and similar platforms, serve as social hubs where you can showcase your personality, share posts, engage in discussions, like, comment, and follow groups.


As Oliver highlighted, leveraging social media profiles, whether it's LinkedIn, Xing, Dribbble, or any specialised tool within your field, is crucial in today's professional landscape.


Not only do these profiles allow hiring teams to gain a preliminary understanding of you as a candidate before any actual conversations, but they also make you discoverable, provided they are regularly updated and maintained.


Regrettably, many individuals in the tech industry receive irrelevant messages from recruiters. Often, this stems from having outdated profiles that fail to accurately reflect their current skills and expertise.


If your profile is unclear about your skills and experience, you run the risk of missing out on opportunities that align perfectly with your career aspirations.


The key is to keep your social media profiles up to date, actively maintain them, inject elements of your personality, actively contribute to relevant groups, and become an advocate within your niche. Over time, this proactive approach will set you apart in the job market and make the job search process significantly smoother.



Asking Thoughtful Questions


By now, it's common knowledge that asking questions during an interview is crucial. However, many individuals still struggle in this area.


Oliver and Joanna advocate for a more insightful approach when seeking a new job. Rather than sticking to generic, surface-level questions, they recommend delving deeper to unearth valuable information. This not only aids in making an informed decision later in the process, especially when you have multiple offers, but it also makes the subsequent stages smoother.


The initial meetings should focus on asking in-depth questions to uncover potential challenges within the company. The more you understand where your expertise can contribute, particularly during the first technical discussion, the better you can tailor your experiences and examples to address the company's issues in later, more comprehensive rounds.


Effective questions should be characterised by thoughtfulness, considering what you don't know and what you need to know. Let this guide you through each round, adapting to the individual's role and experience within the organization.



Be Unique


Standing out in a competitive process can be a daunting task, especially when you're aware that your profile resembles others', and it becomes even more challenging if you've experienced a layoff and are competing directly with your peers.


However, it's essential to set yourself apart, not only by showcasing your unique skills but also by presenting yourself in a memorable manner.


We've previously explored how leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn can significantly enhance your discoverability. Still, Oliver emphasised that job seekers shouldn't limit themselves to this approach; there's room for even greater uniqueness.


He cited an example of someone who created a personal website resembling LinkedIn but with more interactivity. This website not only displayed their technical skills but also showcased them in action, even revealing the source code.


Other experts we've spoken to also recommend sharing personal projects, open-source samples, or other work that you can freely exhibit alongside your application. This approach helps the hiring team connect the dots and determine if you might be the candidate they're seeking.


So, let your creativity shine; the more innovative you are, the more likely others will take notice, resulting in increased exposure and potential opportunities coming your way.



Selective Application


One effective way to avoid getting lost in the crowd is to avoid sending out standardised resumes indiscriminately, without considering who will be reviewing them.


Our guests have all suggested the rashness of such a haphazard approach to job applications, a problem that has persisted and even worsened in the current job market. The key message here is to bring to light purposeful applications, linking back to the importance of preparation.


It's crucial to have a clear understanding of what you're looking for and to apply for roles that align with your skills and preferences.


Regardless of where you are in your job search journey, it's advisable to start tracking your applications if you haven't already. Michał pointed out that this practice serves as more than just a record of sent applications. It also helps you monitor responses, response times, and the feedback you receive. With this data, you can make informed adjustments to your resume (if you don't receive CV feedback) and your interview style (if you are rejected at the interview stage), among other things.


Tracking applications also enables you to be selective in sharing your resume. It's far more beneficial to share it with 20 companies that genuinely excite you, even if you face rejection from 90% of them, than to blanket your resume to 100 companies. This approach not only reduces the number of rejections but also alleviates the mental strain associated with receiving numerous rejections.


Humanising the Process


Oliver strongly recommends prioritising human connections and motivations whenever possible. In every hiring process, treat the other person as an equal, display genuine interest, and aim for in-depth conversations.


Instead of labelling them as 'interviews,' redefine them as 'professional discussions,' and approach them with this mindset.


The sooner you shift your mentality toward these conversations, the faster you'll adapt to a more humane and less anxiety-inducing process. This shift will enable you to concentrate on identifying roles that align with your long-term goals and also help you see those that are not matching quicker, helping everyone minimise wasted time.



Our firm conviction is that everyone harbours a desire for self-improvement. With each article featuring insightful guests such as Joanna, Oliver, and Michał, our goal is for you to extract actionable insights, even if it's just one, which you can apply and ideally witness a positive impact.


As always, feel free to share this with someone else in your network if you believe they could benefit from these learns so we can collectively bring simplicity to the chaos of recruitment.



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