Looking for work can be exhausting and frustrating since it rarely happens to land a job after 2 or 3 interviews. While there are some fields where potential employees are being hunted like no other, most people struggle with finding a job that’s up to their potential. Rejection can be tough to handle, especially when it’s the 5th negative answer or silent treatment you receive.

Sure, beginnings are always scary and hard, but you deserve a job and you know you deserve a good one. After all, you are smart, capable, intuitive and resourceful. So why aren’t you getting those calls you expected from companies you look up to? Why don’t recruiters in your field understand the value you would bring to each and every one of those companies?

While the interviewing and hiring process might be a little flawed and biased, especially since most companies have the HR department look through CVs to find 5 potential software programmers to interview, you can’t blame it all on them. Here are a few things you should keep in mind while job hunting to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

Creating a Top-Notch Application

We can’t overstate how important your résumé is and how many candidates get it so wrong. In most cases, it’s the first contact your employer has with your persona, so a well-written, on-point CV is crucial. You can find a great and comprehensive article about how to write a solid résumé here. Now, for the creative part:

Use a custom template that will not burden the CV with useless information, but one that will stand out mostly through its simplicity and creativity. Make good use of columns and don’t be afraid to praise yourself.

Acknowledge your potential and show off. If you know you’re good at what you do, make them realize it too. Include every relevant piece of information and experience and present it in an attractive manner.

Also, don’t be afraid to talk about your personal interests. Volunteering, hobbies or passions will give employers a general idea about your personality and they will relate to you one way or another, even though they never met you.

Working on Your Personal Branding

The bad news is, whether you like it or not, nowadays employers will look you up online. Since most people can’t or don’t want to stay away from the internet, they are bound to find something, anything about you on social networks. Now, for the good news: it’s up to you to control what they find. Sure, you can’t delete anything from the internet: once it’s up there, it stays up there; but you can adjust what they see. Sure, Social Sweepster does a great job at cleaning up your online profiles, but it’s far from being 100% efficient.

For example, let’s say Spring Break 2008 was the most fun you’ve had since you left your high school friends and went to college. Good music, unhealthy amounts of alcohol and who knows what else, topped with some digital cameras and tagging or captioning in online photos. This is how a nightmare for young adult, looking-for-work-you is born since few companies will take you seriously.

Now, if these are the only things they find about you, your fate is doomed. But what happens if, instead of this, the first result is a blog where you talk about how to become better and more efficient at writing, selling, or programming? Something like this would drastically improve your chances of getting hired while also reducing the chances of them trying to find anything else. And even if they do, seeing how passionate you are about your work, they’ll probably just brush it off.

Harnessing Your Investigative Skills

You should always research your potential employer online before interviewing or even applying for a job. Firstly, this will give you an idea about their general activity and attitude towards clients and financial gain, and maybe a little something about the way they’re organized and how they treat their employees. Secondly, it pays off to know something about your employer and not blurt out silly things like “oh, so you’re a GROUP of companies… I see”.

But you can do better than that. Go through every useful information you can find about them online, from user testimonies (the real ones, not the ones from their website that are written by the marketing team) to quarterly reports, their YouTube channel or their blog. These will help you have an overview of their prospects and their goals and will lead to a detailed and challenging conversation that will not be easily forgotten.

Of course, research should not only be limited to the company itself. If you’re applying for a job that’s new for you although you do have the required experience and you are familiar with the field, always look up the job description. This will give you critical information about what you might do there, how a typical day would go and what departments you would be interacting with. Here is an example of the type of job description you should be looking for: detailed, while on-point.

Having a Memorable Interview

It has been proven that the best time to interview for a job is Tuesday morning. Although it might seem weird, Tuesday is most people’s favorite (or least disliked) workday. It’s at the start of the week so most interviewers are still relaxed and yet it’s not the first day of work when most people readjust from leisure to professional environments. In addition, interviewing early in the day will generally ensure your interviewer is not distracted by other factors like deadlines.

While you are waiting, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your potential colleagues. This will at least diminish, if not eliminate the social barrier and will show your employer that you would be a great fit in their team not only thanks to your abilities and experience, but also thanks to your social skills.

During the interview, be as direct as possible and don’t try to avoid questions that make you feel anxious or insecure and never, under any circumstances, directly lie stating you are familiar with something you have never heard of before. Nevertheless, you should be selective with the language you use and replace “I hate talking to customers on the phone” with “I feel like I get the point across much better in writing”, for example.

Make good use of your body language. Be sure to have good, confident posture and avoid any habits that could give away your nervousness, like fidgety fingers, biting your lip or playing with your hair.

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Maybe their online marketing team is doing a bad job, they’re not customer oriented or disorganized. Every interviewer will sooner or later ask what you would add or change if selected, and they expect actual honest answers. Sure, you must carefully choose your words and avoid terms like “firing” or “letting go”, but do speak your mind about what you think is wrong or could be improved.

No matter what job you’re trying to land or what field you work in, if you closely follow these few steps you are all set for success. Your résumé is flawless, your online persona is someone every recruiter would hire and you have figured out what the next step is. Keeping all this in mind, chances are you will be good at every job you interview for since you selected them carefully; they have all the reasons to want you, it’s you who will have to think about it and choose between the offers.

Good luck!