Savvy Jobseekers Jump Through Hoops to Stand Out in a Sea of Applications

As businesses begin to open back up, employers will be looking to staff up their empty workplaces, but the hiring landscape has drastically changed since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing jobseekers to get creative in how they stand out among the plethora of applicants.


Just a few months ago, jobseekers were in the driver’s seat and controlled who they wanted to work for, making employers jump through hoops to make themselves more desirable to these candidates. Now that the candidate-driven market is in the rearview mirror, it remains to be seen how this will impact employers’ attempts to attract jobseekers. But one thing is clear: Jobseekers need to make themselves stand out now that the unemployment rate is over 14%.

Jobseeker Branding

Recent survey findings from The Manifest reveal that jobseekers are using branding to make themselves stand out among their competition, just like employers did during the candidate-driven market. According to The Manifest, “Personal branding helps people distinguish themselves from others with similar interests, skills, or qualities.” For jobseekers focusing on their personal brands, they must remember that the key components for applying to a job are still vital.


The Manifest’s report found that 72% of employers say candidates’ résumés are very important to determining their readiness for a position. Jobseekers who have adopted a personal brand are able to use specific phrases in their résumés to help align their experience with the job they are seeking.


Another way jobseekers are using branding is in the “elevator pitch.” What was once a recruiter’s task is now in candidates’ court because the onus is on them to sell recruiters on why they should be hired. And employers appreciate the pitch! According to The Manifest, “Almost all employers (95%) say a personal statement or elevator pitch is important when evaluating a candidate.”


Jobseekers are also trying to improve their brand on social media. The Manifest finds that “almost all employers (90%) say social media is important when evaluating a candidate.” As jobseekers find ways to stand out, they are turning to social media to tell a story about their lives, but The Manifest cautions jobseekers to be careful in how much information they share.


“A polished and professional LinkedIn profile could appear incongruent with an Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account where you post about partying or illegal drugs,” says Kelsey McKeon, a Content Writer at The Manifest.


Recruiters and HR professionals may be familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) to get their job postings out to larger audiences, and jobseekers are now adopting this practice to make their names appear higher in search results. Candidates who want to improve their search engine results page are updating their LinkedIn profile by completing essential fields such as “Location” and “Company.” Jobseekers are also customizing their LinkedIn profile URLs to include first and last names. The Manifest suggests that jobseekers can also optimize other channels such as Twitter to appear in results pages more readily.


Finally, the truly dedicated jobseekers who want to stand out are creating a personal website to take the branding further. These websites feature candidates’ résumés, samples of their work, and other items that help tell their story. “It helps to think of a personal website as serving a similar function to an appropriate social media account,” says McKeon. “Personal websites showcase a candidate’s personality.” Additionally, these sites can help improve candidates’ SEO rankings and provide way more information to recruiters than just a standard one-page cover letter.

Interview Prep

Building up a brand to get noticed by recruiters is only half the battle for jobseekers; prepping for the interview is also extremely important. According to JDP, an overwhelming majority of Americans (93%) have experienced anxiety related to job interviews. But preparation is the best antidote for anxiety. So how exactly do jobseekers prepare?

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