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What Differentiates one Candidate from another in Today’s Competitive Market?

over 1 year ago by Luigi Muscat Filletti
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Grabbing the attention of the employer in a positive way in today’s highly competitive job market seems to be more intimidating than it used to be. Although there might be a call for talent for particular roles, the competition for landing that job might be overwhelming, especially when supply satisfies demand. Regardless of demand however, and whether one is a recent graduate or has been working in their field for a number of years, there are several ways through which one can differentiate themselves from their competitors and stand out from the crowd during the recruitment process. Below are a list of factors which can increase your chances of acquiring the job - it’s more than just having the top qualifications!

First and Foremost, the CV & Cover Letter

Putting together a CV is usually a task which is taken for granted - one may think that a CV should serve the purpose of displaying one’s educational and work-experience background, however it is much more than just that! Similarly is the cover letter, which is often left forgotten. Enhancing one’s CV and tailoring their cover letter is a must for all candidates to really distinguish themselves amongst their competitors on the job market. If composed in a meaningful way, a cover letter can form a great first impression in the mind of the employer right before they view your CV. Serving as a brief personal introduction, the cover letter should communicate one’s view on the company they are applying for and how they feel the company can benefit from their skills and expertise. This formal introduction serves as a foundation for any interview which may follow, therefore making it a vital first step in one’s recruitment process.

Relevant Hard Skills

It goes without saying that a candidate must first satisfy the required hard skills for the job. The necessary technical skills will mean that the individual will be able to carry out their tasks effectively, meaning that this will determine whether a candidate will be shortlisted or not. Beyond that, additional skills would be taken into consideration - in the case of professionals in technology, candidates who possess skills in other programming languages, have extra experience working in other technological fields or teams, and have certifications in other areas of technology might be considered further. The tendency in Tech careers at the moment is inclined towards being knowledgeable about cloud-computing and cutting-edge software development technologies. Similarly, individuals looking to progress their careers in banking and finance will be differentiated based on their knowledge and experience on the new banking and Fintech technologies being used throughout the industry.

Top Communication Skills

Ultimately, when candidates possess the required qualifications and experience for a job, and additional hard skills are taken into consideration, the decision-making process comes down to having the right soft skills, which are usually displayed during the job interview.

Perhaps the ultimate soft skill gap, having excellent people skills proves greatly beneficial for the candidate during the interviewing stages of the recruitment process. Being able to converse with your potential employer in a confident and composed manner certainly helps form a great impression. Communicating effectively will demonstrate an ability to deal with people on a professional level, and being able to handle discussions well is a trait which is valued by employers as this will indicate one’s capacity to communicate well with colleagues.

Therefore, showcasing interpersonal skills during a job interview is important as employers seek individuals who are able to collaborate and interact with clients, customers and colleagues in a productive way which will enhance the image of the organisation. Moreover, resonating a positive energy at a job interview would hint that the same positivity would be displayed at the workplace - small gestures such as smiling, frequent and meaningful eye-contact, a firm hand-shake, a good, up-right posture, an affirmative tone of voice and a grateful attitude go a long way in displaying a desirable character to have in the office.

Furthermore, employers are demanding candidates to be more proactive and have a sense of ownership - with new schemes in place promoting flexible working and remote working, employers want to make sure that employees complete their tasks on time and maintain a consistent and reliable mode of working.

Good communication skills help one make career advancements and assist them in other pivotal areas such as leadership, team-playing and problem-solving. Leadership skills come about through the ability to display loyalty, trust and confidence amongst one’s peers through good communication. Employers value leadership skills since an individual who possesses them will be likely to oversee projects, motivate a team and generate innovative ideas to ensure tasks are completed and results met and exceeded. Such a skill is important because by time, can help one achieve a managerial role within the company, a long-term goal which is highly favoured by employers looking to secure talent for the long-term.

Displaying Passion and Purpose

Today’s recruitment market has become very candidate-driven, with many individuals  only considering a job change for greater financial and stability reasons, other than career progression and bringing a greater sense of value to a company. That being said, candidates who stick out from the crowd are those who display the right motivations such as drive and ambition to succeed. Having a confident and established work-ethic helps differentiate a candidate from the rest, and employers want to recruit talent which works hard and for a purpose. It is therefore of high importance for a candidate to communicate their ambitions and purpose during the interviewing stage of the recruitment process, as this will be the perfect opportunity to promote one’s goals and show how they can pass on value through their expertise. Employers also highly-value candidates who are results-oriented and have the right stories to share to prove so - talking about what the candidate has achieved in their previous jobs, what they have accomplished, what they are most proud of, as well as what they have learned are all but a few key ways of expressing their career growth so far.

To Conclude

It comes to show how proactive and well-prepared, talented individuals can differentiate themselves and become the most distinguished figures in the search for talent. By taking into consideration what the employer is looking for and matching those requirements to one’s own skills and attributes, any candidate can present the best version of themselves in the eyes of the employer.