Stand Out and Set Yourself Apart

29 10 2012

By: Barbara Benish (@NEWSPA)

Take the extra step. Run that extra mile. Do whatever it takes.

No matter how you phrase it, it’s clear that if you want to get a job or internship in today’s market, you need to stand out from the crowd.

But how do you do that? Well, that depends on you.

Spring 2012 alumna Patti Werner took that step when she applied to ModCloth last spring. “I found out about ModCloth in November 2010. I distinctively remember clicking on their Facebook ad, going to the website, and falling in love with it.”

Werner explains that she is a visual person, so she liked that the site was aesthetically pleasing. It was so pleasing that she constantly went back to visit the website and blog. The more she learned, the more she liked about the company.

So she started researching the company and learned that an internship was available for the summer. Coincidentally, the owner of Zimride, the business where her boyfriend was interning in California, knew the owner of ModCloth and agreed to hand Werner’s resume directly to the owners of the online clothing store.

But to make it even better, when she visited her boyfriend during spring break, ZimRide made arrangements that she could tour ModCloth. “Talk about crazy networking,” Werner said.

“All I had was graphic design posters, and they wanted writing samples, too,” Werner said. “So a friend and I came up with idea to copy their website and make it look like I was selling myself.”

That was just enough to get a response from ModCloth. In the end, she did not end up taking the internship at the online clothing store. The important thing is she got a response. She set herself apart from the competition.

She’s not the first to do that; and she certainly won’t be the last. The Internet is full of examples of recent graduates and seasoned professionals setting themselves apart. Here are some of my favorites:

  • SlideShare.net —Develop your own PowerPoint presentation, upload it to SlideShare.net and promote it through your networks and on your website. Slides can include information about your skills, projects you’ve completed, an endorsement from a manager, etc.
  • QR codes — Share a quick response (QR) code on your social networks to direct an employer back to your website.
  • Viral Videos or Develop a Video Resume to showcase your personality and skills to employers
  • Viral Video Resume

  • Pinterest Search “resume” on Pinterest and you’ll find thousands of hits.  You can pin pictures of the companies you’ve worked for, the school you’ve attended and places you’ve volunteered at.  This viral medium can provide a multi-dimensional representation and will set you far apart from the typical two-dimensional resume.

Example of “resume” Pinterest board collection

  • Be your own advertisement. When the 28-year-old copywriter Alec Brownstein wanted a new job, he did this using the tool Google Ad Words. He purchased his favorite creative directors’ names on Google Ad words assuming that they would Google themselves as often as the next person.  It turns out he was right. So anytime someone ran a search for one of those creative directors, this is what showed up on the screen: (Needless to say, he got job offers from two of those creative directors.)

“Hey, Gooogling [sic] yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too” alecbrownstein.com

So what are you waiting for?  It’s time for you to stand out from the crowd and land your dream job!

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