With the national unemployment rate reaching 9.8% in September, competition in the job market feels fiercer than high school cheerleading tryouts. With all that opposition, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. But, standing too far out can be risky business. So, before you resort to a showy song and dance routine (unless of course your next interview is on Broadway, in which case, break a leg) or any of these three job search tactics, make sure you weigh the risks so you don’t set yourself too far apart in your next interview and risk losing the job.
1. The unconventional résumé. Non-traditional résumés like website portfolios, podcasts and video résumés might be the wave of the future, but not every business or industry is suited for them. So, whatever résumé form you choose to submit, make sure it’s smart, relevant, and effective with your industry and audience when you interview. If you do use an unconventional résumé, consider pairing it with a traditional one for more conservative fields.
2. The statement wardrobe choice. First impressions are made within three to five seconds, so what you wear says a lot about who you are. A Lady Gaga-sense of style may win you rave reviews at fashion week, but professional dress is more appropriate for most interviews (unless you’re applying for a job as a stylist). While you should always be yourself, be a toned-down version of you in the interview, especially if you’re the type to rock fuchsia pumps or a yellow bow tie. Before your interview, learn about the company culture and atmosphere to determine how you should dress.
3. The overly confident boaster. Confidence allows potential employers to see your ability, enthusiasm, and drive. It’s important to present your past experiences and accomplishments with assurance. But, when you discuss your successes and achievements, be sure to give specific and quantifiable examples. And, back your examples with solid references who will do the talking for you. You run the risk of seeming pretentious and arrogant if you give only vague statements of your triumphs.
When you’re looking for a job, consider each risk carefully. Of course you need to stand out, but in the right way. Be brave by being you in a way that demonstrates your skills, attitude, and character. A sincere job applicant can be the diamond in the rough that employers are looking for.