5 Alternative Ways to Set Yourself Apart in the Job Search

woman on job search

Pexels / Fairygodboss Staff

May 29, 2024 at 9:21PM UTC
Looking for a job sometimes forces you to think outside the box. After all, in a sea of job seekers, doing the unexpected can be what gets you noticed.
Sure, submitting tailored resumes to open jobs is going to be the bread and butter of your job search. But if you’re not getting the traction that you’d hoped, consider adding in some less conventional approaches to your job search plan.

How to Set Yourself Apart and Find a Job

1. Post an online ad.

Regardless of whether you’re considering Google or social media, the idea of putting an ad out for yourself can seem uncomfortable. However, with ad targeting, you might be able to get your profile in front of otherwise unreachable recruiters.
Using your chosen social media site’s templates, craft a short ad, along with a professional photo of yourself. Target users whose companies you would like to work for, and link your ad to your resume, LinkedIn profile, or online portfolio.
Keep in mind that the recruiter will most likely look at your online profile before contacting you. Ensure that your social media presence is professional or that it’s set to private. Once everything is set, try targeting a company rather than a career. This will help you convey your enthusiasm for that company, rather than simply needing a job.

2. Become an expert networker.

By nature, the idea of networking is about interacting with strangers. Instead of waiting for the monthly chamber of commerce meeting (although those shouldn’t be ignored), start joining LinkedIn groups related to your desired field. Ask thoughtful questions, and add relevant articles with well-written blurbs. Research members with more career tenure, and ask them for 20 minutes of their time.
Social media has made executives more accessible than ever. Find out who the hiring manager is and follow their social media accounts. Reach out and ask them networking questions, such as advice about getting started in the field, or what kind of employee is most successful. While executives are inevitably busy, many are willing to share their knowledge if they can see that you’re serious.

3. Create an online portfolio.

Online portfolios aren’t only for photographers. Think of an online portfolio as an in-depth extension to your resume. Remember, the goal is to get past the applicant tracking systems and get noticed. Having a personal website tailored to your desired field that showcases some of your accomplishments could have a tremendous impact.
If you have a specific company in mind, why not write some articles on your site about them? Do some in-depth research and create a case study on why they dominate the market segment. That is likely to impact a recruiter more than any standard resume would. If you recognize some of their pain points, write a solution post.

4. Start with temporary or contract-to-hire roles.

Sure, you want a full-time job, but getting your foot in the door first is what truly counts. So, consider looking for temporary jobs to begin working and earning a paycheck.
Companies may offer temporary employees first dibs at a job before posting the position online. And above all, take your job seriously—even though you’re a temp, act like you’re the newest full-time hire. Your confidence and knowledge of the company’s policies and practices could land you your next job.

5. Try freelance or part-time jobs.

Like contract-to-hire roles, freelance jobs also offer a whole world of opportunities. Some freelance jobs are very similar to their employee counterparts, yet other freelance jobs give immense control to the freelancer. Plus, many freelance jobs could lead to more permanent positions if you so choose.
Additionally, just as freelance jobs can lead to more permanent positions, part-time jobs sometimes open the door to full-time positions. If you aren’t looking for part-time work, you could always consider two different part-time jobs. Don’t forget that many part-time jobs also offer benefits!

6. Be flexible and open to alternatives.

Being creative will help you be proactive in managing your job search. And thinking outside of the box might help you land your dream job, regardless of whether you’re planning out a future job hunt or are currently in the middle of one.
As a bonus tip, don’t forget that the boom in remote work options means that you can, and should, consider roles outside of your geographical location.
This article was originally published in FlexJobs. FlexJobs is the leading career service specializing in flexible work, providing the largest database of vetted remote and flexible job listings. To support job seekers in all phases of their journey, FlexJobs offers a range of services including expert advice, job search events, and career coaching. FlexJobs also works with leading companies to recruit quality remote talent and optimize their remote and flexible workplace.

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