Embarking on a new job search can be a stressful, overwhelming experience. In order to secure the right position for yourself, you need to find a way to stand out from the hundreds of other applicants vying for the same opening. A great resume and cover letter are necessary starting points, but they are far from enough. Go the extra mile by deploying these strategies during your next job search:

1. Establish a Strong Personal Brand

Yes, the hiring manager wants to know your work history. Even more importantly, however, they want to know your story. What sectors of the industry are you passionate about? What do you stand for? What makes you different from all the other candidates for the position?

You have to figure out how to tell your story in a way that hits on the pain points the hiring manager is looking to solve. The goal is to show the employer why you’re the one who can solve the organization’s unique problems. Make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, as well as a professional website showcasing a portfolio of your previous work. These will be crucial channels through which to quickly convey to a hiring manager how you can use your personal strengths for the business’s benefit.

2. Stay on the Cutting Edge of Your Industry

Establishing a personal brand is about figuring out who you are, but to stay ahead of the competition, you also need to understand the ins and outs of your industry. This requires putting in the work to become an expert in your field. You should know everything about where the industry is today and where it is headed in the future. Where is your industry going, and what steps are you taking to prepare yourself for the inevitable evolution of your field?

It’s critical to show hiring managers that you’re willing to learn new skills in your industry. You should be constantly researching trends and educating yourself on new developments. Attend educational industry events to not only keep tabs on your field, but also meet likeminded people who can serve as teachers and mentors.

3. A Good Attitude Goes a Long Way

A positive attitude is what separates the successful from the mediocre. Maintaining an open mind, putting yourself forward, and learning from your mistakes are all qualities that help you position yourself for success. Make sure you highlight these qualities in your cover letter, and be prepared with anecdotes that showcase these qualities during the interview.

One easy way to show hiring managers your positive attitude is to be thankful. Take a quick minute to thank them for their time after an interview. Regardless of whether or not you get the job, you’ll make a great impression on them, which can lead to further opportunities in the future. Also, be respectful of your hiring manager’s time. Don’t be late for the interview, respond to their messages quickly, and listen careful to what they have to say.

4. Network, Network, Network

It may sound like simple advice, but the best way to start networking is to connect directly with hiring managers in your industry, even those who aren’t hiring at the moment. You never know when your dream role is going to become available, and you want to make sure you are top of mind when it does.

You cannot take from an industry without giving back to it. If all your networking activity is about asking for jobs or advice, you’ll stand out in all the wrong ways. People will see you as someone who is concerned only with their own career and success.

Instead, you should be contributing as much to the industry as you are getting from others. Provide advice when you can. Share your expertise in blog posts and other content. Volunteer at an event, or teach a seminar. If you want your professional connections to support and guide you as you strive to reach your career goals, you need to do the same for them.

Glenn Laumeister is the CEO of AllWork, a talent-matching platform for brands and retailers.

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