So often, the difference between candidates is a razor thin margin. The final candidates from the talent pool available will have similar education and experience backgrounds. Usually, the phone and in-person interview(s) serve to separate the candidates, where a single individual will surface as the person to make the offer to. This is not always the case, however, as sometimes a Hiring Manager will make a staffing selection based on other intangible factors, such as the perceived overall reputation of the candidate.

For this exercise, we are broadly going to define “reputation” as other items that a Hiring Manager might consider in order to determine what type of person you are. This may include your standing in the field along with how you may fit with the organization. There are several area to consider that can give your reputation a boost and, therefore, a competitive advantage. Let’s now outline some of these items for you to review.

  • Volunteering/Charitable Efforts: While donating goods and/or money is a noble gesture, it is the donating of your time that can most attract the attention of the Hiring Manager and boost your reputation. Just like employers themselves are placing a greater emphasis on social responsibility, they are also noticing the efforts of candidates in this area of giving back to the community. Be sure to note on your resume, the charitable organizations that you are most involved in. Interviewers, in the past, rarely would note the charitable activities during the discussion. That has now changed, so be prepared to explain the type of volunteer work that you do and perhaps why this charity is so important to you. One area of caution, however, is that if there is any controversy that may be attached to the group you volunteer with, you may want to omit it for the purposes of your job search.
  • Social Media Presence: Depending on the position, a Hiring Manager may check your professional social media presence to see how active you are, what you post, and perhaps even your connections. Typically, the higher the position, the more likely your social media presence may be considered. In order to boost your reputation, try connecting with others in your field or industry, and occasionally post something you feel would be relevant to your connections. Be sure to keep it work related and acceptable for all viewers.
  • General Network: Who do you know that could possibly have a connection to this open position? It could be someone currently employed with the company you are speaking with, or the person may be someone that knows the Hiring Manager from a past association. This familiarity is entirely possible in a close-knit area like Western New York. Please make sure your network is aware of your job search and with whom you are speaking. They may even be able to tell you inside information about the organization, or let you know of someone they know in the company and how you can connect with them.
  • Sell on Your Resume: A resume is more than a document that provides a list of your jobs and education. It should be written in a way where each of your positions come alive with the written word highlighting your accomplishments. As the reader reviews your resume, what you have written should build upon your reputation and differentiate you from being someone who just did something to someone who did it very well. Particular focus should be placed on “wins” that saved the company money or drove revenue generation.
  • Your Referrals: Your final opportunity to differentiate yourself comes when your prospective employer calls your referrals. This should be one of your best opportunities to boost your reputation since, in most situations, you select the individuals who will be providing the referral. The participants should be coached by you on what you expect them to be asked and how you want them to answer it. Of course, they should be doing their best to sell your candidacy and boost your reputation with the Hiring Manager.

There is rightfully an emphasis on education, experience, skill set, and interview skills when evaluating a pool of candidates. The overall reputation of a person can also be a key differentiator, so a Job Seeker should consider what ways they can highlight their positive attributes and standing. It just may help you land the position you have been seeking.

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein

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