Securing a job can be difficult, but implementing the right tactics can make it easier. Depending on the job market and how often you submit applications, a job search can last a few months or take a year or more. Differentiating yourself in the job market means that your resume stands out from hundreds of other applicants for the job you want. Plus, standing out can help reduce the time it takes to find a new job.
SHRM online reached out to members of the Society for Human Resource Management‘s (SHRM) Emerging Professionals Advisory Council (EPAC) for advice on how they stood out from other HR candidates in their job search.
WILLIAM SPENCER III, SHRM-CP, has worked full-time in human resources since August 2019. He is currently a human resources business partner at Innovative Defense Technologies (IDT), a federal defense contractor specializing in breakthrough warfare capabilities. His role covers various human resources functions including talent development, onboarding and departure, compliance and employee relations.
Spencer participated in several HR internships as a student at the University of Tennessee, including two at IDT.
“As students and emerging professionals, differentiation is key to ensuring long-term career success,” he said. “Securing an internship while studying goes a long way towards this. Internships are a great way to gain professional experience and learn HR best practices. have graduated.”
Here’s how Spencer encourages all students to leverage their experiences and stand out in a large pool of applicants:
- Participate in internships.
- Get involved in a college or professional SHRM chapter.
- Take stretching assignments at school and at work.
- Obtain SHRM-CP credentials.
- Look for a mentor who will help you in your professional development.
“Many students who don’t take full advantage of the resources available to them during college fail to differentiate themselves in this area,” he said. “Getting involved on campus is one of the best ways to get an internship and [make] valuable links with professional organizations.
ALEXANDRA CAFFERTY, SHRM-CP, has worked in human resources since 2019. She is currently a human resources analyst at Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, a company that develops, owns and operates large-scale renewable and energy assets. Cafferty also participated in several HR internships and held HR-related office coordinator positions before landing her first full-time job.
To make job seekers stand out, she encourages them to:
- Use LinkedIn Learning or other online learning sites to take a course in a specific area of HR where you need more experience.
- Continue your HR education by earning a master’s degree in HR or taking specialized HR certification courses.
- Give back to the community by offering to edit the resumes of local high school and college students.
- Take a leadership role with your local SHRM chapter.
- Ask a peer, mentor, or teacher to review your resume.
- Add more details to your resume. A company may be looking for a recruiter who has experience with a specific Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Adding the name of that particular ATS to your resume boosts your chances of being considered for the position.
- Include HR-related keywords. Review a job description and highlight any you may have missed.
“On my resume, I’ve added all of my involvement in the HR community to show my commitment to the HR profession outside of work,” Cafferty said. “I’ve included awards and scholarships, my leadership roles in the HR section, HR certifications, and courses I took for my Masters in Strategic Human Resource Management.”