How To Be a Compelling Job Candidate (With Steps To Follow)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 11, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When looking for jobs, it's always be helpful to try to make yourself appear compelling as a candidate. This is because employers might be more likely to hire someone who compels them to pay attention to their application and interview than someone they might not remember as clearly. If you're in the process of finding a new job, you might benefit from learning how to make yourself a more compelling job candidate. In this article, we consider what can make someone a compelling candidate and explore how to make yourself more compelling.

Related: How To Write a Compelling About Me Page

What makes a job candidate compelling?

There are many characteristics that can help to make a job candidate compelling to employers. Being compelling means being able to easily attract and hold someone's attention, which can be especially valuable for candidates who apply for jobs that have a lot of competition. For example, a compelling job candidate might have a particular technical skill that most other candidates don't. Another quality that can make a candidate compelling is the ability to perform a specific function that can benefit an employer, such as having a personal connection to another company they might want to do business with.

Related: Top 11 Skills Employers Look For in Candidates

How to be a more compelling job candidate

Here are some steps you can use to become more compelling as a job candidate:

1. Consider your unique characteristics

One of the first steps in becoming a more compelling job candidate can be to consider what aspects of your character might make you compelling. This can help you identify the characteristics that might stand out to employers in an application or interview and distinguish you from other candidates who apply for the same jobs.

When thinking about which of your characteristics might be most compelling, you can consider what your greatest strengths are and how your abilities can benefit a potential employer. For example, if you want to find a job in computer programming, you might highlight your ability to use advanced programming languages.

2. Write a targeted resume

Creating a targeted resume can be a great way to ensure that your job application relates directly to the job you want to secure. Having a targeted resume can also help to make you compelling because it might stand out among other resumes as especially relevant to the job listing.

To write a targeted resume, you can review the description or listing for the job you want and note any important qualifications, such as key skills or previous experience in a particular task or process. Then, you can determine which aspects of your own expertise match these details closest and highlight those in your resume. For example, if a job listing asks for strong communication skills, you might put communication at the top of your resume's skills section.

Read more: How To Create Targeted Resumes

3. Draft a personalized cover letter

Similar to a targeted resume, a personalized cover letter can help to relate your personality and experiences directly to the job you want. This can make you a more compelling candidate by offering insight into who you are as an employee and showing how you can be a great fit for a particular company.

You can also use parts of a personalized cover letter to appeal directly to the hiring manager, which might help them remember you more clearly than other candidates. For example, you might explain how you can benefit them directly or how you intend to add value to the company in ways that make you unique.

4. Establish your brand

Building your personal brand can make you a more compelling candidate by giving potential employers and recruiters ways to learn about you before they even invite you for an interview. This is because many recruiters and hiring managers research candidates before asking them to interview, especially for positions that are high level or involve customer-facing work, to ensure any candidate they hire can represent their business effectively. To establish your personal brand, you can edit your profiles on social media to match your persona and to highlight compelling aspects of your expertise and interests.

Read more: 8 Steps To Find Your Personal Brand

5. Make industry connections

Having industry connections to use as references can be another way to make you more compelling as a job candidate, especially when you have people in your network whom a potential employer might already know. This is because an employer might be quicker to notice references with names they recognize.

To find connections that can make you more compelling, you can reach out to professionals you're already familiar with in the industry you want to work in or conduct research on who might be a good connection to have. You can also attend networking events and conferences, depending on your field.

6. Reach out to potential employers

Once you prepare your application materials and brand and decide which connections you might use as references, you can start reaching out to companies that you want to work for about open positions. This can be an effective method of showing potential employers that you're proactive, and it might even encourage them to offer you an interview.

Reaching out directly to employers can make you compelling by identifying you as someone who is dedicated enough to the field to inquire with them directly. To reach out to potential employers, you can send a personalized email or make a phone call directly to the hiring manager or supervisor.

7. Send a thank you note

Sending a thank you note after a conversation or interview can also help to make you a compelling candidate. This is because it can add a personal touch to your application process and increase your chances that a hiring manager might remember you by providing another piece of writing that showcases your personality and interest in the field. Writing a thank you note can also set you apart from other candidates who don't, which is another way to compel potential employers to hire you over someone else.

You can send a thank you note through email or through the post office, as long as the content of the note explains that you're thankful for the opportunity to meet and look forward to hearing from someone soon about the job.

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