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Stand Out in an Applicant Pool

Post Author Grace Halverson
Aug 10, 2020 9:22:30 AM
Career Tips
Personal Branding - How to Stand Out in an Applicant Pool

Nowadays, companies are relying more on networking sites or digital job boards. While these search engines allow you to be more specific with your job search, your application could be one of hundreds submitted. You are seeking more than a 9 to 5 job. You want a career where passion and hard work drives your success at a company that values your skill-set. But when you aren’t guaranteed an in-person interview to show off your charming personality or firm handshake, how do you stand out from the competition? Set yourself apart with personal branding.

Branding is a common topic in the marketing field. A company brand is the way a company is recognized and presents itself to the general public. However, you don’t need to be famous to recognize the importance of marketing yourself to a hiring manager or recruiter. Establishing your personal brand through the way you communicate your individual expertise will go a long way in humanizing your application. The passion and effort to communicate your value and individualism to a hiring manager is personal branding. Good personal branding can elevate your credibility and potential impact on your career leading to an established, influential reputation.

Think about the way you communicate as a lens. This lens guides recruiters to the best parts of yourself. The greatest attributes, relevant experiences, and values are the personal brand they should see through this lens as they review your:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Website
  • Questions
Cover Letter

A cover letter is your best opportunity to make a personalized connection with the recruiter. Treat the cover letter like a first impression and double-check your grammar, spelling, and company facts. In addition to your interest in the specific position, make sure you share some facts about yourself relevant to the company’s mission statement. A well-written cover letter can serve as the digital equivalent of a firm handshake and pique the interest of the recruiter.



The sub-header on a resume is the “hook” or opportunity to highlight your individualism and grab the attention of the resume reviewer. Beyond a job description and skills, think of yourself dynamically. Humanize yourself and to try to create a professional, emotional connection.

Review what you have written and make sure it is concise. Organize sections of the resume to make it easy for the recruiter to find the information they are looking for (e.g., education, relevant experience, skills, etc.). Compare the description of your work experience to the position you are interested in; are they relevant? Are your preferences and interests evident throughout your experiences, skills, and extras? If you were the hiring manager, could you get a good idea of your interests and qualifications simply by reading your resume?



If you have a website, online portfolio, LinkedIn profile, etc. that showcases your work, include it in your application. Past projects on a website can reveal your expert skills in areas like design, writing, or problem-solving. Before submitting a link, however, remove or limit the visibility of unrelated or inappropriate content. Ensure your website is polished and professional. Your choice in projects or images to showcase can reveal more of your personality and transform your name from simple text to a memorable person in the recruiter’s mind.



Sometimes online applications allow a space at the end for questions. Regardless of this option, it is a good idea to start preparing some questions for your future interview. Research the company to which you are applying and understand the job requirements. Think about your needs and long-term goals beyond “just getting a job”. Make sure the answers to your questions cannot be easily found on the company’s website or social media platforms.


Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the company’s mission statement align with your personal values?
  • Does your experience speak to the job’s requirements and the company’s needs?
  • Is the job culture an environment you can see yourself enjoying in the long run?


Suggested questions to ask the recruiter:

  • Does the company support career growth?
  • Is there room for career advancement within the position?
  • What is the expected daily dress code?
  • Find more suggested questions here.


If you can communicate your individualism through your application, you can establish your personal brand and set your application apart from the rest!

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