How to Make Yourself a More Attractive Job Candidate

Posted by Patrick O’Neill on 

If you’ve recently hit the job market – or if you’ve been there for a while – then you’re quickly finding out how competitive it can be. As an IT staffing company, we know – we speak to job seekers every day. So every day we’re asked by these same job seekers what can be done to make themselves a more attractive candidate. StandoutThankfully, there are many different things you can do in this respect, but we’ve come up with a handful that should be fairly easy to implement. So without further ado, here are five ways to make yourself a more attractive job candidate.

Perfect Your Resume – In most cases, your resume is going to be your first contact with the prospective employer. So in many ways it will be the first impression that you make on them. Keeping this is mind it’s important to remember, first impressions can make for lasting impressions. Your resume will need to come across as clear and concise. Thankfully, a couple months back, we posted a blog that gives resume advice to help get you noticed.

Get Certified – Professional certifications are a great way to further your career. Not only are they a great way to finesse your technical skills but they also prove to employers that you have the precise skills needed to succeed. Most roles don’t require a professional certification so there are many who don’t pursue them. But in a pool of candidates, the professionally certified ones are sure to stand out.

Take a Class – Furthering your education impresses on employers your drive for knowledge. Nobody wants to higher an employee that’s only in it for the paycheck. Taking a class will help to disprove that notion. And not only that but it can be especially helpful if it teaches you a new skill – which is of course the aim. IT is always changing, updating, inventing and innovating. Picking up on new technology that’s being used in your field can only help to make you that much more attractive as a candidate.

Join a Professional Organization – There are countless organizations for every field in IT. Join them and get active within it. Organize events and become a player in your local community. Not only will this look great on your resume but it will make it easier to keep up-to-date on industry news and could lead to some very valuable connections! If you don’t know where to start a great resource for finding them is LinkedIn.

Provide Stellar References – A professional reference is a recommendation from a person who can vouch for your qualifications for a job. A great recommendation proves that you’re a safe bet. While many employers check these after they’ve already met and interviewed you, you can still ask a colleague for a short version of a reference that you can place on your LinkedIn profile. Having a long list of skills and endorsements – something LinkedIn promotes and makes easy to obtain – can also help to attract attention and soothe any employer concerns.

So while pinning down a job may come with many trials and tribulations, following these tips can certainly help your appeal.

Working with a Recruiter – 15 Tips for Success

Please read the following pointers on how to get the most out of working with the VET Recruiter and how to help us find the best job opportunity for YOU.

Send A Resume

When you contact or are contacted by a recruiter, send a resume and other requested information, even if you make it clear that you are not interested in a current opportunity. Having your resume on file will make it more likely that the recruiter will call you again. If there are special circumstances surrounding your job search, tell your recruiter. These professionals deal with hundreds of applicants and understand discretion. If you are seriously interested in getting a new job, you shouldn’t be afraid to send out your resume. After all, the whole point of using a recruiter is to gain access to opportunities you would miss on your own.

Tell the Truth

Don’t EVER pad information or lie on your resume, on the phone, or in an interview. All recruiters have a universal loathing of candidates who lie, and they all have friends in the recruiting business – you may need their help in the future. Don’t burn your bridges by purposely misleading or lying. Besides, you might be risking your career as well. It’s not worth it.

Make Up Your Mind

Be sure you have discussed your job search with your spouse, partner or significant other. Decide which areas of the country you would be willing to consider. Be open to change, and don’t limit yourself unnecessarily unless there are significant reasons restricting your relocation. Other factors such as pay expectations, job title/responsibilities, and industry type should also be firmed up. Nothing is more aggravating to a recruiter than to have a candidate back out of a position because they changed their mind on one or more of these crucial points at the last minute. Make up your mind and stick to it. If something changes with your situation, inform your recruiter right away-don’t wait!.

Keep it to Yourself

It is in your best interests to respect the confidentiality of information shared with you by a recruiter. Candidates and client companies depend on a recruiter’s ability to keep secrets. If a recruiter calls you, don’t expect to be told how they got your name. Don’t be offended if you are not told all of the details about a potential position. You will be given information on an as-needed basis, and you will be expected to keep it to yourself. Your friends and family may ask you about your job search, so please be careful what you tell them. It is especially important not to share details about compensation and other sensitive matters with anyone except your recruiter and your spouse, both of whom need to be informed and should respect your confidence.

Stay In Touch

Occasionally call and/or send resume updates so that the recruiter is aware of your continuing interest, current salary, etc. This does not mean daily calls and a flood of paper. Be polite and be reasonable. Your placement is important, but it takes time.

Help Your Recruiter

If a recruiter calls you about a position that is not right for you, be kind enough to pass along the names of potential candidates or individuals who might know potential candidates. Your participation will be kept confidential and you will be remembered when the appropriate opportunity for you comes along.


Don’t be afraid to share personal information with your recruiter. Knowing what is important to you helps us to find you a suitable combination of position, company, and location.

Call Promptly

When your interview or phone screen is over, call your recruiter as soon as possible to discuss the day’s events and your feelings about them while everything is fresh in your mind. A recruiter prefers to have your input before calling the client company to follow up the interview. Help your recruiter to help you. In fact, maintaining contact even after you have found a great job can be a good idea.

Don’t burn your bridges

Even if you didn’t like what the recruiter had to say or he/she didn’t give you as much attention as you would have liked, be professional and polite. That same recruiter might be the one to hand you your next job on a silver platter. Professional Recruiters look for the most qualified and successful people in their field. Usually those people are too busy to job search.

Don’t take it personally

Of 200 candidates uncovered in initial research, perhaps 50 will make the first cut, five will be finalists, and one will get the job. The search process aims for a perfect fit, and if you’re not chosen, it’s probably in your best interests anyway.

Be patient

Don’t burn your bridges with either the recruiter or your present employer. Recruiters may intend to get back to you, but in the recruiting world whatever is most pressing gets done first. If a recruiter doesn’t get back to a candidate, there’s nothing to talk about because the recruiter doesn’t have an appropriate position available.

Avoid unnecessary follow-up – it’s counterproductive

The recruiter will call you if he/she has a good reason. But do stay in touch with recruiters with periodic email updates to demonstrate your continued interest. After you speak with an employer, always call your recruiter immediately. Give the recruiter feedback after visits and telephone interviews so that she can aim more accurately the next time or perhaps work out any minor problems that may have come up. The recruiter will be “running interference” between you and the potential employer so don’t leave them out of the loop once the interview process begins. Use your recruiter’s skill in negotiations to express any concerns. This will help facilitate communication and allow some of the details to be handled at a more comfortable arm’s length.

Juggling more than one offer

If you have received more than one offer, it is generally best to let your recruiter and all potential employers know. Disclosing interest from other parties quite often has a snowball effect and if handled diplomatically, can certainly work to your advantage.

Don’t take too long to think about the offer

The longer you take to make your decision, the more likely it is that the employer will think you are not committed and that they have, perhaps, made a wrong decision. We have even seen cases where, due to inordinate delay, employers have retracted offers of employment.

Follow your recruiter’s instructions and listen

Listen to what your recruiter has to say and follow their directions. You will be more successful in your search as well as in an interview situation! Your recruiter often knows more than you do about the client, the hiring manager and the interview process and should prepare you for each interview. Be sure to listen closely to the recruiter’s interview tips and instructions. Also, it is important that you always do what you say you will do. When your recruiter asks you to call him/her after the interview, be sure that you do! Otherwise they may take it as a sign you are not interested or are unprofessional and they may not want to work with you in the future.




Why IT Skills are the Backbone of a Strong Resume

Deciding which skill sets to add to your resume as you adapt it to various positions can be difficult. Do potential employers care about the many volunteer programs you have been a part of, or are they more interested in the numerous minor achievement awards that have been bestowed upon you? One thing is certain; no matter what career you are applying for employers are intent about seeing what IT skills you can bring to the table.

The idea might be somewhat surprising, but nearly every career-level position out there today requires some level of technical knowledge. The more you have, the more likely finding a job will be a breeze.

Here are just a few positions that value IT skills more than you would think.


Careers in the healthcare industry have sincere need for professionals with IT skills and capacities. Many major technological advances in the field have been slow to take effect because of the necessary time to retrain busy doctors and nurses that have been practicing for years. As these individuals reach retirement age and new positions open up, hiring managers are looking to hire people who are versed in current hospital tech, and are willing to take on new technical challenges as they arise.

And they are sure to arise; new technology is being implemented in healthcare every day to help doctors better understand their patients. For instance, researchers in University of Cincinnati’s Health Informatics program tested the advantages of implementing geographic information systems into medical research. They found the technology to be promising, but concluded that many facilities did not have the capacity to take advantage of it at this time, but likely would begin implementing it in the near future.

Library Science

When thinking of places where IT skills are highly valued, libraries may be one of the last places to come to mind. In reality though, librarians have adapted to the age of technology. They are often some of the most well-versed individuals in finding valuable research information through technical avenues and can be a massive asset in any project.

In fact, in many places it can be difficult to acquire a position at the local library without a considerable IT skill set. Librarians are expected to be able to help visitors from all over the world navigate their e-library, where many books in the collection have been scanned into the system and can be ‘checked out’ online. Librarians are often now considered the managers of massive databases of information.


Perhaps even more surprising than the need for IT skills in library positions, is the need for IT skills in career-level construction positions. Although a great deal of the work within the field is still very hands-on, computers have made a major impact on the industry. Computer-based programs have allowed for far greater accuracy in field and greater communication with architects and engineers off-site.

Because of this, many site managers must be proficient in the use of these programs to direct employees and complete their job. For many large projects, the use of computers for analysis of work processes has enabled contractors to both promote workplace safety and reduce the overall budget. Furthermore, the technology has allowed for greater project collaboration, which can keep everyone from plumbers to electricians on the same page.

The addition of IT skills to your resume is a huge advantage no matter the position you are applying for. Even in the most unlikely careers, this type of experience makes for a significant bonus to hiring managers. Clearly, IT skills have become the backbone of any strong resume out there today.

About the Author: Brittni Brown is a current Masters student at the University of Idaho. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and rafting.

Re-Blog: Use Your Inside Voice by Drew McLellan

When people think about marketing, they typically think about external marketing – marketing tactics aimed at potential customers. But no business can afford to forget to actively and regularly market to their employees.  In fact, your employees should be your #1 audience.

I’m not sure why business owners and leaders don’t see the importance of targeting their employee base, but it’s often either completely forgotten or it’s one of the smallest line items in the budget.

Why is marketing to your own employees so important? Who usually interacts with your clients?   It’s not you. It’s not the CEO.  It’s the front line employees. Typically, the employees who are paid the least and told the least – interact with your customers the most.

So, to your customers – those employees embody your brand. How confident are you that those employees even know what your brand is, let alone how they should deliver it?

There are some ways you can consistently market your core messages to your internal team.

Mission, Vision, and Values:  95% of companies use these tools incorrectly. They’re either too long, too full of jargon or so full of clichéd words that they are absolutely ineffective. If every employee can’t understand and recite them from memory — they aren’t going to do the job.

Just as a reminder – Your values are the guiding principles or beliefs that set the tone and boundaries for the work you do.

Employee handbook/orientation:  What you deem important enough to include in your handbook and your orientation speaks volumes. Don’t just talk about the functional aspects of the job. Talk about their role in the company and how they influence and communicate the brand. Also take the time to tell them how the brand came to be and give them some tangible examples so they can begin to connect in a real way to the ideals of the brand.

Employee recognition and reviews: If it matters enough to you to make it a part of an employee’s review or in the way you reward employees – they’ll understand that it must be pretty important. When you recognize an employee for something specific in front of the entire team – believe me, they take notice.

They should see everything first:  Most employees see their company’s new brochure, TV spot or website the same time the general public first views it. I’ve seen many a retail employee get blindsided by a coupon, special offer or sale that they didn’t know anything about. Make a commitment that you’ll find a way to give your employees first viewing rights to all your marketing materials.  Otherwise, they rightfully feel like an after thought.

Tell them the whole story in real time: Usually employees hear about a great marketing initiative after the fact. They hear about the record sales or huge product demand once the consumer has reacted.  Instead – unfold the story as it is happening. Tell your employees about the research and development discoveries. Show them the early comps of the packaging.  Depending on what you sell – let them be beta testers. You get the idea – bring them along on the journey so they’re better equipped to talk to your customers about the new offering.

Not keeping your employees in the loop is a little like buying an ad in the local paper or trade publication – and then not filling the space with anything. Your employees are going to interact with your best customers and most promising prospects. Do you want them to be full of accurate information or a blank slate?

It’s your call.

McLellan Marketing Group is an advertising | marketing agency based in Des Moines, IA, and serving clients all over the US.