How Do I Stand Out?

January 12, 2021

How can you stand out in the employment market given the volume of applications employers are receiving?

How do I stand out?

This question is one that I’ve been asked a couple of times in the last few weeks by people who aren’t in work and are getting more and more nervous.

After chatting to some senior IT executives here in Wellington, they’ve been blown away by the quantity of applicants they’ve been receiving.

For example, a mid-sized government department who were seeking a number of Developers (Full Stack Developers through to Ruby Developers) received over 400 applicants. They decided to look themselves before going out to recruitment firms.

Another example is a large government department seeking a Senior Project Manager with some Agile experience. They have had over 150 direct applicants!

So, how can you stand out in the employment market given the volume of applications these employers are receiving?

Here are eight ideas and tips:

  1. Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile that is up to date and has a professional profile picture.
  2. If you get to the interview stage, please, please do your research. I would go as far as turning up with printed material from the company’s website. No need to wave it about but do it subtly so they can see you’ve done some reading.
  3. If you are applying for a role and you have some allies working inside that particular organisation let them know you are applying, and don’t be afraid to ask them to speak to the Hiring Manager or HR Manager.
  4. Use your network! Don’t be sending off job applications and then waiting by your mobile or inbox for an update. If you want to work at Trade Me or MSD and you have friends who work there, ask them ‘can I buy you a coffee’ and find out what’s going on.
  5. Go and do some training. If you know the Azure or AWS skills are in demand and that space interests you, get on a course, or go and ask someone for some informal training. There are a vast amount of cost effective courses on the platform Udemy –
  6. If you are a Scrum Master or an Agile Coach get involved in your local Agile Community by attending events. If you are a Developer get involved in your Developer community, whether that is by contributing to or commenting on blogs, through to attending or arranging Meet Ups.
  7. Get your profile up and inside SEEK’s Talent Database. This is a place where companies and recruiters look to see who has become available (it costs you nothing).
  8. You may think your CV looks “tip top” but get someone to peer review it. You may think that a 10-page resume or a 1-page resume is the way to go but you may be wrong!

How do you stand out?

If you want some stand out talent or want to get in touch, feel free to send me a note at

Written by

Nathan Masters