How to Stand Out in an Interview – 8 Strategies

How to Stand Out in an Interview

It’s common for employers to interview 15 or more people for a single job opening, so getting noticed and getting the job offer is not easy…

However, there are some ways to stand out and get hired faster.

I’m going to share 8 tips for how to stand out in an interview and make employers want to offer you the job, even if you’re not the most qualified candidate.

Let’s get started!

8 Ways to Stand Out in a Job Interview

1. Research the company more than anyone else

Most people research the company enough to “get by” or not embarrass themselves.

They cover the basics and have a few talking points for when the interviewer asks, “what do you know about our company?“… or, “why do you want to work here?”

But if you really want to stand out, make it your goal to know more about the company than anyone else they’ve spoken to!

Read some recent news stories.

Read their company history. Why were they founded, when, and by whom?

Who’s their CEO?

How many locations do they have?

What do they sell, and who are their customers?

How are they different than their competitors?

Doing this extra research will make you more seem more confident, and make you feel more comfortable in your interview – especially in the first few minutes when you’re making that all-important first impression!

2. Be results-oriented

Most people talk in very general terms… both when describing their past work and when talking about what they’d accomplish in a new position.

Don’t do this. You want to stand out, remember?

So instead, talk about specific results.

If they ask about your past work, talk about the actual results you achieved.

What was the impact? Be ready to name specific facts and data.

How did you help your past company save money, save time, or make money?

How did you make your manager’s life easier? This new hiring manager is definitely going to want to hire someone who will make his or her life easier, too. So this is a great thing to show!

3. Bring a case study

To continue on the last idea, if you really want to stand out you should consider coming up with detailed examples, and measurable results, and putting them into a case study to show what you’ve done in the past.

What were one or two big projects you completed for your last employer?

If you just graduated and are looking for your first job after college, what projects or internships did you complete in school?

Go ask your former boss or colleagues if you need help gathering details and results of your work. Is it easy? No. But it’s how to stand out and get the best jobs out there!

Then create a one-page document showing the “before and after”.

Let’s say you were working on improving the company’s sales process. Maybe the company was converting 29% of leads into customers before you started working, and you improved it to 33%.

Those are your “before and after” stats.

It doesn’t have to be sales-related, it can be anything you’ve improved for your previous employer.

4. Bring a 30-60-90 day plan

Consider creating another document highlighting exactly what you’ll do for this company if they hire you.

How will you learn the position and get up to speed quickly? (This is one of the top things employers want to see!)

How will you use your skills, experience, and expertise to help them reach their goals?

What value will you add? What can you do for them within the first 90 days?

Lay out what goals you hope to accomplish in the first 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. Be realistic, but ambitious.

You don’t want to sound like you’re over-confident, but you want to show them you plan on working hard when you start this job.

Just by showing up with this plan, you’ll stand out in the interview. Most job seekers are not doing this.

5. Ask amazing questions

Most people know you should ask questions in an interview, but very few job seekers realize how important it is.

Employers really do judge you heavily based on this.

They want to hire somebody who’s being selective in their job search and really knows what they want!

And the only way to show them this is to ask a lot of questions.

How can you be sure this job is the right fit for you if you don’t ask many questions?

I’ll repeat it again: Employers want somebody who’s being picky and looking for specific things in their next job! (And they’re NOT looking for somebody who appears to just want any job they can get).

So asking bad questions, or not enough questions, is one of the top reasons people struggle to find a job.

So what should you do?

Ask questions about the job, the training you’ll receive, the group, the company overall, and more.

Avoid asking about salary, benefits, working hours, vacation time, or anything that’s not work-related!

You want to seem like you’re focused on coming in and getting up-to-speed in their job when you ask questions.

Here’s a list of 105 of the best questions to ask in an interview, to get you started.

And if you’re talking to a recruiter, here are some good questions to ask a recruiter.

6. Have awesome body language

Your body language is super important if you want to stand out and leave a great impression in your interviews.

People judge you visually before anything else; it’s just human nature. And the hiring manager or interviewer is going to gather their first impression of you within a few seconds of meeting you.

This isn’t just about the first impression either; this will affect how they react to everything you say in the interview.

If you’re sitting up straight and maintaining good eye contact while giving interview answers, it’s going to give you a huge boost.

Whereas if you’re glancing down or to the side while talking, and slouched over, your answer will be less impressive even if you said all the right things!

tips to stand out in job interview

Try to walk in looking like you’re confident and happy to be there, not terrified or anxious.

Keep a soft smile on your face like the image above.

Dress for success, maintain eye contact, and sit upright. Lean slightly forward to show interest.

Don’t tap your feet, grind your teeth, tap your hands, or anything else that’ll distract from the conversation.

This all takes practice, so make sure to build these habits BEFORE your interview.

If you need help building and practicing these habits, here’s a full article on body language tips.

7. Send a great “thank you” email after the interview

After the interview, you’ll want to follow up and thank them for their time, reaffirm that you’re interested in the position, and tell them you’re eager to hear feedback and information about the next steps.

I recommend doing it the day after your interview, or Monday if your interview was on a Friday.

Also, customize the email so they know it’s not just a cut-and-paste email you send to everyone. You should have at least one place where it’s clear you didn’t just copy and paste it.

One easy way to do this: Thank them for sharing information about a specific topic they discussed with you – something that you found interesting.

Example: “Thanks for taking the time to interview me on Thursday. I really enjoyed our conversation, and the information you shared about how this role would collaborate with other groups and manage projects across the organization sounded fantastic…”

You can get full thank you email templates in this article.

8. Treat it like what it is: A conversation

Once you realize an interview is just a conversation, it becomes a whole lot easier.

The interview is simply a conversation between two sides, to see if it’s a good potential match.

That’s it.

Yet most job seekers don’t view it like this and don’t treat it like this.

They walk in nervous, they view themselves as being inferior to the hiring manager… like a subordinate, and they lack confidence and calmness because of it.

Walk in and view yourself as an equal to the interviewer.

You both have things you’re looking for, to determine if this is a good potential match, and you should both be asking questions and having a discussion to find out if it’s a match or not.

Once you treat it like this, everything else becomes far easier, and you’ll feel completely different in every interview you go on.

How to Stand Out in an Interview – Quick Instructions

  1. Make it your goal to know more about their company than anyone else they’ve interviewed
  2. Be results-oriented and talk about specific metrics and accomplishments you’ve achieved for past employers
  3. Bring a case study highlighting a project you worked on, and how you helped your employer reach a specific goal or improvement
  4. Bring a 30-60-90 day plan showing how you plan on succeeding in their position in the first three months
  5. Prepare great questions to ask the interviewer, including questions about the position, the group, and the overall company
  6. Practice having great body language including eye contact, posture, and handshake so that you stand out immediately and make a better first impression
  7. Send detailed, customized “thank you” emails after the interview to remind them you’re interested
  8. Relax and treat it like what it really is: A conversation

If you follow the 8 strategies we’ve covered above, you’re going to stand out in your job interviews and get more job offers.


Finding a Job After Long-Term Unemployment

finding job after long term unemployment

Finding a job after long-term unemployment isn’t easy.

Whether you took time off to raise a child, continue your education, or anything else, there are some employers who are going to have some questions about this.

So I’m going to share some tips that will help you get a job after long-term unemployment, even if it’s been years since you’ve worked.

How to Get a Job after Long-Term Unemployment

We’re going to look at the recommended steps for finding a job after long-term unemployment including:

  • Your cover letter
  • Your resume
  • Job interviews

If you want to get hired quickly, you’ll need a plan for all three of these areas, so let’s go step-by-step through it and I’ll explain what to do to find a new job.

Your Cover Letter After Long-Term Unemployment

This is the first place you want to address your gap in employment and reasons for long-term unemployment.

You want to explain what happened, including why you left your last job.

Next, you want to discuss what you’ve done to stay relevant and keep your skills sharp.

If you haven’t done anything, start now. Find an online course, start an independent project, or try to find a freelance client or do some consulting.

It’s really going to help you get hired if you can show employers you’ve kept your skills fresh!

Then, the final thing you want to do on your cover letter is show them that you’re fully available to work now.

You need to make it very clear that if there was a reason that you were unemployed for a few months or years, that the reason is resolved.

Otherwise, they’re going to be worried that you won’t be able to work the hours they want.


Let’s say you’ve been unemployed for two years while caring for an elderly family member.

Now you’re looking for a job, so you need to explain what changed. Maybe a sibling is helping care for them now. Maybe they’re in an assisted living facility, etc.

Whatever the case, you want to explain why you’re able to return to work now, and show them it won’t be an ongoing issue.

Your Resume After Unemployment

Next up is your resume. The cover letter should help you explain any gaps in employment on your resume employment history, but there are some changes you can make to your resume too.

You can consider using only years, instead of years and months. That can make some gaps appear slightly shorter, but it might also cause employers to ask more questions about your prior dates of employment.

There’s some benefit, but also some risk.

But it’s worth trying and it’s something I’ve done myself in the past! (I’ve had a few gaps in employment and periods of unemployment. Not for years at a time, but for a few months at a time).

Also, you can put anything you’ve done to stay fresh/current on your resume, even if you weren’t paid to do the work.

This can include volunteering, freelancing, pro bono work, taking courses, etc. Show them you’ve been active in maintaining your skill-set.

The longer it’s been since you’ve worked or used your skills, the more employers will worry that you’ve “lost” your abilities/knowledge.

Is this fair?  Not really. You never forget a lot of what you know, but that’s how employers view it.

Answering Interview Questions About Long-Term Unemployment

Next, you’ll need to be ready to face questions about your long-term unemployment in the interview.

My advice here is the same as the cover letter:

Be ready to clearly explain why you left your last job, and what caused the period of long-time unemployment since then.

Then, be ready to explain how and why you’re now available to work.

You want to put their mind at ease that you won’t need to resign for the same reasons you had this gap in the first place (whether it’s a health issue, family issue, or anything else).

Calmly answer their questions, and try to put their mind at ease quickly and then redirect the conversation back to the responsibilities of the job.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say they ask, “So, how has your situation changed, and what made you decide to look for work now?”…

…You’d want to explain quickly, but then say something like, “…and now I’m hoping to find a position that will allow me to keep building my skills as an HR Manager. Can you tell me a bit more about what you’re hoping somebody can come in and accomplish in this specific Manager job?”

Obviously, you’d replace “HR Manager” with whatever the job title is that you’re interviewing for. But this is how to redirect the conversation back to what matters most – the job itself.

The point of the interview is to show them you have the skills and experience to come in and QUICKLY get up to speed and succeed in their role. So that’s what to focus on.

Your Network is a Huge Asset in Finding a Job After a Long-Term Gap in Employment

To get more interviews, make sure to utilize your network.

Networking is often the fastest way to find a job, and always one of the most effective.

And when you’re coming off long-term unemployment, it can be even more effective. Here’s why…

Getting your foot in the door with employers, or getting them to take a chance on you and interview you, is one of the hardest tasks if you have an unusual career path or a resume with some gaps.

And when somebody who is trusted by an employer introduces you directly or recommends you for a  position, the employer immediately trusts you a lot more.

While this doesn’t guarantee they’ll hire you, it definitely boosts the chance you’ll get interviewed.

So tell everyone you’re job searching. Connect with people personally and ask if they have any ideas or leads you should pursue.

Apply for a Lot of Jobs!

It’s more difficult to find a job after long-term unemployment; but it’s very possible.

However, you need to apply for a lot of jobs.

Try a combination of methods, including telling everyone in your network that you’re job searching, applying directly to employers via their website, and searching on one or two job platforms (I like LinkedIn’s job search feature the most).

You’re probably going to need to interview for at least a few jobs to find an employer who thinks you’re the right fit. And we all know you need to apply for a lot of jobs just to get one interview usually.

So expect to have to put in the time and effort to get a job after being unemployed for a long stretch of time. The good news is you only have to do this once!

Finding a Job After Long-Term Unemployment – Quick Instructions

  1. Use your cover letter to explain what caused the stretch of long-term unemployment, and how your situation has changed to allow you to work again.
  2. Be ready to explain those same ideas in your job interview.
  3. Do everything possible to keep your skills current during the period of unemployment, including taking a few courses, volunteering, doing freelance work or consulting. If you haven’t done any of this, start now.
  4. Put any and all items from step #3 on your resume, to avoid having a big gap in employment.
  5. Leverage your network first in your job search; you’ll get more interviews when somebody that knows an employer recommends you.
  6. Apply for a high volume of positions using multiple methods. You’re at a disadvantage when trying to get a job after a long-term unemployment gap, so you need to make up for it with effort/volume.
  7. Be ready to show employers how you’ll contribute to their goals immediately. If you want to get a job offer after a long period of unemployment, you need to show them your skills are current and you’re ready to learn their job and immediately start helping.


How To Have A Successful Career As A Professional Driver

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How To Have A Successful Career As A Professional Driver

Professional driving is the second largest source of employment in India. The fast-growing sector is one of the most important in India, and jobs exist in many areas such as truck driving, logistics, cab driving and many more. If you’re looking for a career that allows you to indulge in your passion of autos or even driving while also having the ability and freedom to craft a decent work-life balance, then being a professional driver might be a good fit for you.


The state of India’s driving industry

Truck drivers play a major role in the entire transportation system of India, and it is a rapidly growing industry. There are many driver training programs in place all around the country that work to help improve road safety while also enhancing employment prospects for rural youth. The industry and need for professional drivers are actually growing so fast that the country has deemed it necessary to increase the number of training institutions. The Indian Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship plans to open at least 500 driving training institutes in the near future in order to train skilled professionals who are passionate about the job.

Education and training needed as a professional driver

Communication skills, great judgment skills, attention to detail and a working knowledge of trucks and how to inspect and service them will all take you far as a professional driver. Aside from natural driving skills, you will be required to be certified professionally outside of a normal driver’s license. If you decide to enroll in one of the professional driving schools in India, you can expect to take courses such as Training for Heavy Motor Vehicles, Training for Public Service Vehicles, Training for Defensive Driving and Fuel Efficiency and more. Most companies will require you to have a clean driving record in order to make sure that you and the vehicle are safe as well as some minor knowledge of how to make general repairs to cars and trucks.

Driving quickly becoming a lucrative career

As a professional driver, you will be helping to support your local economy while also participating heavily in the logistics and delivery of important goods to people and companies all over the country. If you have a natural inclination towards automotive, driving, and the freedom that comes with being able to hit the open road as part of work, then becoming certified to work as a professional driver is a great option, especially as the sector begins to heat up more all over India.

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11 Smart Ways to Answer Interview Questions

ways to answer interview questions

If you want to get noticed and get job offers in your interviews, this article is going to help.

We’re going to look at 11 proven ways to answer interview questions effectively.

Let’s get started…

11 Effective Ways to Answer Interview Questions

1. Know when to tell a story, and when not to

Storytelling is a great skill to be more memorable and persuasive, but you need to know when to use it…

Don’t tell a story for a yes/no question. That’s going to drive the interviewer insane.

However, for questions that open the door for you to give a longer answer, like behavioral questions (“tell me about a time you ___?”), storytelling is a powerful skill.


Let’s say they ask a question like, “tell me about your experience serving customers in a fast-paced environment.”

You could just say, “I’ve worked with customers a lot and my last company was very fast-paced,” but that’s not going to be very memorable.

You’ll be a lot more memorable if you paint a picture through storytelling.

You might say, “In my last job, I interacted with an average of 50 customers per day. I really excel in a fast-paced environment like this. In fact, each year our company gives an award to the top person in customer service, and I won last year for earning the highest customer satisfaction rating.”

2. Share specific facts and data to make your answers more impressive

Which one sounds better:

A: “I’m one of the top salespeople in my company right now.”

B: “I’m one of the top 5 salespeople in our group of over 50, and I’m on pace to hit 200% of annual sales goals for my position.”

Facts, data, and statistics make your answers far more impressive.

Do your research before the interview so you KNOW your past results and can talk about it.

Ask former colleagues and bosses if you need to. This will also boost your resume bullets if you put it on there as well!

3. Make a comparison

A reader emailed me recently and was having trouble in her interviews…

She had experience selling, but she had never sold to software developers. And in this new position, that’s who she would be selling to.

So to address this concern of the employer, I recommended she make a comparison.

At some point, she had never sold to her current clientele either, right? (In this case, it was other types of engineers).

So I told her to explain how she learned to sell to those people, with no experience, and then using that to show them she would be able to learn to sell to this new client-base as well.

Making comparisons like this can shift the interviewer’s focus and turn a negative into a positive (or at least make it a non-factor and stop them from being concerned).

4. Be brief and concise

This is another way to answer interview questions more effectively…

Cover the important details and highlight your best points, but then STOP.

Many job seekers have a tendency to carry on for too long when they should have stopped after answering the main question or highlighting their best points.

5. Take your time and ask for clarification if needed

This is one of the most under-utilized ways to answer interview questions…

And it’s dead simple:

Take a breath, relax and really think before answering. You can’t take something back after you say it, so don’t rush yourself.

And if you’re not sure you understood the question, ask for clarification.

You can say things like:

  • “Are you hoping for a specific example? I just want to make sure I understand the question.”
  • “Do you only want to hear about my hands-on experience? I’ve done this directly, but I’ve also led small project teams for this.”

And you can ask for feedback at the end of your answers too, for example:

  • “Did that answer your question, or did you want more detail?”

(This is a great way to make sure your answers don’t go on too long and annoy the interviewer, which was tip #4).

6. End your answer with a question

Asking questions mid-interview helps you target their needs and “tailor” your answers as the interview goes on!

Let’s look at how to do this…


They mention the job requires managing people and ask for your experience in this area.

After answering and highlighting your relevant experience, you’d say, “Can you tell me more about the management I’d be doing? For example, what size team would I lead, and would I be responsible for hiring and growing the team?”

This will also make it feel more like a casual two-way conversation, which will boost your confidence and help you give better answers overall.

7. Make it about them, not you

Most job seekers think the interview is all about them…

The truth is, you’ll get more job offers if you focus on talking about THEM.

What are their concerns and needs?

For example, don’t just describe your skills and experience when they ask about it.

Instead, show them how you’ll put those skills to use in this specific role, and how their lives will be easier by having you on their team.

That’s how you get more job offers and stand out from other job seekers, who just talk about themselves.

8. Speak with high energy and enthusiasm

Showing enthusiasm is an important part of giving good answers in an interview.

It’s okay if you’re an introvert or naturally quiet… you don’t have to be the most outgoing, bubbly personality to get hired.

Just turn it up a bit…

Do slightly more than you usually do in terms of energy in your tone of voice and body language.

Tone of voice is especially important when answering questions in phone interviews since they can’t see your facial expressions or body language.

If you need help showing energy and enthusiasm in your voice, try standing up and smiling when you talk on the phone. This may sound odd, but it’s a proven trick that phone salespeople use all the time.

9. Treat it like a conversation

When you boil it down, the interview is really just a conversation to see if it’s a good fit for both sides.

It’s a two-way deal.

So go in and treat it like that and you’ll feel a lot more comfortable.

This is one of the best ways to answer interview questions in terms of your mindset.

How do you treat it like a conversation?

You should ask a lot of questions to figure out if you’re interested in the job.

You should build rapport with the hiring manager and find out one or two things about them.

Remember their name when they introduce themselves, and use it once or twice in the conversation.

To make them like you even more… send a personalized “thank you” email after the interview to thank them for the great conversation.

Get their business card after the interview too… it’ll make this and all of your follow-ups easier.

10. Talk about the future

A lot of interview questions are going to be about your past: Past experience, past successes, past failures.

But one key to giving great interview answers is to talk about the future too.

When you give answers about your skills and experience, also talk about the future and how you’ll use those skills to perform well in their role.

Mention something you saw on the job description, or something they mentioned earlier in the conversation, that makes you think your background will be useful to them in this role!

This is one of the best ways to answer any interview question and most job seekers don’t do this.

11. Tell the truth

Most employers will forgive a few interview mistakes, or missing pieces of experience (the truth is the requirements are mostly just a “wish list” for them).

However, if you lie or seem like you’re hiding something, you will NOT get hired.

Trust and credibility are as important as anything else in the interview… and no hiring manager is going to want you on their team if they don’t feel comfortable trusting you.

It’s better to be 80% qualified and tell the truth, than lie and pretend to be 100% qualified.

I guarantee you’ll get more job offers if you take the first approach.

How to Answer Interview Questions – Quick Instructions

  1. Use storytelling to make yourself more memorable
  2. Share specific facts and data in your answers
  3. Make comparisons between your past experience and the job duties in this role
  4. Be brief and concise; get to the point quickly
  5. Don’t rush – ask for a second to think when you need to, and ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question
  6. End some of your answers with a question directed at the interviewer
  7. Make your answers about their needs, not yours
  8. Speak with higher-than-normal energy and enthusiasm
  9. Treat it like a regular conversation
  10. Talk about the future and how you’ll directly help them
  11. Tell the truth – be honest, accountable, and upfront when answering questions and you’ll get more job offers

Those are 11 of the best ways to answer interview questions effectively, so you can stand out and get hired in less time.


The List of People You Should Consider For Your Job Reference

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The List of People You Should Consider For Your Job Reference

When looking for a job, among the things you should have ready is your professional job reference. A reference gives a future employer the ability to understand your capabilities, skills and background. In most cases, a job reference letter will be requested after conducting a successful interview and just before you get hired. To some employers, it will strongly determine if you will get the job or not. In most cases, a potential employer will demand up to four or more reference letters. Therefore, ensure you have your job reference ready.

To get a good job reference, first identify the right people to write it for you. Consider your work relationship with the individual and the period you have worked together. Pick people who are likely to point out your strengths to the potential employer. Basically, pick people who can professionally attest to your work ethics. This will make you look like a potential employee.


The following are the people that you should include in your job reference:

  1. A Former Employer

A former employer will properly highlight your work ethic and skills. Ensure that your former boss is included in the list of yourjob reference. Leaving him out may raise eyebrows and cause suspicions which might negatively affect your job search. If you have to drop off your previous employer in your reference, give out the reasons as to why.

  1. Co-Workers

A fellow employee with whom you have worked closely with can write for you a professional reference. Avoid using your work friend here because they might not well articulate your work ethics and responsibilities. The right person in this category is your team mate at work.

  1. A Charity You Have Volunteered

If you have worked as a volunteer in any place, you need that for your job reference. Your potential employer will be moved to know you can work beyond the normal working schedule. Statistically, you increase your chances of getting hired for a job by 27%.

  1. Your Professor and Teacher

Getting a job reference from a professor or a teacher who taught you something in your career is great. Also consider your academic advisor, since they know your skills and abilities academically.

  1. Someone You Have Causally Worked For

This could be someone you babysat for or mowed the lawn for. A reference from the odd jobs you did will help your potential employer understand your personality and work ethics better.

Here is a list of people you should not have in your job reference:

  • Your family members
  • Your fiancé
  • Relatives
  • Your own reference
  • Other unprofessional references

You can have more relevant references, but you should be guided by the number your potential employer wants. Also, remember to follow up the people you have for your job reference to let them know your job status. Let them know they might be called upon to provide reference. Additionally, let them know if you have been hired and where possible send them a thank you card.



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