It's a tough job market out there right now, but what if you can’t even get an interview?

What if you're resume or your network is good enough to get you to the interview, but you can’t get past that point?

Are you demonstrating the levels of commitment, drive, tenacity, skills and organization employers want?

Here are 6 tried and true ways to separate you from other candidates and be the candidate everyone wants to hire:

1. Preparation = SWOT Analysis:

SWOT is a strategic planning tool. It stands for Strengths (attributes helpful to achieving the objective), Weaknesses (attributes harmful to achieving the objective), Opportunities (external conditions that will be helpful to achieving the objective), and Threats (external obstacles or conditions that will harm the process). Look at the picture–it helps. Doing a SWOT analysis on the company demonstrates your drive, commitment, and skills, along with helping you create a better 30/60/90-day plan. Click here for advice on how to do one and avoid mistakes.

2. 30/60/90-Day Plan :

A 30-60-90-day plan is a short, 1-3 page outline for what you will do when you start the job. Essentially, you spell out for your future employer, in as little or as much detail as necessary, how you will spend your time–in training, learning company systems, introducing yourself to customers, and your initial plan to build sales. It demonstrates exactly how you’ll be an asset. A 30/60/90-day plan is an almost-guaranteed way to impress any hiring manager or hiring team.

If you absolutely can’t get an interview, you could try e-mailing your 30/60/90-day plan to the sales manager. It’s an attention-getter, and it could be the key to get you in the door.

3. Video or Audio Communication -:

Send the interviewer an audio of video clip of yourself. Keep it short and sweet, and make sure you’ve checked lighting, background, and sound quality. One idea: Structure it like an elevator pitch–what can you do for the company and why can you do it?

4. Brag Book :

A brag book is a folder/ binder that you can use during your interview process to clarify your skill sets. It can include letters of recommendation, “attaboy” notes (or any notes commenting on what a good job you’ve done), staff ranking, annual reviews (if you include some, include them all), rewards letters, your resume, types of equipment you’ve used or marketed, certifications or other educational courses, any financial or PowerPoint presentations, copies of articles you’ve written, brochures you’ve helped develop, and a college transcript (though ONLY if you’re just getting out). Here’s a link to a video that explains more.

5. References :

It’s critical that you have winning references. Some people believe that references never get called, but they do. You should know how to choose a good reference, and know with stake-your-job-on-it certainty what they will say about you. You can (and should) even coach them beforehand, to help them tailor their answers to the job.

6. Follow-up/Thank You Notes :

Don’t underestimate how important thank you letters are in the job interview process. Everybody “knows” they’re critical, but unbelievably, not everyone writes them. Thank you letters accomplish several things:

    They get your name in front of the hiring manager one more time.
    They are your last chance to package yourself as the best, most qualified person for the job.
    They are polite, and manners count.
    They can be an example of your ability to take in information (the interview) and process and provide feedback or new ideas about whatever the problem was. For example: “I thought about your concerns about how to handle xyz delivery issues, when I was a product manager at ABC corporation, we used………”
    (See what I mean?)

Handwritten thank-yous are nice, but e-mail thank yous are fast. Sometimes, hiring decisions are made quickly, so a timely note can be critical.

I know these things will help you become an outstanding candidate! Good luck!

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee is the owner of and chief recruiter for PHC Consulting, which has been placing top talent in sales, management, and marketing in some of the most prominent high-growth companies in the health care field for the last 10 years.

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