The “Talent Shortage of 2021” is quickly becoming the headline of the year. The anticipated talent migration is causing a labor shortage for many industries hiring now. While economies rebound from the pandemic and job opportunities continue to increase, job seekers are positioned to take advantage of the job market. Now is the time to think about what sets you apart from other candidates. You can leverage these stand-out qualities on your resume and during interviews.

What Sets You Apart from Other Candidates?

We all know job hunting can be exhausting. Interviewing never seems to get easier. Taking some time to think about what sets you apart from other candidates can help you re-motivate if you’re feeling stuck in your job search. Asking questions can improve your understanding. What accomplishments are you most proud of? Identify your personal and professional achievements. Be authentic. You want to try to identify what makes each success unique to you. What inspires you to show up to work every day? Chances are the answers to these questions vary from person to person. That’s good. Everyone has something unique about them that can be used as a differentiator.

“What sets you apart from other candidates?” could literally be an interview question. Since it can sometimes be a daunting question, it’s important to have your answer prepared. Thinking about it in advance can help you describe why you stand out amid 4 million U.S. workers that quit their jobs in April. The interview question isn’t new. However, your answer is critical.

How to Stand Out:

1. Leverage Your Personal Brand.

We’ve established why it’s important to think about what set’s you apart from other candidates. Now, let’s talk about how you incorporate those details throughout your entire job search. The two places you can easily and immediately differentiate yourself are your resume and cover letter. Put some thought into how you write and design them. Then, broadcast the details that differentiate you. Resume writing is a science, but there’s room for adding a bit of “you.” Otherwise, it’s impossible to stand out. Highlight your specific achievements and quantify your experience. Achievements are like snowflakes, no two look the same. By personalizing them, you can more effectively communicate what sets you apart from other candidates.

2. Tell a Good Story.

It’s unlikely that any two people share the exact same life experiences. Think about a story that is unique to you. Align the lesson with the skills and qualifications your potential employer is seeking. Describe the impact it had on your skill set or career path. Your career can benefit from knowing how to share your experience. If a cover letter is an option, opt in! It should speak beyond the content of your resume. Diversity, inclusion and belonging continue to be a focus point for hiring managers. Cover letters are a great way to showcase the culture and background you bring to an organization. Whether in an interview, online, or on paper, make sure you share your story.

3. Boast Your Strengths.

When companies ask, “What set’s you apart from other candidates?” they are trying to determine what your strengths are and what relevant experience you have that will make you successful in the position. By preparing answers in advance, you can make your responses unique. It’s vital to distinguish yourself and your skill set in your interviews. This may seem obvious, but you need to be strategic. Confidence is undeniably important. However, it’s easier said than done after a few rejections. Knowing what sets you apart from other candidates can motivate confidence.

4. Be Authentically You.

Whether it’s a resume, cover letter, interview or another aspect of the job search there is always an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Show your potential employer what makes you the best person for the job. Speak clearly. Be intentional and persistent. Most importantly, always be your true self. The right opportunity will come along. When you are authentic, you attract opportunities that appreciate what makes you- YOU.  To avoid having “just another boring day job,” bring authenticity with you to your next interview!

When going into your next interview, explain why you deserve the job. Hiring managers are often seeking problem solving skills and grit. Make sure they know you can handle challenging situations with positivity and perseverance. A common explanation for today’s talent shortage is a lack of qualified candidates. Perhaps, candidates are simply missing the opportunity to share the unique ways they gained their experience and skills. Non-traditional talent is all about being unique! You need to address the root of the question, but make sure you emphasize what makes you someone worth serious consideration. If you have the skills to perform the job, tell them what life experience uniquely qualifies you. Then, make your dream a reality!