If getting hired is at the top of your resolution list for 2013, you may need to take a different approach when conducting your job search, considering the millions of others who likely have the same resolution, and could be gunning for your spot.
In the current hiring landscape, a traditional cover letter and resume are always welcome, but potentially may not be enough to set you apart and show off your stellar work experience or training. However, the Huffington Post reports, this goes both ways, as employment agencies sometimes only request minimal applicant information. Often, applicants fill out a standard job application and send it off.
This practice can lead to stagnancy for both job seekers and employers. Instead, as the economy continues to rebound, we should inject more creativity into how we look for jobs, and make hires, says Patrick Richard, president and founder of job application site ShinyNeedle.
However, embarking on a right brain-fueled job search isn't always easy, he warned. What you can do is prepare yourself with a few tips to letting the creative juices flow.
Study the product
Richard told the media outlet that one of the best ways to demonstrate your interest in the company is to market your unique brand using their own product or platform. Although there isn't always a product that can be used in your favor to show off your skills, if the company does have something to offer, it could give you a unique chance to show off your skills in a creative way.
As an example, Richard looked to the e-commerce platform Shopify, which recently talked about how it brought on employee Mike Freeman after he built a store using the site as his application, and in turn secured a position with the marketing department.
Get creative in your presentation
"Individuals searching for their dream position need to understand how to best market themselves to their target audience - hiring managers and recruiters," Richard wrote in the Post. "Similar to landing a business deal, job seekers should consider utilizing a method of presentation to express more than their resume or cover letter ever could."
SlideRocket, an online presentation resource, has a great example of a creative candidate. The company said it hired one worker not only because she demonstrated an amazing ability to use the company's product, but also because she carried herself with such passion for the project it seemed to the company it was missing out by not having her around.
"By creating a presentation, video or proposal, candidates are able to offer more to their potential employers than their competition and display themselves as creative problem solvers," Richard added.
According to WTOP News, along with demonstrating your creative skills, showing off your all-around personality during an interview is crucial for letting your potential employer see you as a real person who could fit in with the company culture.
Research conducted by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University shows that in addition to meeting education and skills requirements, hiring ultimately comes down to how much the employer likes you.
The results showed employers often like candidates who are culturally similar to themselves, and will hire a candidate that will fit in easily. This process, known as cultural matching, is especially true for jobs that demand long hours.
The study found that employers most often looked for candidates that were similar in leisure pursuits, experiences and self-presentation styles.