What Makes You Stand Out From Other Candidates in eLearning?
What makes you stand out from other candidates for eLearning roles? You might think you need a slick resume format, to follow up persistently, or to know someone on the inside. But, none of those are the real secret to job search success.
The best, most reliable way to land the job is to show your professionalism and the skill set that you bring to the table. Your skills and experience are more valuable than any gimmick. Here’s how to make sure you shine at every stage of the job application and interview process. You’ll even get some sample answers to the “what sets you apart” interview question.
Job Application Tips for Standing Out
A neat, understandable resume and thoughtful cover letter will help you stand out. You don’t have to print your resume on a cake or send gifts. All you need to do is clearly show that you have the relevant experience and skills.
Think of your resume as a marketing document. You don’t have to list every bit of work experience or use a creative layout. Focus on your most relevant experience and achievements to show hiring managers you’re a good fit.
Pair that resume with a thoughtful cover letter. Address it “dear hiring manager” and then devote a couple of paragraphs to describing why you’re a good candidate for the role. This is your chance to tell your career story.
Finally, include a link to your elearning portfolio. It should include a few samples of your work that highlight your relevant skills. You can host this on a personal website, on LinkedIn, or even in a Google Doc. Include some context so visitors can understand the part you played in each project.
How to Stand Out In An Interview
Things like politeness, showing up on time, and being well-groomed should be too basic to mention, but you might be surprised by how many job candidates don’t meet even these basic standards. Of course, if you really want to stand out in a job interview, you have to do more than the bare minimum.
- Be prepared. Spend some time thinking about the behavioral questions interviewers are likely to ask. Make sure you have a few good stories you can share to answer these questions.
- Be authentic. Interviewers want to see the professional version of the real you. If you’re putting on an act or trying to impress at all costs, you might come off as fake or hard to read.
- Ask insightful questions. Don’t ask questions you can easily look up on their website or social media. Instead, ask about the company culture and what it takes to succeed in the role.
Speaking of interview questions…
How to answer the interview question: what sets you apart?
If interviewers ask what sets you apart, don’t focus your answer on your skills. Most people who make it to the interview stage probably have the basic skills listed in the job description. Besides, all of that is already on your resume. Instead, take this opportunity to tell your story and share your philosophy of learning.
Sample answers for what sets you apart might be:
- I’m endlessly curious and will dig deep into anything I don’t understand. That means I’m always learning and improving.
- My unusual background gives me a unique perspective. Because I was a journalist before I became an instructional designer, I’m able to see new solutions that others don’t usually think of.
- I measure my success by whether the learner has the tools and support they need. That means I always put the learner first, even when it makes extra work for me.
The Right Way to Follow Up
You’ve probably heard that you should follow up after the interview. A short, personalized thank you note sent by email is a nice way to follow up. Don’t call the hiring manager or send gifts. Gestures like that may make them worry that you don’t understand professional norms.
Only call to follow up if you’re at least three business days past the timeline the interviewer gave you. Call once and leave a message if the hiring manager isn’t available. Hiring decisions often take longer than people think and calling a bunch of times will only annoy people.
You can say something like this:
“Hello, this is [your name here]. I interviewed for the instructional designer position on July 31. Could you give me an update on the timeline for next steps?”
You can send this same message in email instead of calling, and some hiring managers might prefer that. If you’re working with a staffing agency, you can reach out to them and see if they have updates for you. They can help you understand where you are in the process without bothering hiring managers.
Focus on What Really Makes You Stand Out From Other Candidates
To compete in today’s job market, you don’t need gimmicks or a man on the inside. Employers want to know that you’ll thrive in the role, and they use your resume, portfolio, interview and follow-up to decide if that’s the case. Make sure every interaction highlights what employers are really looking for: professionalism, authenticity, and a compelling career story.