How to Stand Out from Other Millennials and Gen Z Candidates in a Crowded Job Market

Whether you’re a young professional actively looking for a new job or just curious about the opportunities available to you, you probably want to grow in your career. However, it can be difficult to find a job that allows you to grow professionally and personally, especially when recruiters and job boards make you feel like you’re just another number.

The unemployment rate in South Africa in the first quarter of 2022 was 63.9% for the 15-24 age group and 42.1% for those aged 25-34. There is, however, good news for Mzansi’s youth. The unemployment rate for graduates aged 15 to 24 fell from 40.3% to 32.6% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. So, even if the competition is fierce, there are still opportunities.

One of the main goals when applying for a job is to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Getting noticed by recruiters and employers using online recruitment platforms is crucial when applying for positions in a crowded job market. Luckily, you can follow a few simple steps to get the attention you deserve and stand out from the crowd.

1. Register on a specialized online recruitment platform

Recruiters and employers spend a lot of time on specialized recruitment platforms looking for quality candidates, and they constantly consult online profiles. By registering on the platform, you make your details visible to them and you put yourself in the running for opportunities.

“The more complete your profile – with honest and accurate information – the more likely you are to be screened and matched with suitable positions,” says Wiebka Cooper, sales and operations manager at CareerJunction. “Our system is designed to allow recruiters to filter candidates based on their online profile and search for keywords in their uploaded resume.

While having to split your resume into individual fields when creating your profile and then being prompted to upload your resume as well can be irritating, it allows a specialist recruitment platform’s smart matching technology to match your skills and your experience in the right roles and to help you. recruiters find the right person for the right job. You must complete all required fields and upload your resume so the system can search your resume for keywords that may not be in your online profile and increase your chances of being shortlisted for the right job.

2. Make your profile memorable

Investing time in creating a great profile is worth it, as it allows technology to do what it does best: match you with a suitable vacancy and/or allow recruiters to find you online. . You can also select the type of job you want to apply for to receive job alerts by email. This way, you’ll be the first to know when opportunities in your preferred job sector become available.

Make your profile stand out from the rest by listing your soft skills as well as your hard skills – fill in as much information as possible in detail. Feel free to share your unique selling point…what you know you can confidently bring to the job and what makes you the best person for the job. Did you obtain distinctions in your higher studies? Have you overseen and led a massively successful project? Have you participated in community improvement initiatives? Thinking about your skills and work experience as well as your personality traits and passions can help you identify your unique selling point.

“It’s a good idea for candidates to share examples of their soft skills, such as responsibility, communication skills, leadership and teamwork, as it gives recruiters a good idea of ​​their fit.” in the corporate culture. The CareerJunction online recruitment platform allows recruiters to work on a list of skills – including soft skills if these have been included in the skills list or CV by the candidate. This helps them identify and filter the most relevant and suitable for the vacancy, and display resumes of candidates who match them,” says Cooper.

3. Avoid wasting time – only apply for the jobs you really want

Job seekers make two common mistakes when looking for a new position. One is to apply for dozens of jobs simultaneously, and the other is to apply for several different jobs in one organization.

Applying to too many jobs can make you feel unfocused or not particularly interested in a specific role. This will discourage recruiters, especially when they see that you have applied for multiple jobs that may require varying skills. There is also a risk that the recruitment platform’s matching technology may not identify you as a suitable candidate for a particular position because your profile has not been matched to a specific job posting. This is why candidates who apply for several jobs at the same time rarely hear from recruiters.

It is not advisable to apply for multiple jobs in the same organization, as recruiters may think you are desperate and will settle for any job – and possibly leave as soon as the right one becomes available. It could also lead to you possibly being offered a lesser plan than you deserve. In the worst case, this could lead the recruiter to simply decide not to shortlist you for an interview. Recruiters want candidates who show enthusiasm for a particular position, as this is a good sign that they won’t leave the company as soon as another opportunity arises.

Present yourself as a high performing artist through the words you use to express your experience and accomplishments. You should also upload your resume in a good layout that tells a logical story of the value you’ve added to your roles and how you’ve grown in your career over time, as online systems use the profile information and search for keywords in your uploaded resume.

4. Make sure your profile, resume, and cover letter meet specific job requirements

If you’re applying for multiple jobs at the same time, chances are you’re not taking the time to tailor your cover letter to the specific requirements of each job. Your chances of successfully landing a new job will be much higher if you take the time to research the company and ensure that your initial pitch meets the criteria identified in the job posting.

Be sure to include details about who you are, why you’re ideal for the vacancy, what you can bring to the role that others might not be able to, and what you’re aiming for in your career right now. Mention specific experience relevant to the position you are applying for and include as many relevant facts as possible in your resume. How many colleagues on your team have been positively affected by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals? Quantifying your accomplishments will impress the recruiter as it will give them a clearer idea of ​​the value you have to offer. Read our blog on how to write a great cover letter.

5. If you get an interview, be prepared

During the interview, recruiters look for several common elements in a candidate: confidence and a positive attitude, good communication skills, the ability to tell concrete examples to demonstrate the answers, enthusiasm for the position advertised, ask thoughtful questions of the interviewer. about the role and the company, showing a solid understanding of the job requirements and being an active listener.

Whether you’re having a face-to-face or virtual interview, dress to impress. Do your research ahead of time to get an idea of ​​the company’s dress code and cultural vibe. When you meet the interviewer, introduce yourself by making eye contact, smiling, and stating your first and last name.

Mirroring certain gestures and attitudes of your interviewer can help create a stronger bond between you and the person interviewing you. For example, if they are lively and expressive when talking, try to show the same level of enthusiasm. If they are calm and serious, on the other hand, lower your own energy a little. Ultimately, recruiters are most impressed with candidates who seem genuinely interested in the company and the position they’re applying for – candidates who have done their research and can market themselves based on that information.

Are you ready to embrace your true potential?

At CareerJunction, we don’t just focus on today and tomorrow. We are here for the long term. We understand that as a Millennial or Gen Z candidate, you may be struggling to find the job market right now. We value people with valuable skills and are passionate about helping job seekers find roles where they are valued.

We take the challenge of matching people and jobs very seriously. With our years of experience, our understanding of the company and the job seeker, and personalized and relevant data, we can establish a match that simply works. Here’s to finding the right fit. Where beliefs and values ​​align. Where skills improve businesses and where businesses value skills. Visit to create your profile or search and apply for available jobs. You can also download the free CareerJunction mobile app to search and apply for jobs 24/7, wherever you are.

Michael J. Birnbaum