How to set yourself apart from everyone else is one of the hardest things to do in an interview.
Face it; no matter how great your experience, how extensive your education or how perfect your personality, there will always be a competitor who scores just a tiny bit higher than you do. So what can you do to stand out from the others? Try this the next time you have an interview:
Do your homework prior to the meeting. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle and another across the top forming a “T.”
On one side write down all of the skills, experience and education you can bring to the company as well as all of the things you are looking for in a job and an organization. This includes location, company size, opportunities for growth and just about anything else you can think of that would make a position perfect for you.
On the other side, list the skills and experience the job description asks for as well as information about corporate culture, location, benefits and other organizational information.
Now compare the job description and company data with your list and see how well you match. If you find your skills, experience and corporate desires are very different from what the company is looking for and what they can offer you, consider not wasting your time or their time by trying to force yourself to fit. On the other hand, if your exemplary skills and employment desires match closely (it does not have to be perfect, just close) the needs set forth by the job description and the organizations culture this may be a perfect home for you.
Next make a clean neat copy of your “T” graph and bring it to the interview along with your cover letter and resume. Generally, at the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have questions or if there is anything you would like to add. At that point ask your questions (always have at least 3 or 4 questions for them) then, just before the interview wraps up, let them know you are excited about the prospect of this opportunity and here is why; pull out the “T” graph and show them how, not only do you fit the needs of the company, but the company and the job fit perfectly what you are looking for in a position.
There is never any guarantee as to how the interviewer will accept your assessment, but my guess is you will stand out not only as a creative person but also as one who really does their homework and knows exactly what they want. On the other hand if they don’t see it that way, well, maybe it’s not the company you really want to work at after all.