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3 ways to be a standout job candidate

Standing out as a job applicant in the impact sector gets harder and harder as the sector grows in popularity. Today, standing out means going above and beyond the obvious requirements of having a carefully crafted cover letter, well-written emails and prompt replies. You’re competing with hundreds of other top quality candidates- so make sure you are doing these three things to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack.

1. Walk the talk.

Even though the right skill set is the main factor considered by impact recruiters, hiring managers are also looking for your commitment to the cause. For example, what volunteer work do you do? It’s important that you do everything you can to show hiring managers that you not only have the skills for the job, but you also have the passion for it.

“My top pieces of advice would be: to demonstrate your commitment by volunteering with a charity or non-profit, or by offering to get involved with a cause supported by your organization; to be on the lookout for gaps or problems in your organization and come up with creative ideas to solve them; and to cultivate and maintain relationships along the way with people of like mind.”

–Shari Austin, former Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Executive Director, RBC Foundation at RBC

“Commitment to volunteerism is very important in the non-profit sector. Being able to demonstrate your commitment to a cause is really important—pick something you like to do and seek out an organization that could use what you have to offer. But don’t look for one-off opportunities. The most useful volunteers are the ones who stick with an organization over time, and your long-term commitment to a cause you believe in is likely to separate you from the pack when applying for meaningful work.”

–Sibel Cicek, Director of Government and Community Relations, Children’s Mental Health Ontario

2. Demonstrate interest in and knowledge of the company.

The candidates who stand out are often those who have taken the time to really learn about the organization, and who then go on to demonstrate that knowledge in their application and interviews.

“As someone who does hiring for a meaningful job, I find lots of people interested but few true standouts. A resumé isn’t enough. You have to demonstrate that you took the time to get to know the topic you’re heading into.”

–Assaf Weisz, Co-founder and Partner, Purpose Capital

“Do your homework in your application and for your interviews. Don’t try to wing it; you can see through people who don’t have a genuine interest in the cause or who haven’t done their research. People can see through that, but true passion is really hard to fake.”

-Adrienne Lo, Head of Living Planet @ Work, WWF Canada

3. Show a cultural fit.

Fit means looking for a company whose mission and actions are aligned with your values and interests. Learn more about the corporate culture and the types of people who work there and be able to articulate why you’re a good fit when the time comes.

“As a job searcher, during informational interviews you should be asking ME tons of questions because you should be walking out of our conversation knowing whether or not our company is for you. Our whole premise is based on reciprocity, so it has to go both ways.”

–Phillip Haid, CEO, Public Inc

This article is derived from a Bmeaningful and MaRS Impact Economy Paper, check it out for more great insider tips on finding a job with impact.

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