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Show, Don't tell: The Modern Approach to Job Hunting

Ilinca Draganescu


It's Time For Recruitment To Become A Sustainable ...

The Context  By now, you must be sick of articles beginning with ‘ever since the pandemic’. But it’s...


Remember show ‘n’ tell back in grade school? Those were great days, huh? You got to bring in your favorite toy and tell your classmates all about how your uncle gave it to you for your last birthday, then you were the star of the playground that afternoon, giving everybody a chance to play with it. Good times.

The trick to landing the perfect job is showing, not telling, them what you're about.

These days, you find yourself in the market for a new job and may find yourself asked to talk about your accomplishments, projects, and former workplaces in a sort of modified, grownup version of show ‘n’ tell. And we promise, at some point, you will be asked to “tell me about your favorite project at your last job,” or “what work output are you most proud of?”


We’re here to tell you that the way forward in today’s candidate-focused job market is to start with the show, then and only then move on to the tell. By putting your best work out there for potential employers and recruiters to see for themselves, you can head off these awkward questions and let your best work speak volumes on your behalf.


With that, we present our top 5 ways you can display your talents for recruiters, without having to say a word.

Gamified Recruiting Platforms


There are many job boards and recruiting platforms out there these days, so how do you choose the best one(s) for your search? Well, let us tell you—go where the games are. No, really. These recent additions to the job board world are making waves, and getting in on the action early ensures you the pick of employers and will let you make use of their groundbreaking new AI-backed technology to help you get in front of the recruiters you want to be seen by.


The academies and challenges offered by these platforms are most often in the form of engaging games, so you may not even notice that your coding skills are being tested, or that your ability to work as a team player is being assessed, until you’re done and being approached by a recruiter from your favorite app developer about a position with them.


The badges and certifications offered by most gamified solutions let you put your best foot forward by showing recruiters exactly what skills you bring to the table. Meanwhile, the back-end AI is combining these skills with your personality assessment scores to present you as a total package to recruiters.

Portfolios: Not Just For Creatives Anymore


That’s right, as a developer you can, and should if we’re honest, have a portfolio of work available for all to see. Recent grads take note, even if you’re looking at UX developer roles, get a project up and on display ASAP so you can start showing recruiters what you’re all about. Many boot camps actually end with a project that you built from the ground up, that you can use to start building your portfolio (as well as a certification in your language of choice to back it up).


Or for you designers out there, even if you’ve been working for several years and have a great CV ready, designing a homepage where you can show off your chops is probably the fastest way to convey to recruiters just what you bring to the table. Let your work speak for itself, and don’t worry if you don’t have an extensive history, build a project from scratch to get started. Then, when you submit an application, modify it to match the company where you’re applying to really win them over!

Certifications Give Recruiters an At-A-Glance Preview of Your Skills


We mentioned certifications in passing a moment ago but would like to go into a bit more detail here. There are industry-standard certifications for just about any profession you can imagine. If you’re new to the job market and don’t have an extensive work history or portfolio bursting with stunning projects yet, never fear! Find yourself a boot camp in your field and get to work.


Many organizations offer self-paced learning opportunities that end with a certification and a digital badge that you can add to all of your profiles so everyone will know you’ve got the skills. There’s nothing stopping you from getting that Python cert, or HR cert, or customer service cert, and showing off that badge on all your online profiles for the world to see. Not to mention bragging rights on social media…

Get Your Recommendations in Order


This suggestion holds true for every job hunter out there, not just the experienced career folks. Get your teammates, managers, coworkers, or college professors to write up a recommendation you can include on your profiles, CVs, and applications.


Get full marks on your final project in computer science? Get your professor to write up a quick blurb about what a team player you are and the amazing work you did keeping the project on track. Did you take our advice and complete a boot camp? Along with your certification badge, see if the teacher or a teammate is willing to write something up for you to include when you put that final project in your portfolio.


People trust other people, so these recommendations go a long way to up your stock with potential employers because they show them what you bring to the emotional intelligence side of the skills equation. The focus of many recruiters these days is the soft skills a candidate brings to the table since a major goal is finding the right cultural fit for their company. Recommendations show them what you have to offer in the same way your portfolio displays your hard skills.

Get Ahead of the Game


The whole point of these steps is to put your work, skills, and personality on full display before ever talking with a recruiter. By showing them the answers to those awkward interview questions well in advance of an actual interview, you can get ahead of the game while you’re still in the “getting to know you” stage of your candidacy.


Get yourself organized early, in fact, even those of you who are currently working can benefit from compiling a portfolio and asking around for recommendations. Having these pieces at the ready just in case something happens at your current employer means you’re setting yourself up for resilience in the face of the unknown. 


Being ready to show, not tell, potential employers what you’re all about is the key to placing yourself at the top of the quality candidate list for just about any employer. And the fact that any job seeker can do this, regardless of experience, age, or length of time in chosen career makes it all the more powerful a tool to have in your job seeker arsenal.


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