With thousands of applicants in any one application portal, it can be impossible to connect with hiring managers and make your application rise to the top. In order to stand out from the crowd, it is essential to take a human-first approach in an automated, cut-and-dry hiring process. We spoke with Lashaunique Plummer, founder of Balangize, a career coaching program, on how to connect directly with hiring managers and stand out. She offers advice to her clients on how to land a fulfilling career and offers a radical approach to career satisfaction.

Here are a few tips from Plummer on how to make your application stand out and leave a lasting impression on hiring managers. 

Lean Into Referrals

Plummer emphasizes the importance of referrals. Applicants who are referred are 15 times more likely to land a job. These applicants stand out more because they come from a known and trusted employee. While you can certainly get referrals from family and friends, utilizing targeted networking strategies to gain referrals is essential to hiring success.

Limit Your Use of AI/Chat GPT

While AI saves time and can help generate a lot of ideas, it should not be the main tool in your arsenal. Plummer encourages job seekers to start with their authentic voice and self. Utilizing your true voice avoids confusion and prevents you from sounding robotic.

“Too much AI usage will likely cause a level of disconnect,” Plummer says. “While it may not be obvious at first, recruiters and managers will subconsciously or consciously feel a misalignment.”

Have a Strong and Cohesive Brand

Your resume, LinkedIn and how you articulate your skills during interviews should all align. Plummer encourages you to ask yourself two key questions: “What are the most relevant skills I want to highlight?” and “What am I the ‘go-to’ for?” Find ways to ensure those things are front and center. 

“You will surely stand out when the best parts of you are highlighted,” Plummer says. “It will attract managers that need exactly what you already have.”

To learn more networking strategies, tune into Balangize, the podcast.