How to be a star candidate

While seeking out a new opportunity can be a challenge, the question I often get from job seekers is “how do I get an interview, or how do I get in the door?” In order to do this, you need to become a star candidate. What are the things that will make you stick out? Why should we look at you over other candidates? These are a few of the questions that you should be asking so you can shine in the interview process.

The biggest challenge in the hiring and interview process comes with the sheer challenge as most thing in life, not enough time. For the hiring managers and recruiters- there are not enough hours in the day to review every resume in great detail, do a phone interview with every candidate, meet every candidate face to face and then make decisions from there. In order to get that interview and make a lasting impression – you really need to know what sets you apart, what makes you the one that gets hired? With that being said here are the four few quick tips from the acronym STAR that can help you with this process:

S - Stand Out, what makes you unique? Why are you qualified for this position over others? The interview process is not a time to be shy. This is the opportunity for you to sell yourself to the company, if you don’t believe in yourself it is going to be a lot harder for others to believe in you. Be confident in your abilities and weaknesses. What is going to make you a memorable candidate?

T - Take your Time, when applying for a position- take your time. Make sure the job is something that you would want to have. Make sure you are comfortable with the company and requirements of the position. If you are reading a job description and have zero desire to work at that company or position, move along. It does neither party any good if you are applying for jobs with no interest. Take your time and look for positions that motivate you and find a company where you can see yourself truly working.

A - Avoid Errors, your resume is the first opportunity the employer gets to see a glimpse of you; although we all make mistakes, errors on the resume give off the impression of sloppiness or not caring. If you want the job, your resume needs to be accurate. Use your network of friends, teachers, professional acquaintances to review your resume and edit.

R - Research the company beforehand, know some basic facts about the company so you can ask educated questions. Remember, this interview isn’t just the company interviewing you- but also your opportunity to interview the company. A few well thought out questions about the company can make you stand out, and assist in solidifying a face to face interview.


That's it! If you take even a few of these things into consideration it will help increase your chances of being an out of this world candidate, that just might land the job.

Have more questions, or need advice? Reach out to me, I am happy to help. Contact me at

Happy job hunting!

Erin JohnsonErin is a native of Council Bluffs and worked for Peters Personnel throughout high school and college with her aunt, Joanne Peters (founder of Peters Personnel). The opportunity arose in 2011 for Erin to work full time for the agency. She really enjoys getting to know local businesses more thoroughly and help them with their staffing needs. Johnson has always been heavily involved in school and community organizations. She is currently the President of Council Bluffs Noon Rotary and Leadership Council Bluffs alumnae. She serves on the Rotary Board, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa Board Advisory Committee, Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs Board and a volunteer youth soccer coach.

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