How do you land your dream job in a tough economy? The competition is steep, making it almost impossible to get noticed amongst the scores of eager applicants you are competing against. But that doesn’t mean achieving your ideal job is hopeless. With a little extra effort and some creativity, you can grab attention and show potential employers how valuable you are. Here are six ideas to help guide you on your path to career bliss:

Create Your “Brand”.

When executed well, personal branding sets you apart from the crowd. To develop your brand, if you have not already, think about your goals, passions, strengths, skills, personality, and how you want to portray yourself to others, such as potential employers. What niche will your brand focus on? How can your brand portray you in the best possible way to help you stand out as the stellar individual you are?

Share Your Expertise.

To prove you are a worthy hire, establish yourself as an expert in your field or the field you are looking to get into. Writing a blog is one way to do so, especially if you can prove your influence over an audience. Answering questions on sites like Quora, LinkedIn or forums is a fast way showcase your knowledge. Using Facebook or Twitter in conjunction with your blog to curate the best of your niche can give you a distinct advantage. It may also help to brainstorm ways you can add to the conversation, improve on what’s been said before, or do something that’s never been done.

You don’t have to be an expert starting out, as long as you have the desire to learn and the motivation to master the subject quickly. Even just sharing your discoveries and learning process with others who are starting out builds you up as an expert. And by taking the initiative to do some of these activities, you’re also putting desirable skills on full display, such as writing, editing, coding or research.

Preen Social Media Accounts.

What do your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or other social media profiles say about you? Do your profiles have a uniform appearance, such as by using the same professional image and colors? Have you shared anything publicly—photos, videos or status updates—that poorly reflect your brand or that might lower your chances of getting hired? This does not mean you should be inauthentic or boring, but some things are better said, or shared, privately.

Setting up a LinkedIn account is a good idea as a jobseeker and can act as a second, unofficial resume. Connect with anyone you’ve worked with and ask for recommendations. LinkedIn also now has “endorsements”, which is an excellent way to highlight your skills and expertise as viewed by others.

Connect On Social Media.

One way to get noticed by those who might hire you is to connect with them via Twitter or another social media platform. Get a better sense of who they are and what they are looking for by following them first for a while. Then occasionally respond to some of their comments in a friendly way to start putting your name in front of their eyes. You could also contribute something useful to a conversation or answer a question they might have, again bringing you to their attention.

Take A Creative Approach.

A plain old resume will not always get you the job anymore. Recruiters and employers see them every day and regardless of how perfect a fit you might be, if your resume doesn’t stand out, you won’t either. Dozens of dynamic jobseekers have forged new paths in their attempts to get noticed and tell their stories in a compelling way, like the woman who made the first Vine video resume or the guy who created the first iPad app resume.

But you do not have to create videos or apps if that isn’t your forte. Consider a resume makeover to help you stand out. Some companies help jobseekers grab attention with eye-catching creative resumes that not only highlight your experience, but also tell your story, which is particularly helpful if you have gaps in your resume, such as if you have lived abroad for several years.

Proudly Display Your Expat Experience

What special skills has your time as an expat given you that could prove desirable to an employer? Did you start, or help start, a business or organization? Can you speak a foreign language (or multiple languages)? Have you been involved in some life-changing volunteer work? At the very least you might choose to highlight your awesome communication skills or your flexibility and patience gained from interacting in a foreign culture.

Hopefully these suggestions will give you some ideas, but don’t be afraid to break the rules and do something else to stand out in a way that best reflects you. Or adapt these ideas to not only suit you, but the country you are seeking a job in. Then wait for those interview requests to roll in. Good luck!

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