3 Ways to Stand Out Among 1 Million Applicants

Marillyn Hewson

Lockheed Martin, Chairman, President and CEO

3 Ways to Stand Out Among 1 Million Applicants

Sep 23, 2015

On average, Lockheed Martin receives approximately one million job applications a year, from which we hire about 10,000 employees — about 1 percent. We work very hard to make sure we are getting the right 1 percent from that very large pool of talent.

Certainly, a well-written resume, a professional appearance, and an attentive demeanor (put that phone away before walking into the interview, please) all help make your case as an attractive candidate.

However, when I hire, there are three crucial pieces of information that tell me something I can’t easily learn from a résumé. These factors help me gauge how a potential employee will fit into our broader organization, and how successful he or she will be later in their careers.

With that in mind, here are three things to keep in mind the next time you apply for a job.

First, can you tell me why you are the right candidate for this job?

When you come in for your interview, tell me what inspired you to want to work on our team. Did one of our people tell you about the exciting work they are doing? Were you amazed by one of our products? Is there something in your nature that makes our mission particularly attractive?

Make sure you can clearly articulate what the position is you are applying for, and why your experience and talents make you the best fit for this job. The interview room is not the time to develop your elevator speech.

Second, have you done your homework?

In my experience, the most successful candidates spend just as much time researching our company as we spend researching their qualifications. Many companies, Lockheed Martin included, have webpages dedicated to connecting applicants with recruiters, job fairs, and employee testimonials. You can also find descriptions of the organization’s products, programs, customers, mission and core values.

Take advantage of that information, and take the time to learn about the company beyond what it says in the job description. And be prepared to have a two-way conversation. I want candidates who are thoughtful about how they make decisions — particularly important ones like career choices.

Third, do you know where you want to go from here?

Successful candidates should also be able to tell me where they want to go and how they want to grow with our organization.

Demonstrating a long-term perspective about the company and an understanding of the skills and experiences you will need to support the company in the future are even more important. I want people who are looking at how today’s job positions them for the next level so they can add the most value to the organization during their career. I want people who show me they want to learn, to be challenged, and to grow as professionals. These are the people I’ve found to make the biggest difference.

If you’ve done your homework, learned about who we are, and came away convinced that this was the right place for you, your enthusiasm for the position will say a lot about you as a potential employee. And your enthusiasm for the job can translate into our enthusiasm for your candidacy.

Our best hires aren’t simply the best and brightest candidates. They are also the ones who understand why Lockheed Martin is the right place for them. They have a clear sense of how our company aligns with their career goals, their aspirations, and their values.

And they make sure we know it during the hiring process. So next time you apply for a job, even as you highlight your best experiences and qualifications, think about this fundamental question: Can you tell me why you are the right person for this job?