Almost daily, applicants question why they were not chosen over someone else for a particular job opening. Rarely do they grasp the reality the job search is a competition against other applicants and the one appearing to have the most marbles wins. If you know why you should be chosen over all other applicants, that should be your introduction in the form of a cover-sheet to your resume or application. In some instances, this can be the summary at the top of your resume. Don’t have a resume? Then, at least create a cover sheet to accompany your application. Selling yourself to the prospective employer is important to a successful job search.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see hastily assembled resumes and poorly written applications. People consider these two instruments to represent an applicant’s very best qualities. Would you hire someone who spent little effort on these two very important items? From a prospective employer’s point of view, what do you think an incomplete application says about someone?
Want the stability, respect, and recognition a great job can afford you? Well, you must first put the effort in the process. Toot your own horn to receive the attention and recognition you deserve. Ask yourself what values you bring to the table and address those in a brief summary. Take whatever time is necessary to create an attractive paragraph of your best marketable attributes and skills. You may even want to create different summaries to directly address different types of jobs. Remember, if you cannot get your foot in the door, the opportunity to prove yourself will be slim at best.
Companies look for good work ethics and practiced skills that are important to the success of their business. Do you possess those qualities? If so, demonstrate quickly that you possess those traits in a brief statement. This will be the introduction to your resume, or cover-sheet for your application. Create a summary enticing enough to stop the employer from flipping applications and focus on you. Doing this one simple task will place ahead of 60% of your competition.
Not happy with your job search results? A few simple changes in your process will significantly improve your callback ratio. Not happy with your job search results? A few simple changes in your process will significantly improve your callback ratio.
- Study your resume. Does the top half contain all the appropriate keywords the job position is listing? At the very least, your resume should have a career or skills statement at the top that contains those keywords. When applying for different positions, customize that statement to include their specific keywords.
- Do not spend more the 10% of your time browsing the big job boards. Surveys show these have the lowest possible chance of success with the greatest competition. Your return on efforts spend are seldom rewarded.
- Every day, MAIL at least 3 resumes a day to companies you would like to work for. Address them to your boss’s boss – not HR, and write “personal/confidential” in the lower left-hand corner. The idea here is for the big boss to give your information to the person you would be working under. In this way, it looks like his boss is recommending you. This “direct marketing” gets your information two steps past the resume boards and directly in front of the decision maker.
- Improve on your Personal Network of working people at different companies. Make at least three contacts toward this goal. The more working people that are made aware of your job search, the better chances you have of getting that “inside” job referral. Remember, over 60% of jobs are filled through these types of referrals. These opportunities are never posted anywhere. Be one of the lucky ones.
- Keep your online profiles and status updated on all social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, where ever.
- Be active in groups, blogs, and social circles – those that might have inside information to job openings and would likely refer you for the opportunity. Again, over 60% of jobs are filled through referrals.
- Even if it is not your area of interest, consider working contract or temp jobs to your foot in the door. The object is to get people to notice you. People appreciate talent only after they see it in action.
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Recently, I was reading an article from Undercover Recruiter. The survey results were not too surprising to us from the older generations, but many in the under 40 crowd will definitely not like the findings. Of 2000 bosses surveyed, 33% said they knew within the first 90 seconds of the interview whether they would hire the applicant or not.
What you need to know in a nutshell:
- 65% said clothes and the way in which they were worn was a deciding factor when comparing applicants. If they did not dress to the interviewer’s standards… forget it. File 13.
- 55% said the way a person dresses, walks into the office and acts heavily influenced their opinion of the person. Dress, act, walk in like you don’t care – the company will not care either.
- 67% of the hiring authorities said the lack of eye contact did not reflect well
- Number one request: “Tell me about yourself.” Practice your answer and get it right.
- Number one mistake: Not asking for the job.
- Having no knowledge of what the company does is one of the most common mistakes. If you don’t care enough about the company to visit their website, then they don’t need you.
Other items that knocked applicants out of the running were: not smiling, bad posture, crossing your arms, and the lack of enthusiasm. Additional questions you should be prepared for are:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Tell me about how your experience relates to this job.
- Why did you leave your last job?
Now that you know this: be prepared, look the part of a person who wants the job, and know what job you are going after. Good luck!