Whether you’re applying for a job through a recruiting agency or you’ve been asked by a human resources employee to write up your own job application, there are certain things you need to avoid and others you need to play up to the right ears. Here’s what you need to know.
Focus On The Good
No matter what kind of resume or cover letter you’re using, your aim should be on the good side and not the bad. You want to make sure that the people you’re writing to know what you can do and how you can help them. This means showing your strengths but also acknowledging your weaknesses. You may even want to include some story about a time when something went wrong but you handled it well. This is your chance to shine and make the right impression.
As for weaknesses, you don’t need to hide them but you also don’t want to dwell on them either. Bringing them up only when necessary is a good idea. For example, if you’re interviewing with a company that doesn’t have an office in your city, you might want to mention how much you hate long-haul driving. If asked about a weakness, you can say you’re not sure you’ve got one yet but that you’re open to suggestions. You don’t want to appear arrogant by bragging about your strengths when the person you’re talking to has something to offer that you don’t know about yet. The goal is to appear open-minded while still being proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Dress To Impress
When Robert Half wrote about the most effective ways to dress for a job interview, they suggested that men should try wearing a suit and a tie and women should wear something more traditional like a skirt or slacks. Suits aren’t entirely uncommon these days but you probably shouldn’t be seeing too many ties either. The point is to look professional and put your best foot forward. If you’re going to be applying for a job that demands a lot of traveling, you might want to consider getting a haircut before you head out. Thicker, shorter hair looks much better on the road. It makes you appear more confident and helps you avoid becoming a distraction to the people around you. Traveling is one of the most common reasons people give for having a job interview, so make sure you look your best.
Keep Your Social Media Activity Appropriate
Let’s be honest, we’re all on social media, whether we like it or not. It’s an important tool for job seekers and an even more important one for employers. You don’t need to get rid of your social media accounts, you just need to know what kind of content you should be posting and when. If you’re applying for a job at a school, public library, or non-profit organization, you might want to keep your account free from any controversial posts or speeches. Employers might not agree with your ideas or your delivery, and that could make you very unpopular at your new place of employment.
Always Follow Up
In an ideal world, you’d follow up each and every email you send out with a phone call. While it’s not always possible, you should be making the best of each and every contact you have, whether it’s with a hiring manager, a career counselor, or a recruiter. Sometimes all it takes is a simple thank you to get a response. If you don’t get some kind of response after a few days, it could be time to try again with a different approach.
The key to getting results is following up. Even if you send out 50 applications and never get a single call back, you can be sure that someone somewhere is reading your resume. Sometimes all it takes is a little persistence. That little bit of effort can lead you to the opportunity of a lifetime.
Is it still possible to get a job without a resume? Sure, but with each job application you send out, you’re decreasing your odds of getting hired. A few things you can do to put yourself in the best possible position include:
1. Get A Resume
A resume is an easy way to stand out from the rest of the applicants and demonstrate why you’re the perfect person for the job. It doesn’t have to be long, just a summary of your work experience and academic history that’s easy to read. You can also include a small writing sample that’s relevant to the position.
If you have a resume, you can be sure that you’re doing everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Make sure you’re keeping your resume up-to-date and including all your relevant experience. Even if you don’t have a formal resume, it’s never too late to start creating one. There are a variety of templates you can use to make it simple to get started.
2. Customize Your Cover Letter
A cover letter is a letter that’s included with your resume to give the prospective employer more information about you. It’s usually longer than the resume and used to introduce yourself to the reader. Your cover letter should be personalized and fit the job you’re applying for. It shouldn’t just copy and paste from your resume. The cover letter is often the first thing the employer will read, so make sure you put your best foot forward with a personalized cover letter. You can also include a short bio about yourself.
There are many different kinds of cover letters, so make sure you find out what the employer is looking for. Are they looking for a salesman with a specific amount of experience? Someone with a specific education or certification? Someone who has worked in a particular industry or area? The list goes on and on.
If you’re writing a cover letter for a specific job, make sure you tailor it to that particular job. It’s easy to overlook a minor detail like typos and spelling errors when you’re so focused on putting your best foot forward with a winning letter, but the employer will know you as a person who takes their business seriously enough to focus on the little things.
3. Try Different Ways To Apply
If you’re using a recruiting agency, ask them about alternative ways to apply. Some companies and some positions only want to interview internal candidates. If you don’t fit that description but you still want to work for the company, ask about alternative ways to apply. Sometimes being unique can get you an edge in an otherwise competitive field.
Sometimes a job offer can come out of nowhere. If you don’t believe this is the case, try applying for a job you think you’re not qualified for just to see what happens. Many times, without knowing it, you’re applying for a job that requires someone with more experience than you have. Going through the motions is a waste of time and can even hurt your chances of getting employed. Look at everything you’ve got and don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is a lot more than just sending out an application. Good luck out there.