Applying for jobs can be mentally and physically exhausting. Pouring hours into searching for the perfect position at the perfect company, only to never hear back from the hiring manager will always be a huge letdown. Check out these 5 helpful tips to help step up your game and get an immediate response from hiring managers.
1. Make sure you’re qualified for the position – This should go without saying, but nothing gets a resume thrown out faster than an unqualified candidate. A quick glance at the “Requirements” section of a job description should give you a general idea about the types of skills and the level of competency the hiring manager hopes to recruit. If the only requirements you meet are the incredibly vague ones, you probably aren’t the best fit.
Not to toot our own horn, but if you’re still a little unsure about how you may stack up against other applicants, Smarterer can be a great tool to use to gauge your proficiency in hundreds of different areas. This can be especially useful if it’s your first foray into the work-world, or if you’re in the middle of a career change. Smarterer user Raymond V. fell into the latter category and noted, “Having something objective to measure myself against helped me validate my resume.”
2. Do your research – Never send your resume to a company if you don’t know their CEO from their CTO. Research is a vital component during the job search, and leveraging it to your advantage can push you further along the recruitment process. Seeking out a company’s top players, previous projects, and corporate culture is a good place to start.
It’s not always easy being a job search sleuth, but online tools like Vault and Glassdoor can make your job a lot easier. Both sites allow users to see unedited opinions regarding company culture, CEO approval ratings, and salary information among many other things. This information becomes extremely helpful when you begin to tailor your cover letter and resume to each company.
3. Get creative with the subject line of your email – This is your first opportunity to stand out from the hundreds of other applicants. Don’t get lost in a pile of resumes by using a generic subject line. Career advice blogger Lei Han suggests using 6-10 words that highlight your best qualifications. The example she gives is “Position Title + Years of Experience + Industry Experience +Education”. You could even jazz it up a little bit by writing something like “Project Manager w/ MBA Seeks Challenging Work”, or, “Dedicated Programmer, Will Work for Cache”. Subject lines with this information are a great way to show off your personality, and will immediately grab the attention of hiring managers.
4. Ditch the general cover letter, and don’t limit yourself to email! Hiring managers are looking for any excuse to narrow down the talent pool – sending a stock cover letter will make their decision a lot easier. Tailor your resume to each job you apply to by using the information you learned while researching the position. Dan Anderson, a partner at the executive search firm C Anderson and Associates, feels that “if the candidate has taken the time to tailor the cover letter and bring out how their background meets the qualifications I want, my impression is going to be that they’re a sharp individual.”
If you see the company has a playful and creative feel to it, show them you’re the most creative candidate in their pile! Colin Kersley and Graeme Anthony are my two favorite examples of using creativity to think outside the stifling job search box. Colin used ink and paper to create a game show-esq resume that he hand delivered to the hiring manager of his dream job. Graeme created an awesomely interactive CV, posted it to YouTube, and then sat back as hundreds of hiring managers from all over the world persuaded him to join their companies.
It’s extremely important to choose the right tools for the job. What worked for Colin Kersley and Graeme Anthony in their creative industries wouldn’t work nearly as well on Wall Street.
5. Revise, Revise, Revise – Completing steps 1 through 4 is often a long and tedious process. Don’t ruin your hard work by being ‘two’ lazy to do some major revising.
Have more tips that will make you instantly irresistible to a hiring manager? Share them with us in the comments section!