Trying to find a job is rough, especially in these times. You can’t just fill out an application anymore.
When a job is posted, hundreds of unemployed people are scrambling to get to the next step – an interview. If you expect to get noticed just by filling out a general application with no resume or cover letter, you might just be sorely mistaken.
When an employer goes to hire someone and has to sort through hundreds of applications, your application or resume MUST STAND OUT.
Here are some tips to land that job:
Job Hunting tips:
1. Don’t apply for anything that you are not qualified for. Since hundreds of people are scrambling for the same position, employers can be picky – and they want someone who knows what they are doing.
2. Ask for job leads from friends, family members, people in the community, and staff at career centers. Let’s be honest. Sometimes, it’s simply about WHO YOU KNOW. If your friend can give a good recommendation at his work, you’re probably a shoe-in.
3. “Knock on doors.” Simply go door-to-door at employers where you qualify for work and ask if they are looking for any help. Sometimes they aren’t looking to hire, but will let you fill out an application. Do it, but leave a resume with it and tell them you’ll call them in a couple of days to see if their situation has changed.
4. Look in the yellow pages for any employers even remotely similar to work you can do. Call them or stop by.
SO…YOU FOUND A JOB YOU’RE INTERESTED IN APPLYING TO…NOW WHAT?
1. Resumes are like business cards – they need to be short, sweet and to the point. They need to stand out from the pack.
2. Think creatively and “out of the box.” Most people put their name and contact information at the top and then list employment, education and skill information chronologically. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS. You can do anything you want with your resume. You can put a quote at the top, a picture or both. You don’t have to list dates of where you worked. (This might be a beneficial tip for those who have job-hopped.)
3. Keep the resume to one page unless you are applying for a super high up job and need to list all our many qualifications.
4. Check out books at your local library that show sample resumes and cover letters. One I like is the Knock ‘Em Dead series: Resumes that Knock ‘Em Dead and Cover Letters that Knock ‘Em Dead by Martin Yate.
Cover letter tips:
For many people, cover letters are scary and time-consuming. But think about it. If you do one, then you have just taken that extra step in differentiating your application from the others.
1. DO make sure that your name, contact info and the business’s name and contact info are listed on the top. Also, don’t forget the date.
2. DON’T start a letter off with, “To Whom it May Concern,” unless you absolutely do not know who the company is or who the business professional is. For example, I’ve seen ads in the paper that say, “Send resume to PO BOX 1234 Any town,” – the line here would be appropriate.
3. Again, be creative. Don’t bore the people to tears. Show how excited you are about your profession in general and the position specifically. Tell why you are writing and what you hope to achieve.
4. Tell them why you are the best candidate for the job using their needs. For example, if the ad says that a successful candidate would be computer literature, you’d want to say something like, “I see that you are in need of someone who is computer literate. As stated on my resume, not only did I test out of all my Technology courses in college, but I taught Technology to a summer school class.”
5. Be professional but likable and include any relevant job information. Then, ask to be considered for the next step in the application process.
6. Type your name four lines after your closing statement so you can sign your name in pen.
Watch out for scams:
Some of the worst places to look for a job are on the computer. Craiglist is one of the worst. I don’t know a single person that has found a valid position listed on the site. Most respond to your resumes by asking you to fill out credit information. DO NOT GIVE THIS INFORMATION OUT!
Indeed.com and other websites seem like provide awesome information, but usually when you apply to a job on those, it gets sent straight to a recruiter and usually ignored. What a waste of time!
If you do everything right, you might just make it to the next part of the application process…the interview…