Searching for a job is tough. Not only for the interviewer but also the hiring manager. So in the ever-changing world of social media, how do you stand out? Here are some simple tips to get your resume to the top of the pile and get an interview. First up, the resume:
- Keep your resume to a page, especially if applying for an entry level position. How are you going to be able to keep a tweet under 140 characters if you can’t keep your resume to a page?
- Saving your resume as a PDF ensures that it will be received by your future employer exactly the way you intended it to. Other formats can often have formatting errors when opened on another computer.
- Include hyperlinks, especially when applying for a social media position. Examples beyond your resume are helpful to give your application more personality and depth. Include links to an online portfolio, but if you don’t have one, also include a link to your LinkedIn, Instagram page and more.
- Streamline your resume to have a clean design. Even if you are a design novice, keep it simple and lose any distractions like too many fonts or colors. Let your experience speak for itself.
- Cross reference your experience with the job description. Are there similar tasks you are performing at your current or past position? Make sure those skills stand out among the rest.
Okay, now your resume is ready! Next up, the cover letter. As someone searching for a job, it can be time-consuming to create a custom cover letter for each job you apply to. Although, a hiring manager can sniff out a carbon copy quickly. Use this cover letter as an opportunity to let your personality be heard and communicate any selling points or reasoning as to why you are the perfect hire that can’t be displayed in your resume. Here are some tips on the type of content to provide in your cover letter:
- Why is this specific position the perfect one for you? It seems obvious, but most cover letters received are extremely vague – so vague that they can be copied and pasted over and over for multiple job searches. Treat your job search like an ad campaign; you would never advertise yourself – the brand – the same way to two completely different audiences. What specific skills do you have that are crucial to this position?
- Answer anything that might cause your hiring manager concern from reviewing your resume. For instance, do you only have experience in fashion but want to get into the tech industry? Explain why you want to make the switch in your cover letter. Are you currently living across the country from the job you are applying for? Explain that you are willing to relocate to be closer to family. Put yourself in the shoes of the person about to read your resume and answer anything unsaid in your cover letter.
- Remember to proof, proof, proof. If you are applying for a position and have errors in your application (or even worse, the wrong company’s name), it’s not very reassuring that you have a great attention to detail. Review it multiple times. Then have your friend, mom and dog look it over too.
Now you have the tools you need to hand over to your future employer. Do your research and read the fine print of the job description. Do they prefer you apply on their company website, e-mail or job listing? Do you know the hiring manager’s name? These details get your resume to the right person, the right way, faster.
If you made it this far and received a response, your first interaction with the hiring manager is crucial. You can tell so much about a person in just the way they coordinate a meeting time. After all, this is how you will be communicating with clients, co-workers and more. Try to be as flexible and clear as possible by offering several different times you are available during your potential employer’s business hours. Be pleasant and accommodating and try to keep your interactions brief. Save all the good stuff for your interview where you are sure to wow your future employer!
Now remember, after all of this, applying for a new job often times is a combination of crazy timing and luck. Finding the right person, company or opportunity at the exact time that someone else is looking for the right person, company or opportunity is tricky. If you get discouraged, always remember that the right opportunity is out there for you. Just keep swimming!