Wonder why you didn’t hear back from the hiring manager after submitting your resume? After discussing job search mistakes with some of my Recruitment team, we readily agreed that this is a ‘must know’ topic and worth reviewing again and again.
Some tips on how to avoid key mistakes. Hey – it’s in the details.
Read the job description. Apply for a position that is relevant to your work experience. Don’t apply to jobs that are irrelevant or well beyond your experience level. If this experience has been gained through a co-op placement or academic courses, this should be highlighted in a cover letter. Be clear.
Highlight your experience. In this tight job market, the most clear and relevant resume will get face time. Think about your experience and highlight in a sentence or two where you have made achievements in the area related to the job you are applying for. Make sure that your resume shows no signs of the last job application you made – check for job objective and statements of your key skills. This is your chance to highlight key accomplishments that are measurable and endorsable by a reference. You can translate past experience into relevant work or volunteer highlights by showing examples of skill. For example, “In my role at ABC Company, I took the initiative to change courier companies. This provided ABC Company with better service level and cost savings!” (Your initiative is what will stand out)
The cover letter. And you thought preparing the resume was a drag. The cover letter is a key tool to getting short-listed. Too many people overlook this. It is the ‘executive summary’ of your resume. This is an opportunity for you to highlight your best points. If you are emailing your resume, you will want to treat the email body of the text as the ‘official’ cover letter – don’t add it as an attachment! This is the place where you can paraphrase one of your past employer’s or past professor’s statements about your skill set.
Keep track of jobs you’ve applied for. Nothing is more embarrassing or unprofessional than sending off your resume, or applying for a job online, then getting a phone call from a prospective employer and having no idea who they are and what job it was you were applying for. Keep detailed notes of when, where and to whom you have sent your resume. Keep a copy of the cover letter or email text you sent each person. Do your research on the company so that you are informed. The internet is a gift.
Beware of carelessness when emailing attachments. Safest bet is to name your personalized resume for the specific job you’ve applied to by your first and last name and current year (i.e. Jane Smith 2009). Save your resume as an RTF file – this way the reader cannot see all of your ‘work in progress’ changes made to the resume. And I know I’ve said it before, but consider the photo you have in your Facebook or Linkedin profile – many companies now have the Outlook plug-in ‘xobni’ which attaches your profile picture to your email account. Only the xobni user will see this. Keep it professional – you can now be seen!
Too public, too hasty. Remember this when sending out your resume by email: if you send your resume to multiple unrelated prospect companies, including agencies, and cc them in the same email, you will most likely be deleted. This action shows a distinct lack of judgement and consideration of privacy, both theirs and yours. And read and re-read not only your resume but also the cover letter that goes in the body of your email. Grammatical errors will move you down the list very quickly. Consider getting one of your professors, past or current, to review it. They can also provide value by acting as one of your references.
Your job search is your recipe for success. It takes time to get it right. Only you know the secret ingredients. And in this fast moving information age, take the steps to make sure you set up your ‘job search ingredients’ to get the best outcome!
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