Using Your Job Application to Get Noticed
Finding a job posting that interests you and sounds like it would be a good fit is a tedious task in itself, but once you find one, you then have even more work to do. You must send over your resume and cover letter, which are critical in landing you an interview. With all the pressure surrounding a piece of paper, it can be a little nerve-racking, but there are a few tips to make the process a little simpler.
Revamp Your Resume
Your resume provides a quick snapshot of who you are, with the goal of securing an interview. The basic format of a resume includes your contact information, summary statement, education, experience, skills, and qualifications. The most important aspect of your resume, other than correct contact information, is your summary statement, as it is a short description of your career accomplishments and future ambitions. Remember that employers receive hundreds of resumes and applications for each of their open positions, and it isn’t likely that they are going to read your resume word-for-word. Having a strong summary statement at the top of your resume means the employer is more likely to read it, so use this to your advantage and grab their attention. Take it a step further by reading over the job posting to see which skills are important to the company. If you have those skills, be sure to include them.
Skills are an important part of the resume too, and will be helpful if you lack the work experience the employer is looking for. Rather than just providing a list of your skills, make sure you back them up by telling the employer how you acquired those skills and why it is an asset. Consider creating a custom resume for each job position to draw attention to the skills and experience you have that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Although it takes time to write and edit your resume, it is worth the effort. To customize it, make sure your skills and experience match closely with the job description or job ad, and work the keywords from the job posting into your resume. Keep in mind that if you don’t possess the skill they ask for, don’t put it on your resume. Your resume should be an accurate representation of you.
Craft Your Cover Letter
As a job seeker, you’ve provided the potential employer with a resume, application, and a list of references, so they have plenty of information already. Sometimes they will require a cover letter, and it can be hard to determine what else they could possibly need to know from you. A proper cover letter will demonstrate your grasp of the job requirements, and give you the opportunity to explain in more detail how your skills and experience match the job. Cover letters can be as unique as you’d like, but should include a greeting and a paragraph or two that explains how your skills are a perfect fit for the job, as well as how your past achievements and experience relate to the job. Be sure to provide a closing statement that includes how you can be contacted.
The biggest mistake most job seekers make is that their cover letter is a repeat of their resume. Do some research and make sure you understand the culture of the company so that you can write with that voice in mind. Determine what business problems they may be experiencing and use your cover letter to explain how you would address them. The application and resume are straightforward, but your cover letter is your time to show a little bit of your personality and explain what makes you stand out from the other pool of candidates. Keep in mind that some job postings don’t require a cover letter, but it doesn’t hurt to include one anyway. You won’t be ruled out because you went the extra mile, and it could be that extra mile that catches their attention.
Applying for jobs is tedious work, and after a while you may lose count of how many applications you’ve completed. Make sure you take the time to craft your resume and cover letter to better your chances of getting an interview. The extra effort could be worth it in the end.
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