4 Tips to Cover the Job Search Details
These days, we all have a need for speed. Whether it’s how fast we can get a song to download, how much work we can cram into the workday, or even how long we can tolerate waiting in line at the local coffee shop, most of us want things done immediately, if not sooner. Hiring managers are not immune from this fast and furious sensibility. Faced with their own set of time-strapped to-do lists, hiring managers often have to make particularly swift decisions early-on in the recruitment process. When a hiring manager receives resumes from job seekers they have to make a critical choice right off the bat based on what pops on the resume. In fact, according to some studies, hiring managers spend only 6 seconds (yes, 6 seconds!) looking at a resume. With so little time to make a strong impression, getting the small details right is critical for job seekers. There isn’t room for mistakes. When job seekers demonstrate that they’re willing to invest the time to do things accurately and professionally during even the early stages of the application process, it gives employers a sense of how they’ll perform as employees. So what particulars do you have to pay attention to? They can run the gamut, from misspellings and grammatical errors to understanding the role for which you’re applying and tailoring your communications. Here are four specific tips on how job seekers can cover the details:
1. Customize your communications:
Hiring managers can tell if you’re using a generic resume or cover letter when applying for their position. Each time you apply to a job, customize your communications to the job description. We suggest going as far as pulling out the skills that are required and emphasizing how your experience fits the role. If it helps you save time, create a “skeleton” of your resume basics and valuable skills that can be easily updated with specifics for every position.
2. Understand the industry:
Do a little homework on the industry in which you are applying for a position and then pepper some of your knowledge of trends or developments into your resume or cover letter, as appropriate – and certainly, in any conversations, you have with your potential employer. Furthermore, understand the typical application materials for jobs in an industry. Going for an accounting role? Your resume is probably going to include more quantitative elements and be in a standard format than say, someone who is applying for a graphic design position. Research online, ask former colleagues and reach out to connections on LinkedIn to get a sense of what is preferred in a particular industry.
3. Be a savvy social media user:
Warning: if you think employers aren’t looking at job seekers’ public social media profiles, you’re wrong. They’re called public profiles for a reason. You have to be sure that your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr and any other platform you use are appropriate for the industry in which you’re interested. If they’re not, time to check out the handy privacy controls! Present yourself how you would want an employer to see you. On the flip side, be proactive and treat your LinkedIn profile as a personal advertisement! Go into specific job details and skills so you can give hiring managers a quick, easy look at why they should hire you.
4. Read, read, re-read – then read again:
Never underestimate the power of fresh eyes. Once you thoroughly review your materials, ask other people to look them over. Reach out to people in higher or similar positions or give someone a call at a company that is at a comparable level. You’ll be glad you did. Pay attention to your job search details. By doing so, you will increase the chances of your resume landing in the “yes” pile. In the meantime, remember: don’t get discouraged. The process for job seekers looking for a new opportunity can be long and challenging, but you can learn something new every step of the way. Find ways to strengthen your skills, solidify your resume and stay positive – all while crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s.