Applying for a Job 101

Every year, around this time, I recruit for some new blood on my team of tutors. This year is no different, and this week, as I screen resumes I am reminded once again of how many people are so poorly prepared to apply for jobs. I'm not sure if this is a failure on the part of high school "career" classes or parents not teaching their kids this necessary skill... but it is sorely lacking, at least from what I am seeing, OVER and OVER again.

This post, is sort of a sequel to last year's more sarcastic (but true) post "How Not to Get a Job"

How to apply for a job in a way that may actually get you an interview:
1. Customize your resume and cover letter (ALWAYS write a cover letter) to the position you are applying for. I SO frequently get resumes from people who obviously have a ton of professional experience, but if they just send me a generic cover letter and their resume shows no prior work tutoring or with students- my assumption is that they don't really care about this position much and they're just shooting off their generic info. They don't get an interview.
2. Read the position posting carefully. If you ask me questions that are clearly answered by my posting, I am getting the impression that you are careless or don't pay attention.
3. If you are relatively young or relatively inexperienced, I'd rather you have a shorter, well written resume with a nice cover letter than one you are trying to pad with things that are mostly irrelevant, such as your experiences in junior high cheerleading and playing softball.
4. If you use a resume wizard to write your resume, please remove formatting marks.
5. Don't spend a lot of time trying to use big words- clear, concise and free of errors is key.
6. Some people are taught never to allow a resume to go more than one page. I disagree. I'd rather scroll through a couple of pages than read a teeny tiny crammed together font.
7. Use a variety of reference types. Seeing three family friends listed tells me your past employers likely will not vouch for you.
8. It is very scary for an employer to see that you have had a different job every couple of months in your work history. This tells me that you are unreliable or flighty.
9. Follow directions. If the ad you are responding to says, to apply, send your resume and cover letter, and then goes ON to say, cover letters are required for consideration- and then you STILL just send a resume- I have ZERO faith you will follow instructions on the job.
10. Don't use phrases just because you've seen them used for job applications- they may not apply. I frequently get the following phrase in cover letters: "please respond to me with further information about how to apply for this opportunity" but yet, this person has already submitted everything that I asked for on the ad. Again, I'm thinking the person doesn't follow directions or is maybe just not very perceptive. It makes me nervous.

These ideas are not written to be mean- simply to be honest. As a person who has been trained in hiring and screening applicants and has been doing it for 10 years, I feel it would be helpful to some to explain how to get past the paper screen and that is why I've shared these tips. I hope someone somewhere out there in the interweb finds it helpful :-)

1 comment:

  1. Agreed.

    I would also like to encourage the people of the world to experiment with fonts, especially those without serifs (I hate serifs). Just because Microsoft likes Times New Roman doesn't mean you have to use it.


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