Getting a job can be hard these days. There are so many applications for each job and each application seems to be the best person for the job. Recruiters see many people during a job process and all present the best possible face displaying their ‘wares’ like a peacock in season. Resumes and cover letters tend to be all the same these days all using the same stereo typed templates and cliché phrases that tend to be glossed over.
So how can you stand out from the crowd and yet still display the qualities the employer is seeking?
Here are some tips to help you on your job hunting safari.
Do your research
Find out more about the company you are seeking as position with. What is their Mission Statement? What are their values? What do they provide in terms of products and services? What sort of people do they employ? Become very familiar with the company and its people. Put yourself in their position. What sort of employees would you be looking for?
What does the employer want?
Putting yourself in the employer’s shoes is a big step to finding out what an employer wants in an employee. It is not just someone who will do the work. It is someone who appreciates and believes in the values of the company. Looking at it from the employer’s point of view. Would YOU hire yourself if you were the employee? What would it take for you to say, Yes. I want that person!
Here is some advice from Mark Zuckerberg, one of the youngest and most successful entrepreneurs in the world.
“Speaking at the Mobile World Congress this week, the world’s biggest wireless phone fair in Barcelona, the 30-year-old Facebook founder was asked the main thing he looks for in a potential employee. And his answer was as simple as it was significant.
‘I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person,’ Zuckerberg told the gathering at a town hall meeting, ‘it’s a pretty good test.’ “
Regardless of how you feel inside with your stomach churning around with a life of its own, exude confidence. Ben Martinez from HireVue, says that a candidate can differentiate himself by demonstrating confidence using effective verbal and body language. So regardless of how you feel inside using verbal and body language can make or perhaps even give you the confidence you need. Practice in front of a mirror. It feels uncomfortable at first but you soon get used to it and you can practice exuding confidence until you do.
Are you up to date with current trends?
Demonstrating that you are not only up to date with current trends but interested in new trends in your field to help with your career development can score you some brownie points with your resume also.
Are you Results Orientated?
Employers are always looking for the results orientated employee. Tracy Brisson, Founder of The Opportunities Project places great store on applicants who can demonstrate they are effective and perform well and get results.
One of the key indicators employers look for in both the written submission and during the interview is the S.T.A.R process:
Situation, what is or was the situation?
Task, what needs to be done about it?
Action, what did YOU do about it?
Result, what was the result of YOUR action?
Being able to offer up specific examples such as, There was this situation and it required so and so to be done. ‘I effectively did so and so and the result was a satisfactory specific outcome’ is far better than, ‘I can do this’, which is merely a statement, and will be looked upon very favourably.
Are you a Volunteer?
Volunteers are considered higher value employees as they demonstrate they are interested in more than their own employment, development or even money. They are willing to contribute to the community and company and demonstrate teamwork and initiative. Being able to show you are a volunteer will tick all the right boxes for you.
Uniqueness and Creativity
To stand out from the crowd you need to be unique. This does not mean being odd or peculiar. It means have a uniqueness that shows your the best person for the job. Most job applicants simply provide a basic letter of introduction (also called a cover letter) and a basic resume in a word doc. The English of many applicants leaves much to be desired and it is a fatal mistake for there to be any typos, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors as the application will then be rejected out of hand.
How quickly do you respond to a Job ad?
The old saying, the quick and the dead might well apply here. The fastest applications are naturally looked at first. And if there are a hundred or so applications, do you think they will look at each one, especially those that come in at the last minute?
In an interview with a recruitment company I discovered that it is usually only the first 10-30 job applications that are looked at. The rest are discarded. When you realise it takes several minutes to look through a cover letter and resume and sometimes a selection criteria it seems obvious that there is simply no time to look through all applications. I know of one employer who received 1067 applications for a customer service job. It would have taken weeks if not months to sift through all the applications. So a cut-off point has to be determined and once that is reached the rest go in the circular file (rubbish bin). So the faster you apply the better chance there is of your application being looked at.
This is what many resume companies rely on. They tend to be experts at designing written applications and go to great pains to ensure the application is written in correct English, with no typos, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
Be confident in talking about yourself. Many people are uncomfortable when talking about themselves.
Be original in your creation of the cover letter. Don’t use the same tired old cliché phrases so common in cover letters that gets a ‘ho hum’ response.
Many people in cover letters, resumes and selection criteria are fond of starting a sentence with the letter I. Avoid it like the plague. Find another way of expressing what you can do or your expertise, ‘My expertise in …’ is better that ‘I have the expertise.’
Before you send your documents off check for simple things like spelling, typos, and grammatical errors. Usually if a typo is found during the reading process the documents from that applicant will be rejected immediately. If you are not sure get someone who understands English to proof read the documents for you.
Here are some great words that, when used correctly, can improve your chances of an interview when used in your documents.
- Commitment Showing dedication to a company through commitment and the willingness to work towards the business goals of the company. Displaying a passion for the value of the company.
- Managed Demonstrating such points as managed time effectively (saves the company money), setting priorities and meeting deadlines is almost universally looked on favourably by employers
- Achieved A very important word. What have you achieved, especially for the company? Specifying results and achievements is a big bonus in both the written submissions as well as during an interview.
- Negotiated When used positively, especially with achieved, it can make a big difference in how the employer sees you as a prospective employee.
- FlexibilityBeing flexible always earns brownie points. The ability to accommodate flexible hours as in a roster or willing to FIFO (Fly In Fly Out) as required will give a big tick to that applicant.
- Volunteering Again stressing ones volunteering efforts either for the company or a not for profit venture demonstrates a willingness to work not just for profit but for the good of the community. It shows a willingness to contribute, an ability to engage in teamwork and that you are likely to care about the company you work for.
- Solutions and results probably cannot be emphasised enough that recruiters look for solutions and results. What solutions to issues can you offer and what results have you obtained in past positions?Finding ways to incorporate those into your cover letter and even resume is most important. And if you have to do a Key Selection criteria it is almost mandatory to show demonstrated results obtained.
If you have difficulty writing and incorporating these pints in your resume, cover letter or key selection criteria contact AuthorServices now for a quote.