June is almost here. That means lots of high school and college kids are looking for a job, alongside the experienced people who are searching for new opportunities. It's tough out there, but there are some things you can do to assure your application is read.
For the past five years I've been doing employee acquisition for one of my clients. It's not something I set out to do but it turns out I have a knack for it - to date they've hired twelve candidates I've found for them. So, with that experience under my belt I'm sharing a little of what I've learned.
Much of this is common sense but you'd be surprised at the lack of that out there.
• Create a resume that’s easy to read, concise (bullet points are always helpful) and professional-looking. Avoid large blocks of run-on text. I will not read them.
• Put your resume in a professional format. If you can’t use Word, have your eight-year-old to do it for you. And do not put pictures and/or graphics on your resume.
• Don’t list photocopying as a skill on your resume.
• Do not put three phone numbers on your resume. Unless you are Barack Obama or George Clooney I’m not going to chase you down. Give me one number to call and make sure you check it for messages.
• In your cover letter, omit the phrase, “I am excited about your position…,” particularly when you’re over 25. Your excitement is of no interest to me.
• If the ad says send a cover letter, send a friggin' cover letter.
• If you’re looking for an opportunity in a field outside of your
experience, write a kick-ass cover letter. It’s your only chance to sell yourself into a phone interview.
• If your only experience is as a painter at Locker Land, do not send in your resume for the position of Director of Marketing.
• When you're going on an interview dress as if you care. Even if you’re interviewing for cashier at the Stop ‘n Go, wear business attire, meaning a jacket and tie for men and a suit or dress for women.
• If you’re looking for a job, clear your damn voice mailbox. If I call you and get a message that says your “mailbox is full, please call again later,” you can be assured I will not be calling again later.
And then, when you get the interview:
• Don’t bring Starbucks with you to the interview.
• Don’t chew gum during the interview.
• Don’t put your cell phone on the desk and look at it every few minutes during the interview.