The job market is starting to rebound.
We have seen a difference recently in the number of resumes submitted for open positions. The long-term unemployed, who had previously given up on finding work, are trying again, and others, who had been reluctant to move from their current employer, are starting to test the waters. However, even if you are highly qualified, it can still be tough to land an interview for that great new job.
How do you get your resume put into the "Yes" pile? We suggest the following:
1. Read the job posting carefully.
Exactly what does this business owner or hiring manger want in a successful candidate? What skills, experience and degrees do they list as mandatory? What do they list as preferred?
If you can't check off the mandatory requirements, or at least most of them, it is doubtful that you will get an interview. While you may have a PhD or MBA, if you don't have a background in construction or retail, you probably don’t have the right experience to work the plumbing aisle at Lowe's.
2. Customize your resume.
If you are seriously interested in a job, it is worth your time to rewrite your resume to highlight the particular skills and experience you have that match the job posting. Employers often spend only a few seconds looking at each resume, searching for specific words that match their most important requirements. If your resume reads as if it belongs to a different job opening, it is going in the "No" pile.
At a minimum, make sure that your objective matches the job title. Don’t state that your goal is to find a marketing position when you are applying to an office management job. Similarly, if you have the specific experience or degree that the job posting asks for, make sure that it is easy to find on your resume.
3. Customize your cover letter.
When a resume catches their attention, recruiters and hiring managers will read the attached cover letter. The cover letter is your chance to show your personality and to tell the prospective employer exactly why you would be great in this job. Don't miss out on the opportunity.
Related: How to Land a Job at a Startup
Customize your letter to the job posting and anything else you know, or can learn, about the company. Don’t make the classic mistake of sending a cover letter addressed to the wrong person, company or referencing the wrong job title. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this too many times.
4. Step away from the computer.
Many candidates spend hours each day searching the Internet job boards and posting their resumes online. However, statistics show that most jobs are found through networking. To increase your chances, have coffee with your friends and business contacts and tell them what you are looking for. Join local job support groups to increase your reach.
If your resume is hand delivered to a hiring manager by someone he or she trusts, it can overcome a myriad of issues. It can even get your resume put in the "yes" pile despite deficiencies in mandatory requirements.
We understand that the job market can still seem daunting despite the upturn in the economy. To land that important interview, customize your resume and cover letter for each position and then use your network to increase your reach. If you follow these steps, you’ll see positive results.