According to Jobvite, 65 percent of recruiters say that the lack of skilled candidates is their biggest obstacle to hiring -- and I completely agree. I was recently hiring for a position at my company, Ramp Ventures, and I was shocked by the poor quality of applicants.
So many people are doing things wrong in the application, interview and overall hiring process. When you’re applying for a job, you want to make the best impression possible to show you’re the right person to hire. But, if you make simple mistakes or give a bad impression, those issues may cost you the job.
Here are a few of my top tips to be a successful job candidate. Follow my advice, and you’re sure to stand out from the crowd and land the job:
1. Follow instructions.
When I post a job ad, I often include some directions to follow, such as sending an email with a specific subject line. I do this to see who is actually reading and can follow instructions. Right off the bat, this rules out 80 percent of applicants.
Before you apply for a job, make sure you’ve read the ad in its entirety and note any specific instructions you need to follow.
2. Send an enticing email.
When you send in your application, make sure your email is not too long and doesn’t sound like you’ve copied and pasted it from a template. Show your personality and what makes you unique.
You also want to make your ambition clear in the email. You want to come across as someone who is hungry and knows what he or she wants.
3. Make your resume scannable.
Whether you’re applying for a junior, mid-level or senior-level position, your resume needs to be a concise representation of you. Nobody should have a five-page resume!
Only include the information and experience that is relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for my company, I don’t care that you worked for Taco Bell. Take all unimportant information off your resume.
Follow the company you’re applying to on social media. Comment on leaders' posts if you have something relevant to contribute. Check out their latest blog posts, too. If the topics are relevant to you, leave a comment.
Networking early can help you become recognizable to the company before you’ve even stepped through the door.
5. Do your homework.
When asked what he looks for in job candidates, Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, said an a Fortune interview: “People who live our company values, who treat failures as learning opportunities and who lead with their emotional quotient and their curiosity quotient, rather than their intelligence quotient.”
Hiring managers want to make sure you will be a good fit for the company. Get ahead of the game by researching the company, its culture and the hiring manager, before you come in for the interview. The information you learn will help you better position yourself to get the job and help you make conversation in the interview.
6. Ask questions.
At the end of the interview, when the hiring manager asks if you have any questions, don’t make things awkward by staying silent. Prepare a few questions ahead of time to ensure you have something to say at this point. Asking questions reinforces your interest in the position and shows that you’ve come prepared.
As Zig Ziglar wrote in his book, See You at the Top: “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.”
7. Showcase your problem-solving skills.
Jeff Reynar, an engineering director at Facebook, told Business Insider, “Don't forget to make sure you can talk really concisely about what you've done in the past, what particular accomplishments you had by doing it [and] why you chose to work on those things; and come with great stories.”
Hiring managers want to see that you can solve problems and that you are a creative thinker. Give them an example to showcase those skills.
8. Follow up with an email.
After the interview, make sure you send everyone you met with a personalized email. Keep it simple and concise and maybe include a tidbit from your conversation, or wish them a good weekend.
9. Mail a thank you card.
If you really want to go the extra mile, take the time to send a thank you card in the mail. Hiring managers probably get dozens of emails a day, but rarely snail mail. This will help you stand out from the crowd and show that you’re willing to go above and beyond. It could be the tipping point to help you get the job.