By Heidi Sawyer
After countless days, weeks, and perhaps months of job searching, a job posting has really caught your interest. Your gut reaction would be to apply right then and there. But wait... are you ready?
Out of the dozens of applications the hiring company receives, does your resume stand out? Make sure that you're taking the right steps to land that interview, even before you apply.
Step 1: Research the Company
Some websites, such as JobsInMD.com, give you a prime opportunity to research a company via a company profile.
Get up to speed on basic information such as the company website, to more detailed information such as a mission statement, a history of the organization, charitable/community activities, and/or successful employee testimonials.
Find answers to these questions:
- How long has the company/organization been in business?
- What are some of their key successes?
- What do they value?
An online company directory, if available, can provide valuable contact information, including staff bios and/or a way to get in touch with the hiring manager. Arm yourself with all of this information and you will be able to use it to your advantage throughout the application process.
Step 2: Adjust Your Presentation
Next, analyze the details you've learned and piece them together with what you bring to the table. Pull out that old resume, dust it off and use it as a guide. Every time that you apply for a new job, update the key information in your resume as it applies to that particular opening. Here's how:
- Objective: Make sure you know what the company is looking for and outline in two sentences why you're that person.
- Experience: When listing your previous work experience, relate what you have done in the past and what you bring to the table for them. If they are looking for a detail-oriented, results-driven candidate, show where you have displayed excellence in those areas. Outline how you made a difference at that company. Did you increase production levels? List your awards and recognitions.
- Education: Unless you are currently in school, recently graduated, or have been out of school for less than three years, your education information should be at the bottom of your resume.
- Cover Letter: A cover letter is like a snowflake - no two are alike. Each cover letter should be three to four paragraphs. Showcase your communication skills by explaining how and why you'll be an asset to the company. A well-crafted cover letter is crucial to landing an interview.
This presentation portion of a job search can feel overwhelming; but rest assured, there are plenty of resources out there to help guide you. Free online resources provide tips and samples of cover letters and resumes to help you get started. A professional resume writer can also help you through the process, but be sure to do your research and ask for samples of their work before spending money.
If you have taken the time to: do the research, apply to the jobs that you are most qualified for, and build a strong presentation for yourself, then chances are, you'll secure an interview.