There are thousands of job seekers in the market place right now and many are competing for the job you have applied to or want to apply to. When you submit your resume someone, and it is a someone, is reading what you sent. In addition, they, we, are looking at other items as part of the entire application process to see how you, the applicant, are competing with the next candidate. If you want that job, REALLY want that job, you need to stand out. As I tell my soccer players, do the work necessary to compete.
I’m going to help you out. From a Recruiter’s perspective, I’m going to give you 7 tips that will help you compete in today’s market; and hopefully my recruiter friends won’t hurt me too bad. I believe there are some great candidates being missed because they have not used these tips or are not aware of these tips, so really, in the end I will be helping them (recruiter friends) out by educating you, the job seeker.
Top Seven Tips
- Follow Instructions – You are being measured on your ability to read and follow instructions in the application process which is being interpreted to your ability to do the same if they were to hire you. Short cutting or circumventing the system or process is one way to find yourself on the outside.
- Answer the Pre-Screening Questions – The employer wants to know more about you in your own words and to assess your writing abilities, level of communication skills and assess #1, following instructions. If your answer to these pre-screening questions is, “See Resume”, don’t be surprised when you get a decline letter.
- Respond Positively – When contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager be positive with your responses. Show you are a team player when you haven’t made the team yet. Allow the employer to imagine you in the position in a positive light. Now is not the time to make demands about the position, the company or management. Negative talk about your past/current employer is a turn off and employers may interpret this negative talk as complaining; distorting their vision of you in the position.
- Do Your Homework – When you apply or if you are thinking about applying for a job with a particular employer, know something in detail about them and the job and be able to show how you and your experience connects together. You will have to study and dig into your experience and goals at a deeper level to be able to compete for the job at a higher level. Employers are looking for people who can connect with the business at a deeper level and can show how they have “walked the talk” at their past employers. When you can demonstrate this ability, employers can envision you in their open position, taking an active and immediate role. Additionally, when you apply, prepare yourself for a call by having about five questions ready to go, in advance. They may call in a day, a week or couple of weeks, but you have something ready and you are not struggling to come up with something when they ask if you have any questions. Prepare something based on your research of the company, the job or the industry. If you are called and don’t have any questions, this does not look good, as you leave employers saying “they don’t know everything about us or the job” and moving them to assuming you do not want the job that bad.
- Keep Organized – When applying for multiple positions with multiple employers, keep yourself organized because when an employer calls, you are being measured on your organizational skills immediately. Several years ago I was laid off from a great job. The market was flooded with others like myself and there were few open positions. During that time I applied for over 100 positions (I still have the list) and I tracked the company I applied to, the position title, the date I applied and the e-mail, fax or way I applied. Additionally, after applying I printed the resume, cover letter I used, the job description, and company mission and profile; placing them in a labeled folder. Therefore, when they called I was ready and could say, “give me a minute, let me pull that folder”. I just set myself apart from many candidates who may have asked, “Which job is this for?” or “What company?” or “I applied for so many jobs can you remind me what you do?” I received a good deal of interviews based on my organization.
- Show Up for the Interview – Or at least call to reschedule or cancel the interview. In my experience recently, I’ve seen an increase of no-call, no-shows when it comes to interviews. This is a quick way to get you on the “do not invite” or “don’t contact” list quickly, impeding future consideration for any opening the employer may have in the future. Honestly, this may be one way to never be considered for a position again with an employer. We know things happen; just communicate you are no longer interested, took another job, or your career goals have changed. In many cases, employers are putting a lot of time and effort to meet with you and when you don’t show…well, it’s not a good feeling. I’ll ask it this way, ever schedule a date, meeting, whatever and you rearranged your entire day, your excited about it, it gives you good feelings; and they don’t show? Yeah, I think you get it now.
- Prepare for the Interview – This is basic stuff but I’ve become to observe more and more candidates are not prepared with directions to the appropriate office. Most employers are providing an address, suite number or building, however candidates are not looking closely and the interview is at a different location from what they assumed. Secondly, have the job description with you; have notes regarding what you have read, researched or would like to know more about. Prepare more specific detailed questions about the job, company and/or the companies future outlook. Ask the employer in advance if they would like you to bring anything additional to the interview. You are displaying the way you would work if they were to hire you. When you show up unprepared for the interview it is interpreted that you will be unprepared in the job.
Right now the job market is tough, meaning competitive and you, as a candidate have to find a way to stand out differently to get an interview and eventually the job. Following these simple, yet important tips will help you compete for what you want. We recruiters want to see great candidates, but, I believe some of you are being missed because you have not or don’t know these tips. Give them a shot to compete in a tough market.