All Articles Tagged "job application"
Patience might be a virtue but she doesn’t always pay the bills.
There is a certain excitement that comes over you when you see your ideal job being advertised. Maybe you are currently in a position that no longer cuts it or have been out of work and dying to get back in the game. Like a good little applicant you send over a clean resume which in fact awards you a follow up and interview. You do everything you can to shine brighter than Rihanna’s diamond — saying the right things, highlighting your accomplishments and exude the necessary confidence and team player capabilities. With that gut feeling in place, you think you nailed what you needed to do and the job is yours.
But did you do everything necessary in the protocol handbook?
Some people are a little clueless when it comes to job follow-up etiquette, and that’s okay so long as you make some changes in your approach to help ensure you do not seem too desperate or uninterested. Here are some do’s and dont’s to following up on a job interview.
These days, the first step towards getting your foot in the door is making it past the “applicant tracking system,” or ATS, that HR pros are using to flush out the best resumes from a mountain of candidates. Notice how we said the best “resumes” rather than the best “candidates.” These computer systems are using a number of scanning tricks to pick and choose people who move on to the next round. On paper, at least, they’re the most qualified of the bunch.
AOL Jobs has pulled together a few tips to help you get past this first digital stage of the application process. At the top of the list, they suggest using appropriate keywords. How do you determine the right keywords? They’re in the job description. If you’re applying for a managerial position at an insurance company, be sure to include the words “manager” and “insurance” in your resume. They don’t necessarily have to be at the same company, but your resume should reflect that you have the desired experience somewhere in your background.
As a matter of fact, you should include those most important words in your cover letter as well. ICYMI, here are a few tips to make that portion of the application even better.
Another piece of good advice: “Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability.” AOL makes the point that experienced employees sometimes have a hard time convincing potential employers that they’re capable of learning new tricks. Also worth keeping in mind is the fact that, unfortunately, more companies are working with fewer employees these days. It’s possible, if not probable, that you’ll be asked to step in when a colleague is out of the office on vacation or maternity leave. Or called upon to step in if there’s an abrupt job vacancy. Using your resume to demonstrate that you can roll with the punches is a positive.
Finally, the article advises that candidates “highlight results.”
“When you create bullet points that draw direct connections between what you did and what the employer wants you to do, it will be easier for the reader to envision you in the job,” the article says. Another way of putting it, and a great tip that we once heard from a college employment center specialist, is to use “action words.” Verbs describe what you did and what you’re doing; the work that you’re accomplishing. Someone who gets things done is someone that employers want around.
Separately but related, AOL Jobs also has a story outlining the things that a modern resume does and doesn’t need. We’d like to call special attention to the “Objective,” something that no resume should have. Every “objective” says the same thing and says it poorly: You want a good job that will help you build the career of your dreams. That’s obvious and there’s no need to re-state the obvious. We have never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever read a worthwhile “objective” so just avoid it altogether.
Oh, the dreaded cover letter. You’ve polished your resume, got your secondary materials (writing samples, portfolio, etc) polished and ready to go, and now you’ve got to write this opening essay that says… what?
The point of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to the company that you’re applying to. Your resume will go into detail about your experience. Your cover letter should give the reader a sense of who you are and what you’ll contribute to the company.
SavvySugar has got seven tips for perfecting your cover letter. Here are a few tips that stand out to us:
Don’t send a generic letter. Create a unique letter for each job application. Every company is different so your approach should also be different.
Give the reader a glimpse of your personality. Again, your skills will be laid out on the resume. Use your cover letter to show your sunny personality, your determination, and other character traits that a company will also value. At the same time, focus on how those traits will benefit your prospective employer. They want to know what they get out of having you around.
Don’t write a novel. An overly-long cover letter is guaranteed to be one that won’t get read. Edit yourself for grammar and length. SavvySugar suggests four paragraphs, ample space to make a good case for yourself.
To this list, we’d add three things:
Have fresh eyes look at your letter. After staring at something you’ve written for a while, you stop seeing the ways it can be improved. Typos might even get past you. Walk away from the letter and come back to take one more look.
Enlist a friend’s help. If your writing skills are a little lacking, ask a friend with a better way with words to take a look at your letter before sending it.
Don’t use an “overly salesy opener.” This piece of advice comes by way of U.S. News & World Report and it’s a good one. Starting your letter with some variation of “I’m the best thing since sliced bread” is a turn-off. Why are you so great? Let the rest of your letter answer that question.
Everyone knows about the conundrum of ex-felons; after serving their time, many find that the punishment extends into a life outside of prison boundaries; a life where one question on a job application form determines career trajectories and livelihoods.
In a piece today in the Los Angeles Times, the executive director and founder of Homeboy Industries, Gregory J. Boyle, discusses the absurdity of the penal system which deters criminals from accessing a second chance and reintegrating into society as productive members. Homeboy Industries helps former gang members and young convicts by providing counseling, education,job training and placement. Boyce recalled a recent encounter with one of his former program participants:
“Another “homie” recently came to me for help after, for the third time, he was let go from a job because his employer had discovered he’d done five years in prison. He told me the boss said, “You’re one of our best workers, but we have to let you go.” Then, with a desperate sadness, the young man added: “Damn, G. No one told me I’d be getting a life sentence of no work.”
Does it seem fair to judge each and every individual on the basis of one conviction? While the rest of the country implicitly abides by the idea that a criminal should never be hired, the city of Philadelphia broke major ground recently when it banned the question of criminal history on the standard job application. Of course, employers have the right to ask about criminal history during the interview but the fact that the question could only be raised during the course of a face to face job interview is remarkable. It would essentially force employers to consider the individual, not the statistic.