You may have experienced this situation yourself: You apply for a job and you, one, never hear from the potential employer again; two, receive a form letter indicating the position has been filled; or, three, are interviewed but don’t receive an offer.
Disconcerting and disappointing, right?
As Diakon’s Human Resources recruiters, we want to offer some tips to help you potentially experience better results.
Most important, you need to understand the qualities and skills an employer is seeking, so that you can stand out in a crowded field.
For example, many employers look for skills beyond the academic qualifications of candidates. Prospective employees may share similar education and experience, but how they present those as ways to make the company more successful can create a huge difference in initial perceptions.
In fact, incorporate that approach in your resume or application. Learn about the company and the open position and then determine ways your particular skills will successfully address the needs listed for that position. Emphasize your value and efficiency.
And, certainly, never rush through this process or omit details. (And a very simple caution: If you use the same cover letter for multiple applications, make sure you change the name of the company and job title. You would not believe how often people send cover letters addressed to a different organization!)
These are key characteristics we seek on applications and resumes:
- Summary statement
- Clear section headings
- Use of correct grammar
- Elaboration of core competencies (the attributes that make you stand out from other applicants)
- Strong work experience, including names of organizations, employment dates and job titles
- Length of work experience
Alternatively, here are “red flags” that will stand out to potential employers in an application:
- Applications with spelling mistakes
- A suspicious work history
- Incomplete fields
- Inclusion of negative statements about previous employers
- Indicating you left a job because of an unresolved disagreement.
In addition, if you receive an interview, here are common missteps:
- Arriving late
- Not having done research on the company
- Looking at phone or texting during the interview
- Any other lack of attention during the interview
- Gossiping or making negative comments about former managers or employees
- Showing a lack of understanding about the industry
- Not being able to explain why you are interested in the job
Remember, an interview is an excellent opportunity to showcase how your experience, education and initiative will make a difference for the employer. That’s why doing your research about the company and the role are so important!
Part 2 (coming): How employers evaluate applicants.