I’m on a mission today. I want to help job candidates improve their chances of nailing a job. My purpose is to help you – the job hunter – navigate the complex world of self-promotion in the current job market.
I’ve interviewed for many positions as an HR job candidate, and I’ve learned from my own mistakes while job hunting. But, more importantly, I’ve also screened candidates for open positions as an HR rep and I’ve had ample opportunity to examine how other people fail during the job-hunting process. Today I’m here to share my combined knowledge with you from both sides of the fence.
Most recently, I served as the in-house recruiter for a large healthcare company. As a recruiter I spent countless hours each week looking at hundreds of resumes for various positions within the healthcare industry. After a while, I came to one conclusion: Most people suck at doing resumes, and most people suck even more at doing cover letters.
During the rare week when someone submitted an awesome resume and cover letter, I instantly became excited. I’d send the resume and cover letter to the manager via e-mail right away and I’d call immediately to discuss a promising candidate. The conversation was usually quite simple. I would say:
“Look at this one! You’ve got to interview this person!!!”
Managers would drop whatever they were doing to have a conversation with me about this fantastic candidate. Filling empty job slots with excellent candidates is always a top priority for managers. This is a fact.
This fact works to your advantage once you learn how to craft a killer resume and develop competitive job-hunting skills. No matter what else is going on in a manager’s busy world, they always have important roles to fill. You might just be the perfect candidate who they need!
But there’s a caveat – you must learn how to sell yourself. You need to develop the ability to recognize and articulate your skills, voice your strengths and market yourself. I believe that everyone has the potential to learn these marketing skills with hard work and practice.
Do you want a job? Do you need a job? If the answer is yes, you want to be the person who recruiters and managers get excited about when they see your application.
You don’t want to be the person who gets screened out of the process because your resume is boring. You want to be the person who managers do cartwheels about. Being that person is easier than you think. You just need to approach resume building with an open mind and a willingness to do hard work.
First things first:
It’s hard work for someone not accustomed to thinking of job hunting as “product marketing” to implement this new knowledge.
I started off doing customer service jobs and I spent plenty of time as an entry-level HR Assistant in a new town who needed a job… but just I didn’t have a good resume or particularly good cover letter skills. I was passed over many times early in my HR career because I simply didn’t understand marketing. I’ve been there. But now I have the knowledge and experience to help you out.
When we finish this series, you should be able to:
- Write a basic skills listing document. You will then further refine your skills listing document and use the information from your skills listing to create a killer resume.
- Craft a killer resume loaded with accomplishments – and you will understand the difference between duties and accomplishments. You’ll be able to distinguish between simple accomplishments versus major accomplishments that convey a concrete impact. You’ll be able to convey both types of accomplishments and make an impression.
- Craft a superior cover letter that supports your resume without repeating the same information in your resume.