I’ve been hiring people for over 10 years now and I’m still blown away about how clueless most people seem to be when it comes to job hunting. What I find is that the older generation usually have pretty good resumes but lack great cover letters while the newer generation lack pretty much everything. It’s like nobody has ever taught our youth that one day they are going to have to grow up and get a job. Our families and colleges have completely failed the past couple of generations and now 85% of graduating seniors do not have jobs coming out of college. Some people are just lazy and there’s not much you can do for them but if you’re reading this I’m going to assume that you are not one of them. I’ve come up with a few tips to help people get back into the workplace.
I’m going to break this up into different parts for easier reading.
Below are five tips on how you can get in the door:
1. When looking for a job, that is your job – Get up early, dress in a button down shirt or polo and slacks, then go to a coffee shop with wifi, sit down and get started. You need to be going to all the major job site providers such as monster.com, indeed.com, careeerbuilder.com and snagajob.com just to name a few. There are also local job fairs you can go to and places like craigslist.com. If you are a college grad, most colleges have job boards you can visit online., where employers are actually looking for recent grads. Leave no stone unturned because 99% of the companies out there will only post their job listing in one or two places max!
2. Set goals for yourself – It’s easy to do step one and come home feeling like you accomplished a lot when in reality you didn’t do very much. Busy work is work that takes a lot of time but accomplishes very little. A great way to make sure you don’t fall victim to this mistake is to set daily goals of no less than 20 resumes sent. This may not sound like a lot but if you do it right it will take all day; More on that to follow…
3. Tailor each resume for the job – In a sea of resumes one of the biggest mistakes you can make is sending a generic resume with the heading (I’d like to get a job with a company I can grow to my potential in, yadayada, whatever). First of all, it’s not about you! In a world of self indulgence and entitlement this may come as a shock but if you haven’t heard this yet it’s time you did. Write a heading that pertains to the job at hand and how you will help the company, not the other way around. Then only include jobs on the resume that will strengthen that conviction. If you are lacking in jobs in that field include internships or any other activity that pertains to that position. Whether it is a software, a gatekeeper, or the hiring manager, the first one reading your resume will be short listing for the most likely match. MATCH is the keyword, not generic.
4. COVER LETTER – I’m amazed at how many resumes I get without cover letters. Covers letters are your opportunity to say what a resume never could. Show your intelligence, ability to learn and adapt, and your desire for that job in just two paragraphs! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed people I normally wouldn’t have because of great cover letters. When writing a cover letter be conversational and talk about how the skills you’ve obtained translate into you doing a great job in the position and in helping the company. End it by letting the hiring manager know what days and time you are available for interviews. Also, make sure you find out what the hiring managers name is and address them in the letter, do not say “To whom it may concern”. That just says you are either too limited mentally or too lazy to figure it out; Neither of which looks good on you.
5. Follow up– After submitting your relevant resume with an awesome cover letter take the time to call the hiring manager and ask if they received your resume. If they actually take your call, push for a time to come in and interview. You can’t get a job without seeing them face to face so that is the whole objective when calling in. Be aggressive but not pushy, simply say “I have time on (whatever days you can come in) to meet, do one of these days work for you?” Whether or not you actually talk to the hiring manager or just leave a voice mail make sure you do a follow up email within a few days asking if there is anything else they may need from them and thank them for their consideration.
If you follow these 5 steps you will get in the door for an interview, with luck you will have multiple interviews a week. Next week I’ll be writing about how to blow the hiring manager away once you get into the door, so stay tuned!
By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan