Remember what your mother told you, “You only make one first impression” That’s even more true in the digital universe. When looking for your dream job online today, the first impression that you make may be the last impression.
You may think that a tight labor market gives you an edge. You would be wrong. Resumes bombard hiring managers (and their agents) whenever they advertise. It’s so easy for job seekers to press a little key marked “Apply here”. Perhaps they’ve got an itchy trigger finger learned from hours of gaming. Or they don’t like reading boring job descriptions. They’re pressed for time. So, they fire off dozens of resumes at a time. Most job applicants aren’t even sure where they blasted their resumes.
Managers are not wizards. Even with computer tools to help them sort through their inbox, they still have to weed through the applications. They can only select a tiny fraction of the applications to review. And even fewer to contact for an interview. So managers have developed an itchy trigger finger of their own. They have mastered the delete button.
All Resumes Are Not Created Equal
In today’s job market, most first impressions are made with the resume. Most job seekers apply to multiple jobs with the same old resume. As a result, many resumes are wildly off the mark.
- Why should a manager interview a candidate for an accounting position when the stated goal is to work in a warehouse?
- Why should a manager pick out a resume when the last job was three years ago? What has the job seeker been doing for the last three years?
- Why would a manager seek out someone with no relevant work experience? Some omit great former jobs in the mistaken belief they’ll look more youthful. Why would a manager interview a youth with no experience?
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
- Know your qualifications for the job. Include them in the description of your previous jobs
- Know you are within commuting distance of the job
- Make sure your resume…is brief but complete
- targets the job requirements
- fills in your job history
- is neat
- reports your best accomplishments
Even better, you can aim a cover letter directly at the hiring manager
- How serious you are about that job?
- What can you do for the company?
- Thank them in advance
Finally, when you do get that interview, remember what else your mother told you…
- Be neat
- Don’t speak ill of anyone
Remembering your mother’s advice will help you stand out from the crowd. By making a great impression you can make your mother proud, and increase your chance of landing your ideal dream job.