I want to point out that while the name of the site is ‘A Bunch of Slackers’ we’re actually pretty motivated individuals.
Personally I have been on the job hunt and would like to share some advice for anyone else in my position who is currently looking for employment.
Also, I have been in multiple positions where I have reviewed many resumes and would like to pass on a few tips.
1) Keep it concise!
You may have heard that employers only look at your resume for 30 seconds. What makes you think they are going to look at your cover letter for longer?
Keep it to just a few points, one or two sentences for each:
- Brief introduction of you are
- Mention how you heard about/ or how you know the company (it shows you aren’t just applying for the job, but want to be apart of the company)
- A personal achievement and connect it to the job you are applying for
- Thank you and ‘look forward to your response’
1) Try and keep your resume to one page
Unless you have amazing work experience or if you were a leader in every club on campus, chances are you can trim that fat and only keep important information. People don’t care that you are ‘proficient in Microsoft Office’ if you are applying for a job and you are in college, that is expected. Now if you have any other skills beyond basic powerpoint/ word/ excel, or know photoshop or video editing that is definitely worth adding.
Also, have your most important achievements first. You want to ‘WOW’ your potential employer, so don’t have that you walked dogs for 3 years when you were 13 years old, and list your current internship last.
2) Consistent formatting
This goes for just about everything: your dates, your past vs present tense, your font, etc. Don’t have ‘worked from 5/1/11-5/1/12′ for one job and another start with ‘June 1, 2012′. Don’t for one bullet point have ‘I manage’ and the next bullet point say ‘I organized’. Don’t get fancy with your font, everything (except your name, which should stick out with a larger font) should be the same size with your titles in Bold to make clear sections which are easier to read.
This happens a lot more than you think, it may not lose you the interview, but it does look sloppy.
3) Every position should have roughly the same bullet points
This goes back tot he first rule, don’t list nine bullets for one job and only have two for another, chances are you can trim that down to the 4-6 important aspects of your job. When things are about the same size it is much easier to read, and chances are you should have about four important things to say. More than that they probably weren’t that important, less than that, the job may not be worth adding.
I had a professor who was adamant about this: if you can quantify something, do it. Don’t say ‘I increased sales’. Say ‘I increased sales by $10,000, a 12% improvement from the last quarter’. You can’t do it for every job, but if you can put it into you resume, it looks great.
**This goes for both your cover letter and your resume** Don’t save and send your resume/ cover letter as ‘Resume-2′. Show that you know what company you are applying for and have pride in your self. The best format is ‘Your Name-Company- Resume/Cover Letter’. If they are interested in you, don’t make it difficult for the employer to find your resume after they save it.
This also means tailoring your resume to each position. I have a three sentence introduction in the beginning of my resume that just says I have experience in skill 1, skill 2, and skill 3. When I apply to a different job, if skill 2 doesn’t apply, I change it to skill 4.
Congratulations you got an interview!
99.9% of the time you will be told who you will be interviewing with. It doesn’t matter whether the interview is on Skype, in person, or on the phone. You should know who you will be talking to. If you don’t know ASK!
1) Do research
Facebok, Linkedin, twitter, and the company’s website are your best bets. Know what they do in the company, so you can ask them questions. Do they write on the company’s blog? Read their articles so you can compliment a point they made. I knew one of my interviewers was a swim coach, so I made sure I mentioned I swam in high school, and was able to connect.
Write these things down, write down the questions you want to ask, as well as anything that the company does that you think they do well. People like to hear when someone approves of what they are doing. Don’t be a suck up but to say ‘I saw on your website how you promoted that product by showing videos of all your clients that use it’. It shows you did your research and your not bs’ing them.
2) Dress appropriately/ be comfortable
I’m not the most stylish person in the world, but I’d say wearing a full suit is a little much nowadays. Unless you’re going into a VERY high end company, or if it’s political position, you run the risk of looking over dressed. Be comfortable, a nice pair of pants with a shirt and tie should do fine. For those of you who know me, I always roll up my sleeves, but for interviews, keep them down.
3) Be prepared
If you have class/ another job/ or any other type of obligation make sure you give yourself enough time to get dressed, smell fresh, and make sure you are prepared. I suggest investing in a padfolio, they are relatively inexpensive and make you look very professional. Have your questions/ compliments written down for them, and bring a pen.
During the conversation, pay attention to what your interviewers are saying. They are going to talk about themselves or the company at some point, if they say something that is interesting, mention something you want to comment on later, WRITE IT DOWN. It shows that you are actively paying attention to them and not just nodding your head as they speak.
Most of the time your interviewers will give you their card which is another plus to having a padfolio, because you have somewhere to put it.
**Side Tip** Bring water with you in your car, so you’re hydrated when you get there so you don’t get thirsty, which leads to bad breath. They usually offer water and you should TAKE IT! You don’t know how long the interview will last and it’s always good to have water with you.
Phew! That can be the most stressful part. Now don’t go home and just wait for a phone call or an email from HR.
1) Thank yous
These people just took the time out of their day to talk to you, thank them. If your interviewer(s) gave you their card you’d be dumb not to thank them, because they handed you their contact info. If you don’t have any contact information from your interviewers, then thank the HR person/ hiring manager (who you should thank anyway). Don’t think that anyone you interacted with doesn’t have an influence on your employment.
*Another reason you should write things down, is because you can look at your notes and make a more personal thank you, ‘I really enjoyed learning about….’
2) Don’t Stress
It may be a few days before anyone gets back to you, but it’s not like you are the only person on their list. If no one has gotten back to you after about 10 days you may want to send an email just asking for an update, or asking what the next steps are.
By no means is this process perfect, or a sure-fire way of getting an interview or a job; they are simply suggestions that I believe will help. If you want to share an idea or something you have done in the past that you feel really works and has helped you find a job, please leave a comment!