When you apply for a promising new job, you want to answer the one question in the hiring manager’s mind: “What sets this candidate apart from the others?”
The sooner you can answer this question, the better – but it’s tough to convince a hiring manager that you are the best choice if your application is lost in a sea of similar application forms, cover letters, and resumes. Here are four ways to make a strong first impression on hiring managers, improving your chances of landing both the interview and the job offer.
The Job Application.
Job applications rarely seem like a place to stand out. They’re often standardized forms that ask for specific information, like contact information, lists of credentials, or your current or most recent salary.
Although the job application form doesn’t give you the kind of flexibility that other parts of the application process do, you shouldn’t overlook this chance to stand out. Use the job description to identify keywords you can use when describing your work on the application. And don’t skip the question about your current or most recent salary – instead, think of it as your bargaining “floor,” not a ceiling.
Target your resume to the specific employer by mining the job description for keywords describing your work, just as you did for the application. While preparing the resume you will send to this employer, describe your past work in terms of what you accomplished – not merely what you were assigned to do. You’ll describe both what your employer expected and how well you exceeded those expectations.
The Cover Letter
Although the employer may read your cover letter before reading your resume, it’s wise to draft your cover letter after you’ve prepared your resume for a particular employer. In your cover letter, describe briefly what you offer and why you’re enthusiastic about working for this employer. Avoid personal information, like descriptions of your family, in favor of a discussion of your professional accomplishments and the volunteer work or hobbies that connect directly to the work you will do in the position for which you’re applying.
Many employers make initial phone screenings part of their hiring process. Wow a hiring manager and stand out from the crowd by doing your homework before you send your initial application. When the hiring manager calls, you’ll already know something about the company’s culture, its needs, and the kind of people the hiring manager is looking for. Talk to your recruiter to get an “inside view” of the company and to learn more about standing out in all the right ways.
As the top recruiting firm in Minneapolis, THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, understands how to you shout your accomplishments from the rooftops and make your job applications sing. Contact us today to learn more, our search our open jobs in Minneapolis!