As with all things in our society, norms and behavior for the job hunt change over time. This means that what employers expect from job candidates is different from what it was 10 or 15 years ago. And, with the influence of the recession, employers can afford to be picky. After all, there are hundreds of applicants for many jobs.
If you are searching for a job, you need to target that job. Gone are the days of mailing out generic resumes on special paper. Instead, you need to consider what the employer wants, and direct your efforts toward showing how you fit the profile. Here are some of the more modern tips for looking for a job:
Personalize Your Resume and Cover Letter
First of all, it’s better if you can find out the name of the person who is likely looking at your information. Most cover letters are written as emails, with resumes attached. As a result, there is a chance that you know the name of the person looking through the resumes. Using “Dear Sir or Madam” is no longer acceptable, and “To Whom It May Concern” is rapidly falling out of favor.
Tailor your resume and your cover letter to the employer. This means that you might need to alter both of these documents a little bit before you send them to prospective employers. Take a few minutes to adjust your resume and cover letter to reflect the company’s requirements before sending it off.
Illustrate Your Accomplishments
Instead of creating a long list of duties under each job heading, keep it short and to the point. Use action words to show what you have accomplished. “Saved the company 20%” and “Organized a social media marketing campaign that increased customer retention” look better than “assisted in quality assurance” and “worked on marketing projects.” Pick three or four accomplishments, and highlight them under each job title.
Read the job description to find out what the employer is looking for. You can then identify keywords and phrases, and use them in your cover letter and resume. That way, you will be able to better show how closely you match the qualifications for the job.
It’s also worth noting that you can use such keywords in your social media profiles online. Many employers have started looking online for potential recruits, as well as using social media to screen job applicants. If you are conversant in your industry, and your social media profile reflects your interest and knowledge, it can support your resume.
Treat the Interview as a Business Conversation
You do want to know about the company, but shoving your hours of research in the face of the interviewer isn’t generally recommended. Instead, be knowledgeable, but have a business conversation. When invited to ask questions, ask relevant and insightful questions, and keep your answers concise and applicable. Show you are a good fit by letting them see your knowledge and abilities, without the need for you to explicitly mention all the effort you put in to research.
Understand the business side of things, and showing how you can contribute is very valuable these days. You can do that with a carefully crafted resume and cover letter, and by being ready for a job interview.