Job opportunities are exploding in Atlanta! If you have been reading any online news communications, it has been made impressively clear that major employers are bringing jobs to the metro region.
What can you do to stand out from the thousands of applicants that are going to pound the pavements to get an interview? Here are a few tips:
Triple check your resume
The number of errors often found in on-line applications and resumes are quite staggering. Simple and common errors such as:
- Inaccurate Dates of Employment
- Employment Time Frames Missing
- City and State Missing
- Applicant Phone Number Missing
- Inconsistent Formatting
- Grammar (there instead of their)
- Typos and Spelling Errors
- Unclear Education Status
- Job Duties and Responsibilities in lieu of Accomplishments
- Fictitious Job Titles
- Heavy Usage of Specific Industry Jargon
Most employers require you to fill out an on-line application. Double check your application for consistency with your resume information. If your resume has time frames that don’t coincide with your official application, your resume may be disregarded. Be sure to carefully read the on line instructions regarding submission of the application and resume. Failure to provide both can cause you to be disqualified from the process. Where possible, always print the online application so that you can manually write out all of your answers at your leisure so that when you go back on line to fill in the application electronically, less time is wasted and it will be more accurate. Most websites have a time-out mechanism that can cause aggravation and frustration for applicants with slower typing speeds.
Although your resume is your opportunity to brag, don’t assume that any employer wants to read your life history. Keep it simple and relevant. Don’t include information about your past experiences or certifications that are not transferrable to the job you are seeking.
If you are fortunate enough to receive a call regarding an appointment for an interview, don’t go empty handed. Take a copy of your resume, on-line application as well as the job announcement with you. Prepare questions in advance regarding the opening so that you can articulate your thoughts professionally and with greater ease since you will be under pressure to make a great first impression.
Do your homework. Find out as much as possible about the company, department, division and personnel that you are interviewing with. Have clear answers regarding how you will be able to contribute to this organizations success. Appearing to only want a job as a means to a financial end will not be impressive. This approach always sends the message that your employment would more than likely be temporary until you were able to find something else.
Be prepared to support your written brand during the interview by providing case-by-case scenarios where certain skills were applied to accomplish professional goals.
Never focus on giving the wrong answer; most often, it is an attempt to make sure you are not a wrong fit for the existing culture. For instance, if they are seeking someone with a sunny, outgoing, team oriented disposition and you are quiet, reserved, and prefer to work alone, although your skills and education may be impeccable, the existing climate for that culture would shift drastically to attempt to accommodate your personality and that may prove to be a challenge the hiring department is not willing to embrace. It’s not necessarily fair, but it is a fact to keep in the back of your mind when faced with rejection letters. It will be tempting to project a different persona to gain acceptance, however, eventually, under pressure, your true personality will become evident and your employer will feel deceived and neither of you will be happy with the relationship.
An interview is a two-way street. Use this time to see if the hiring organization is worthy to be placed on your resume as part of your professional history. Make sure that their most valuable asset, their employees, is truly valued. This sentiment should not just be a nifty claim on their mission statement. It should be demonstrated by the way they handle you, the interview process, and the people already within their employment. If you don’t sense the sentiment is sincere, limit your time contemplating using your skills with this organization. It is sometimes better to hold out and wait a bit longer for a better employer than to settle for the first offer that comes along. Employers are picky; you should be too.
Like with any relationship, be willing to compromise. You may have to trade a higher salary to get tuition reimbursement and a better health care plan, but have your short and long term goals clearly in mind when you interview.