I’ve been through a lot of interviews, and I mean, a lot. I’ve been in the hot seat and I’ve been the interviewer, and there are a few key lessons I’ve learned from sitting across from potential new hires.
First, with so much competition in the job market, it’s an achievement to even make it to the interview stage. Employers are bombarded by resumes and friends who say “hey, hire my daughter she needs a job!” Since we are inundated with applicants, you need to stand out.
This post will be part 1 of several, and we’ll start from the beginning: applying for a job.
Read the job posting carefully. If an employer asks you to send a resume, cover letter and writing sample, then you should send all three. Sending less shows that you don’t follow directions, and that can eliminate you from the application pool.
When you email someone your resume for a job opening, include a personalized note (or cover letter) within the body of the email. This shows you have researched the company and are interested in them specifically.
I have received cover letters that were labeled Cover Letter_Different PR Agency. I knew it wasn’t meant for me or my company and the applicant used an old cover letter. This didn’t go over very well, and my hiring team and I didn’t give the information a second glance.
Another time, I received a cover letter addressed to someone else. I emailed the applicant and suggested he made an error, for I accidentally received his cover letter, and wished him luck in his job search. He replied and said that it was meant for me, he had just made a mistake. When he updated his cover letter, he left someone else’s signature on the bottom. It seemed odd that he would use someone else’s letter… Odd enough that we didn’t interview him.
I have also received lovely cover letters that show the applicant did their research on both the company and me (or someone on my team). Free of typos and grammatical errors, concise and to the point, yet friendly and professional, and with the exact information and experience I wanted to see. These emails are almost always responded to!
I’ve even forwarded these kinds of emails to industry associates who I knew were hiring.