Take a gander… then take some action!
1. Don’t Address Cover Letters to Dear Sir/Madam
Generic salutations are a turnoff to many screeners. “Sir”, “Madam” or “To Whom it May Concern” looks lazy – and often lands you in the reject pile. Do some research; find the hiring manager’s name or, at the very least, title.
2. Avoid Sending the Same Cover Letter to Multiple Companies
Employers can tell you didn’t take the time to customize your cover letter… and proves you didn’t make any effort to specifically apply for their job. This laziness will get you rejected!
3. Realize Screeners Don’t Read Your Resume and Ask, “Is This the One?”
Recruiters, who see hundreds of unqualified applicants per day, read your resume for one reason: to see if they can put you in the reject pile. Your job: don’t give them a reason to reject you by making your resume fit the employers’ needs as closely as possible.
4. Remove Anything on Your Resume That Predates College
Unless you cured cancer, landed on the moon or started your own business… anything you did before college is not relevant to the business world.
5. Make Sure Your Resume Doesn’t Look Like Something from the 50’s
Put some of your own personality and voice into your resume! I use color in many resumes I create (yes, even though every one says not to do that… what can I say?) The only realy rule of resumes: make it so good they want to meet you!
6. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile… Now
It’s like dog years: every day you procrastinate on building your LinkedIn profile, you lose 7 days of job search mojo. It’s not that scary, really! After building one client’s profile, he had a job interview the next week because they found him on LinkedIn!
7. Before Applying to Jobs Research the Organization
How do you know if you even want to work for them? And we’re talking real research… much more than just reviewing the “About Us” page on the website! Know the industry. Research the major competitors. Read about some of the company’s top products… and learn about the company’s culture.
8. Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
Design a job search strategy, target desired employers, do your research, put together a plan and stick to it.
9. Most Hiring Growth Is Happening in Small and Medium Sized Companies.
You’ve probably never heard of these companies. Research them, because they are a treasure trove of opportunity. I’ve seen clients network with and get offers from really good companies that I’d never heard of, and have tons to offer a young employee!
10. Stop Spraying and Praying Online Application
All the spray and pray strategy does is get you frustrated… because nothing good ever happens.Try networking, cold calling, targeting employers, and conducting informational interviews. Mix it up.
11. Avoid Saying “I Need a Job”
Not only do these words scare those who them, it’s too much responsibility. Spare them… and save yourself from sounding desparate. Instead, demonstrate a mindset shift by saying this: “I’m developing my job search strategy, targeting employers and will find the job that’s’ a perfect match for me, and the employer.”
12. Stop Talking About Yourself
No one likes a broadcaster, or spammer. Instead, get others to talk about themselves by asking good questions.
13. Don’t Put Your Education at the Top of Your Resume
Only academics and some old-school industries (like Wall Street) place a huge emphasis on your education. Also, don’t feel compelled to include your GPA and test scores unless they are SO stellar they’re worth bragging about.
14. Pick Up the Phone
Even if sometimes it feels as if it weighs 3,000 pounds… pick up the phone! I’ve heard numerous recruiters say, “no one calls.” So call. At the very least they’ll remember you – and your effort.
15. Stop Using Paragraphs on Your Resume
You have somewhere between 6 and 20-ish seconds to get the reader’s attention. And recruiters don’t use that time to read long paragraphs. Instead, go with bullets, whitespace and a lovely format. Bolding here and there can help lead the eye down the page.
16. Treat Your Internship Like a Long-term Interview
Even if it’s not the job of your dreams, work hard – every day – so you get a really great reference as well as some good interview stories from the experience.
17. Use Numbers on Your Resume
Numbers – as well as percentage and dollar signs –are visual landing images that grab the eye when readers are scanning your resume. They tell your story better and make you look more impressive. Wherever possible, describe accomplishments and the scope of your work by quantifying!
18. If You Don’t Know How to Interview Well, Get Some Coaching
Interviews get offers, and a live interview should never be used for target practice. Ever. The fact is, though, not all of us know how to interview well… yet. Get some help. Now.
19. Take Care of You Durng the Job Search Process
Eat right, work out, get enough sleep and – perhaps most important –connect with warm, positive people. Work on having a positive manner and visualize taking all the right actions necessary to get the offer. In this effort, your positive attitude will be your biggest asset!
20. Stop Trying to Do it All Yourself
Sending out resumes and getting nothing? For many of us, it is sometimes very hard to tell your own story. This is a whole new skill set and process for you – and it’s perfectly natural you might need help along the way. Get a job search mentor, consultant or counselor to help you… the sooner, the better.
Okay, what questions do you have? What else belongs on this list? Let us know, firstname.lastname@example.org!