If you’ve been the person to do the hiring you have access to a different lens on the hiring process, however, I know many people do not have the benefit of this additional perspective. Having built teams large and small I’ve hosted countless interviews for small businesses, virtual/remote roles as well as for large Fortune 500 Companies. Here are my top tips for job seekers from a hiring manager.
Remember, as a job seeker you want to make it as easy as possible on the hiring manager and company to get your information, remember you and find you when they’re ready to talk to you.
Know what you’re looking for.
Get really specific about the type of job and sort of culture/company you want to work for. Hiring is as much about it being a good fit for you as the candidate as it is for the hiring company. It’s a pain in the butt to hire and train someone, so everyone is looking for the best long term fit possible. You can help by taking the time to get clear on what you’re looking for in a job and narrowing down your search. It’s much better to submit 12 applications each week to companies that you’re super excited about, than to submit 100+ out of desperation.
Customize your resume.
Yes, there are hundreds of jobs out there and customizing your resume for each one sounds like a lot of work. Yes, it’s easier to send the same resume and coverletter to every job. And, it shows. The hiring manager can quickly tell who put in the effort and who did not. When there are dozens, or hundreds of resumes, guess which ones make it into the ‘interview’ stack? The ones who took the time to customize.
By customize I mean that your coverletter should reference the company and job title you’re applying for, highlight projects or experience you have that speak to their job description. You can even pull a quote from their listing and speak to it. You may want to reorder some of the bullets on your resume to highlight those that are most applicable. This also involves doing a bit of research on the company itself, let them know that you know who they are and why you’d be excited to join their team. This is especially important if you’re looking to work for a smaller company, when they hire you they’re inviting you in to their family of sorts – show them why they should want you!
Follow the instructions.
If they ask you to attach your cover letter as a pdf and what you have as a .pages file, spend the time to learn how to convert it to a pdf. Don’t paste the content into the body of the email either. The reason they put specific instructions is not to make your life difficult, but to make their life easier and to ensure you that you’re capable of following instructions.
The same applies if they have a process for you to go through, questions to answer etc. It’s not to make your life difficult, but to make the hiring manager’s job easier. If you can’t be a team player during the application process, then….yeah, they’ll move along quickly.
Put your name in the name of your files.
Last time I hired I received over 100 applications. If your resume is named ‘business resume.pdf’ how am I supposed to find yours amongst the 99 others in that folder? You may have a dozen different versions of your resume on your computer, I encourage you to! When you customize it for a specific job and save, be sure to save it as ‘your name resume.pdf’ before you attach it.
Send as few files as possible.
Again, it’s all about making it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to find you, remember you and see what you’re capable of. Rather than send 4 different documents, send 1. Put your cover letter as page 1 of your resume, send one file.
Follow up if possible.
Candidates who follow up always get my attention. The ideal is to send a thank you for their time, right after the interview along with a ‘checking in – how’s your decision making process coming along?’ a couple of weeks after. Even if you must submit through an automated system, go to their website, find a contact email, or even *gasp* a physical address and send them an actual thank you card. Just be careful to walk the line between ‘organized and eager’ and ‘badgering’.