Our latest blog post taught you how to change your mindset, find the field to work in, and how to gain initial experience in this field. Next, we will dive into the specifics of writing a CV, finding a job, and standing out among applicants. Writing an excellent CV or Resume is a sure way to make sure you are one of the top job applicants applying for the job.
How to get response on Job Application?
As we all know, employers get tons of resumes in their inboxes, so standing out is the top priority. Let’s stop for a minute and look at the following quote:
Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.
We could try to translate this bullshit quote into job finding as ‘If you have great competences, companies will find you and beg you to work for them’. But that’s simply not so. Even extremely talented and experienced people can have problems with finding a job, and even they must work hard to be noticed in the CV ocean.
The author of that quote (or something like it) is Ralph Waldo Emerson. Notice the ‘Waldo’. I bet the Where’s Waldo game was based on this man. Point being, you better move out of the forest, and start working on self-promotion – but writing a CV might even be a bad idea.
Should I write a CV or Resume?
The answer is obvious: YES, you should present yourself and your competencies, but NO, you might be better off not writing it. Numerous applicants are taking the easy and ineffective route of just sending the curriculum blurb to job ads. Sure, doing that will certainly feel like you did something – but in reality, you just sent a pdf over. You just spent some time. Nothing original. You’re being thrown straight into the pool of sharks with other job applicants. Why not be the shark instead? Think about how you can smash your skills, knowledge, and experience right into the employer’s face so they will see only you.
How can you stand out? Try making a website (remember the GooglePleaseHireMe guy?), doing a short video CV, or even buying a billboard. There are many other options, but you’ll need to find them yourself, and tailor it according to the job, the company and even to a specific job ad. Designing a custom, unique pdf-CV might suffice if you happen to be looking for work in the creative industry – or, just sending over an actual paper along with the digital copy might make a huge impression.
Another great way (if you’re not overly creative) of standing out is by stating specifically what value will you add to the company. Will you be able to bring in 100 new customers every month? Will you improve search-engine traffic of their sites by 20%? All of these are what really matters to people running a business. If they’re not going to get anything from you, why would they hire you? Along with the promise, you can include a contingency such as, if you can’t improve conversion by 7% within a month, you’ll be on your way – just make sure you can actually do it!
Tips on Filling Out a Resume
What should I write in my resume objective?
Resume Objectives are generally a waste of real estate. Instead of an Objective, why not include a Branding Statement? This is a concise, memorable statement that lets the reader know what you offer the company. A tutorial on writing a branding statement can be found here.
Do I have to list all of my positions on the resume?
You want to make sure that the information you are including in the resume is relevant to the position. Leave off or significantly scale back out-of-date or unrelated positions. This way, readers will focus more on recent and relevant experience instead of getting distracted by information that does not add as much value.
Furthermore, if you include jobs such as barista, cashier, server, lifeguard etc. – it can be reasonably expected that anyone reading your resume will know what kind of responsibilities these jobs typically involve. Including bullet points like “handled cash and assisted customers with checkout” or “prepared beverages” are generally unhelpful and at worst emphasize a lack of pertinent skills or accomplishments. If you only have cashier/server/retail experience, try to emphasize things that you did that are unique, such as maintaining a 100% attendance record or re-merchandising an endcap to improve sales of X product by Y%.
Should I list interests/hobbies on my resume?
This is a gray area. Historically, including this kind of information has been frowned upon. While there are still many companies that will view this kind of information as superfluous, there are some that want to know about your personal interests. The best advice is to research your audience and determine if this information is appropriate for the specific company to which you are applying.
Remember, concrete facts and figures are always more compelling than bland description. Listing “running” as a hobby is vague and fairly meaningless. Listing even a relatively modest achievement like, “participated in ten 5K races, with two third place age-bracket finishes” shows determination, dedication, a commitment to self-improvement – all of which are extremely relevant attributes in any context.
Where should I put my references on resume?
Don’t include references or “references available upon request” on your resume. Do bring a reference sheet to any interviews so that you can provide them should they be requested.
Tips on Filling Out Online Job Applications
When applying for jobs online, create an autofill form for your old jobs and other common information. This will save you a ton of time. For example, you have to fill in information on your past jobs, internships etc. You can go into your web browser settings and created an autofill form (address, phone number, company name, email etc) and then when you get to the portion of the application that asks to fill in company A’s information, just type the name, my autofill options show, I click on those and boom, saved me several minutes of remembering the office phone number, address etc.
Also remember that often the first cut in the hiring process is a computer filter where they take the top answers to the qualification questions, then they take the highest percent of keywords. Its a safe guess that those keywords will be ones they use to describe the qualifications
When you submit your resume to a place that uses an analyzer, what you should do is take a blank line (especially one that you change the sizing on to like 2 or 4) and then in white text, write a bunch of keywords for the job that you are going for. Hopefully, your resume itself is well crafted enough to use most of these words within the meat and potatoes, but doing something like this ensures that your resume passes the initial robot cutoff and into someone’s hands. Then, when they see it or print it, the white text never appears.
The downside is that sometimes the companies will parse the resume into plaintext, meaning that this laundry list of 100 terms you pasted at the bottom of your resume is now visible and will look like garbage. Ask any recruiter who has used a tool like Jobvite and they will concur.
Finding a job – Where to look for job
Now that we’ve cleared that resume thing out of the way, we can start finding actual positions. I am not going to list all the sites that list job ads – there is a number of lists available online.
I would suggest you start looking for jobs on niche job sites – for example, if you were be looking for a design job, you’d go to Krop. This article is a good starting point for finding those niche job sites.
Search – online and offline
I don’t mean to promote this blog any more than I already did, but SOYS posted another great article with tricks for finding job openings with Google. I couldn’t describe it any better, so I’m just going to direct you there.
Next, you should probably check out ads in papers and on physical job boards. I know, a lot of information is now on internet, but that’s probably why those offline ads receive less applications. Money in the bank! Well, not quite yet.
Searching actively for a job
You might find out that applying to job ads gives you a very low ‘conversion rate’, meaning that you don’t really get many calls from them. You should put yourself into a position of ‘looking for an employer’ rather than ‘applying to the ads’ – and you do that by proactively selecting companies you’d like to work with and contacting them about positions. This will be hard at the beginning, but once you get a hang of it it really becomes much easier.
Open up a spreadsheet and do some research on Google – which companies are in the field you want to work in? Write 10-15 of them down and do a bit of Facebook search. Do you know anyone working there? Existing employees are almost always a great foot in the door. Next, make sure you follow, friend, and like the companies so you don’t miss any of their (job opening) shout-outs. Study these companies closely to create the best custom tailored application to a non-existent job.
Example: You want a job as a copywriter and want to work at company Black’n’White. They are a creative agency and their logo is a zebra. You write your application referencing zebras everywhere and print it on zebra-striped paper. Even if they can’t hire you at the moment, you will make such an impression that they will at least refer you to another company (if you ask!). Remember, business world is all about connections.
Conclusion: Tips for Applying for Jobs
Just keep in mind that finding a truly unique way to apply to a job is extremely important, no matter your skills, experience, etc. It’s even more important to get a reply for every job application you send. I happen to work in graphic design – and let me tell you, the product can be awesome, but if it lacks in presentation, nobody will give it a chance. Don’t be that product! Read how to get a job with little or no experience.