On the job hunt, you can do everything right and still come away empty handed. Finding a good, well-paying job is one of the most stressful and difficult things you can do, and when you send in application after application without so much as an email or phone call in return, it can send you into a downward spiral. Is it your application? Your social media accounts? Perhaps it’s your cover letter or the resume you pieced together using one of those internet resume templates?
It can be anything — but if you want to get serious about getting the job and being noticed, start with your cover letter and curricula vitae.
These days, your CV needs to dazzle in a number of ways. You need to make sure it impresses a hiring manager, and ultimately, the people you’ll be working under. It also needs to be able to make it past the original filtration programs many companies use. It can be very difficult, and small mistakes can mean your resume gets sent immediately to the trash.
Separating yourself from the crowd
What’s the trick to making sure your resume isn’t quickly cast aside, in favor of other candidates? If there were an easy answer, a lot of people would surely have taken advantage of it and shared the secret by now. But there really isn’t — it requires a number of things. But mostly, you’ll want to separate yourself from the crowd of other applicants. It’ll take some extra work, and you’ll have to spend time to make sure your CV, cover letter, and interviewing skills are on-point.
Also, make sure you follow these important resume rules to make sure you’re not ignored right out of the gates.
1. You’re using bad resume templates
Don’t Google “resume templates,” and use one of the many CV boilerplates that everyone else is using. Seriously, it looks amateurish, and typically, just like every other applicant’s materials. Take the time to get creative and make something that is your own, and that makes an impression. Yes, it’s more time-consuming and requires some more effort. But it’s worth it, and hiring managers will get a kick out of seeing something new in the stack of CVs they’re working their way through.
2. It’s missing the right skills
As mentioned, you need to translate to employers that you’re the applicant that can solve their problems. List the skills they’re looking for and include some others that are sure to win hiring managers over. There are certain skills and talents that are universally helpful to organizations. Include some of these, and give your resume some extra buoyancy.
3. It contains dead weight
Is your CV bogged down with a bunch of useless nonsense? You need to make sure the real estate available to you on your document is working for you, and not against you. Get rid of the dead weight — or cut the fat, if you will. If you’re experienced, that means paring down what you’re including on your resume and making it applicable to the job posting at hand. But make sure you don’t include certain skills or useless information. Often, it can only hurt your chances.
4. You’re boring
This is the number one question or thing you need to address with your CV: What makes you special, or separates you from all the other applicants? And does your resume communicate that? If you can’t figure out a way to make yourself less boring, how can you expect an employer (who’s just interviewed dozens of other people) to remember you, let alone give you the job? Create a “hook,” and get creative with your application materials.
In other words, make an effort.
5. You applied at a bad time
Most applicants don’t think about this, but recent research finds it does make a difference when you apply for a job. According to TalentWorks, which analyzed roughly 1,600 applications, you have a “5x higher chance of getting an interview” if you apply between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. After that period, odds drop for the rest of the day, except for a brief increase after lunchtime (12:30 p.m.). The worst time is 7:30 p.m.
6. You made no serious effort
Finally, you need to tailor your application materials for the specific position to which you’re applying. Hit on the major keywords in the job posting and describe how you’re a fit for the specific job. Get as specific as possible when going through your cover letter and CV, and address the major concerns the employer has. Don’t phone it in, or use a canned response. Take the extra time and get it right.