It seems like these days, when you apply for jobs, it’s about who you know more than what you know.
But is that really true? What about your resume and cover letter? If you’re competing with hundreds of other applicants, how can you stand out from the crowd and avoid common mistakes when pressing the send button on your email? We spoke with HR Generalist and Recruiter Mike Andersen, from Charlotte-based Xceleration, in regards to all these questions and more.
How important is it to include some of the verbiage in the job description in your cover letter?
“It’s huge. To be able to tailor any of the stuff that you’re submitting in your application to what’s on the job description shows that you care enough to look at both and to adjust it. And you’re not just sending out 1,000 general applications, and not really caring about it…Instead of applying to 100 jobs today or 10 jobs today, pick one or two for the day, and really sit down and make sure it’s the right job for you. Then take time in that application to make sure it’s tailored to what they’re looking for. And if it’s a mix of two jobs that you see that are opening and fit your skill level, then reach out directly and say, ‘I think I could fit a hybrid role.’ That’s definitely an option as well.”
What are some common mistakes that people are making when they are sending in their resume and cover letter?
“Resume. It is not being up to date. Sometimes people just say, ‘Oh that’s too hard,’ or the formatting gets too complicated, so they don’t want to adjust it. I see a lot of mistakes with job titles where people will put the job title that’s a working title or a job title that’s in their head. Even with the cover letter, just making sure it’s up to date and addressed to the right person. I’ve been called Matt, Michael, Michelle, Frank, all across the board. Or the way that they’re saving the file, and the name of the file they’re saving. I’ve seen some very interesting file names be uploaded, and I’m not sure if they just don’t see that but anything from ‘work in progress’ to something random.”
Let’s say you get the job. What’s a common mistake people are making when they show up at the office?
“People don’t come prepared for that first day. They expect that the first two weeks is going to be training. A lot of companies these days have a much more accelerated training process. Come with the tools that you need to come with.”
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