I've had a few mentoring conversations with people in recent weeks about finding a first job, finding a better job, or advancing within the company they currently work for. One thing that all of these objectives have in common is the need to connect with the right people in organizations and leave them with a favorable and memorable impression of you. Here are some of the tips I've been sharing that you may find useful if you're looking to make a job change this year.
What should my resume look like in 2015?
Bear in mind that most resumes are being screened first by an automated solution and then by a recruiter before they ever make it to a hiring manager's desk. Therefore, it's even more important than ever to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for - and making sure that important keywords in the job description also appear in your resume.
As has always been the case, your resume should clearly articulate your measurable accomplishments. That you were “Responsible for” a certain area of the business is less compelling than that you “Drove XX% increase/improvement” in that part of the business.
How do I make sure that my resume makes it to the hiring manager?
One of the best ways to increase your chances that that will happen is to work through an organization's employee referral program if they have one. Ask your network, check out contacts you may have through LinkedIn or other social channels. Resumes submitted through the employee referral system will likely get a second look from recruiters. If the employee making the recommendation is also willing to reach out directly to the hiring manager to recommend you, that's even better.
In many employee referral programs, the employee referring you may be eligible for a financial incentive if you're hired - if your resume isn't already in their system. If you plan to ask a current employee for his or her help in connecting you within organization, it's courteous to ask before you submit your resume. Plenty of people will help you out of the kindness of their hearts, but try not to deprive your contacts of that reward opportunity.
Yay! I got the interview. How do I get ready?
Behavioral interviewing is a pretty common technique among hiring managers. That means fewer questions involving a recitation of your accomplishments, and more about how you produced a particular result and what you learned from that experience. A hiring manager doesn't want to hear that your greatest weakness is that you work too hard. They want evidence that you are results focused, a team player, and will be a fit in their environment.
Interviews are a two-way street. Job seekers should not only prepare to answer potential questions, but also to have questions prepared that will help them assess whether the organization will be a good fit for them. Check out sites like Glassdoor that can provide some insight about the experiences and attitudes of current employees and job seekers. Most importantly, job seekers should use their network to connect to past and present employees of the organization who can provide insight about organizational culture, priorities and what it's like to work there.
What's the best way to follow up after the interview?
At a minimum, follow up via email. Although not everybody expects it, I think an additional handwritten note is always appreciated. In the content of the follow up, I would not only offer your thanks, but provide further evidence of your potential value by including some specific insight on why you'd be a good fit for the organization. During your interview, you should have picked up on specific objectives the hiring manager has for the position. Give them something that will remind them why you'd be successful in meeting those objectives.
Kronos is a great place to work if you're looking. Check out our job openings here.
And if you have job search tips to share, please do so by commenting on this post. Happy hunting, folks.
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