After searching the recruitment websites day after day, you come across the title for a job that catches your eye. Your skills match, the company is everything you’ve been looking for, the salary is great; it’s your dream job.
So you start frantically doctoring up your resume with adjectives from thesaurus.com and you’re typing up that enthusiastic cover letter when it hits you: you’re one of likely hundreds of resumes that will be submitted for this job. How can you possibly stand out?
Keep it Simple
What if simplifying things were the answer? Instead of trying to impress the hiring team with your fancy words and lengthy explanations of your experience, what if you took it back to basics?
After going through the hiring process himself, Mark Manson, bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, recently gave some helpful advice on his blog about how to land your dream job.
Here are some takeaways.
We told you it would be simple! Manson reported a surprising number of applicants (about 150 out of 700) that simply didn’t follow the instructions he included in the application and for that reason, they were immediately disqualified.
What to watch for:
- Submit the application to the proper email address with the proper subject line.
- Keep the application within the specified word limits or appropriate number of pages.
- Submit by the appointed deadline.
- Attach all of the required documents in the requested file formats.
- Avoid basic grammar and spelling errors.
This is not revolutionary information, but without a proper edit, or if you’ve failed to meet all the requirements in the instructions, all of your hard work may be discarded in a matter of seconds. The employer needs to know that you can do as requested, within the timeframe they’ve outlined. As Manson says, “If you can’t follow basic instructions when applying for the job, why would I ever think you could follow instructions while actually doing the job?
It’s Not You, It’s Me
The application is not about you, it’s about your employer. Manson’s advice may seem a little harsh, but he makes a good point: The employer is ultimately hiring you to make their life easier.
He reported a direct correlation between the quality of the application and the ratio between the number of “you’s” and “I’s” that appear. It might seem contradictory, but he says leaving yourself out of it and instead explaining how you might be of assistance to the employer proved to be a more successful method.
So instead of saying…
“I am a successful salesman with over 20 years experience selling cars. I have made over 400 sales and have been Employee of the Year 12 times.”
…he suggests rearranging your words to show how you’re going to be an asset to the company.
“My sales success will increase your profits and grow your business. My experience will allow me to be the leader your team needs to sell 5 cars a day, and ensure customer satisfaction is a number one priority. Your company will benefit from my sales experience in moving high-end vehicles off the lot.”
Show, Don’t Tell
We’ve all seen or used these tried and true terms: “self-starter,” “passionate,” “team-player,” “driven,” and so on. If these abstract terms are easy to recognize, that probably means everyone is using them, and they’re starting to lose their pizzazz.
If you have strong organization skills, your well-crafted resume will prove that. If you’re detail-oriented, your resume will be free of errors and you will have made sure all of your files are submitted on time and in the right format. If you are a creative thinker, your cover letter will be anything but boring.
Go One Step Further
Manson advises that going above and beyond the requirements can have a big impact.
- Provide a sample of your previous work as a tangible way for your potential employer to see your skillset.
- Show off your strengths: if you’re a web designer and you see the employer’s website needs a little lift, why not send a sample of what a refreshed version could look like?
- Are there areas where you can provide suggestions for improvements? (Tactfully, of course).
With a Little Help From My Friends
Maybe this all makes you second guess the application you’ve spent hours curating and you’re feeling even more lost. Before you start to spiral, remember we can help! Daeco provides professional resume review, as well as, interview prep for individuals. We can be the second set of eyes you need and provide an honest opinion about how your application reads. We’ll coach you on how to handle potential questions an interviewer might ask, and have you feeling confident and prepared to land the job of your dreams.