If you have employees, we help you. During these unprecedented times, we’d also like to help those looking for employment.
Giving back is a core value of The Works Consulting. So when we began to see people and their jobs affected by the current health crisis, we knew we had to share our knowledge gained from over 20 years in the human resources industry and help those looking for new employment stand out in the best way.
Whether you’re looking for work because your job has been affected or you’ve had the time to reevaluate and have decided you’d like to make a change, these top three secrets are for you.
1.Every contact is part of the interview.
From your initial cover letter and resume submission to your initial greeting at the interview and every email and phone call in between, every contact you make is being evaluated.
Formal is always the best approach in every communication. Take the time to proofread your email response one more time. Wait until you’re in a quiet area to answer the phone. When chatting with a recruiter or outside consulting agency facilitating the interviews, be professional. Whoever you’re speaking to is evaluating whether you’re a good match for the position and work culture or not.
This also goes for incidences when the contact feels less formal. Remember: nothing about the interview process is informal.
Even if someone tells you it’s informal. Even if they say this will be an informal coffee. Even if you’re invited to an informal get together with the team.
It will feel less formal than a traditionally structured interview, but a reminder to you as the candidate is that you’re still being interviewed. You’re still making an impression. You’re still the candidate.
The reason they may be structuring the interview as less formal is to see how you behave. It’s perfectly okay to relax and enjoy your time, but make sure that you are demonstrating who you are and who you’re going to be in the workplace in the most professional way possible. Be thoughtful about the language you are using, topics you’re discussing and who you’re talking about.
Always take the time to present yourself the best you can – through emails, over the phone and in person. Every single interaction is making an impression. Make it a professional one.
2. How you format your resume really does matter.
Most hiring managers will only look at each resume they receive for 30 seconds. Really. You have less than a minute to communicate your value as an employee.
To stand out:
- Position the information you want them to see at the top. Hint: Your name is actually not the most important piece of information. Ditch the template that makes your name the largest and use the extra space to highlight your experience instead.
- Bold certain phrases throughout your resume that are compelling.
- Put your contact information – especially email address – at the top in size 12 and a font style that’s easy to read.When formatting your resume, you want to make it as easy as possible for the recruiter or hiring manager to see why you are the best candidate for the position.
Bonus tip: Include a cover letter with your resume even if it is not required. Resist the urge to use a template! This is your opportunity to show the employer that you took the time to research their company and are actually interested in that specific position. Communicate specifics. Be thoughtful. Submitting a cover letter already makes you stand out. Make sure you stand out for your thoughtfulness and attention to detail.
3.Your follow up note is powerful.
When applying, follow up contact can make or break.
We have a client who is strict about follow up. If you don’t follow up with her after the interview, you will not get the job. I know this to be true because I’ve witnessed her strict adherence in action.
We were looking for an HR Director, and we had found a great one. However, the candidate did not send a follow up note after the interview, so our client decided to pass on him altogether. We had been looking for a few months, interviewing a fair amount of candidates to find a match who was qualified and would also work well in their company culture. He seemed like a great match, but he didn’t send a thank you note, which demonstrates good follow-up skills, so he didn’t get hired. It can be that strict.
We totally respect that she has these guidelines that she never wavers from, but it can be unfortunate to see a really good candidate slip away because they didn’t send a thank you note. Don’t let that happen to you! Promptly send a thank you note after each interview whether it was over the phone or in-person.
Thank you notes can be email or handwritten. Emails are great because they’re instantaneous. We recommend emailing within 24 hours of the interview. Following up with a handwritten note sent through the mail will also make you stand out.
It’s amazing how few thank you notes we actually receive. The thank you note will truly push you ahead in line for a position.
If any of these tips seem like “of course people do these things!” Trust us, not as many people do them as you would think, or we wouldn’t have them on our list. Use these secrets as you apply for your next position and see how you stand out.