My good friend JB from Tennessee taught me a lot about the skills involved in getting a job. And heís an expert on the subject, heís landed every job heís ever applied for. I learned all this during one of our recent phone calls. I was telling him about the new Canadian Relocation job search engine we were developing, and he gave me the scoop on his secret. And now Iím going to let you in on it.
You have a resume. So does your competition
JB has had all types of jobs, from car salesman to Director of Agricultural Services. Heís used the methods Iím going to share with you to get an interview for every job he has ever applied for. Every interview has always lead to a job. No, there is no Tennessee moonshine or other magic involved, in fact itís pretty straight forward.
Youíll probably be surprised to hear that itís not as much about your resume (or CV) as you might think. Donít get me wrong, even one spelling mistake in your resume can ruin your chances of getting the job and itís important to get the content right. Even if your resume is perfect, keep in mind that there may be hundreds of other equally qualified applicants and the average hiring manager or recruiter spends less than 10 seconds scanning it to decide if it ends up in the "Yes" pile or the "Rejected" pile. That's not a lot of time to stand out from the crowd.
That's what JB focuses on, how to stand out from his competition. He wants to make it easy for the hiring manager to call him in for an interview.
Market yourself to land the interview
So whatís JB's secret? The secret lies in the description of the job he is applying for, or more accurately, how JB interprets the job description. The first thing he does when reviewing a posted job is break it down into sections that identify the key criteria the employer is looking for in a candidate. He includes each criterion in a cover letter and outlines exactly how he meets each one. By doing this JB clearly shows the employer how he adds value to the business.
JB suggests reading the job description carefully, two or three times, to identify what the employer is looking for in their ideal candidate. If the employer is looking for "communication and leadership skills", then write a paragraph that summarizes how your experience meets the criteria. Here is an example of what JB wrote in his cover letter for his position as Director of Agricultural Services when addressing communication and leadership: "Serving as the Graduate Student Association President has equipped me with skills to communicate with international students on a personal level. In addition to presenting research, I have designed and led many outdoor educational programs on wildlife management for all ages while working as a Program Specialist at Missouri Parks and Recreation.".
In addition to making it easy for the employer to see how qualified you are, they will also be curious to verify that the statements you make in the cover letter are supported by your resume and will spend more than 10 seconds reviewing it. Remember, the number one goal of your resume and cover letter is to land you an interview so make sure they are both well written and structured. Finally, don't include experience that is irrelevant to the position. As you'll see in JB's resume, he did not add his experience as a car salesman when applying for Director of Agricultural Services.
Preparing for the interview
Although it's not possible to prepare for every interview question, you can prepare your answers to the most commonly asked interview questions. Research the company thoroughly online, a good starting point is Yahoo Finance for company summaries including news, statistics and a list of key competitors. You can have breaking news about the company delivered to your inbox by signing up to Google Alerts. It's also time to practice your interview skills. If you need a little coaching, the Orai App will "coach you to reduce filler words, speak clearly, and at a good pace".
Use JBís resume and cover letter to get hired
JB has kindly offered to share his resume and cover letter with you so you can get more insight into his methods he used to land his most recent job as Director of Agricultural Services. The cover letter contains clear and concise examples of how JB aligned his employers 3 main criteria with his experience. This is what made JB stand out from the many other applicants, got him an interview and eventually a job offer. JBís templates will act as inspiration for your personal documents and getting hired. Click the links below to download them.