Getting a Job! Stand Out!

The day after Halloween and what am I writing about; getting a job!  Why?  Why not.  You put on a mask to reinvent yourself for the night; why not reinvent your resume to get yourself a “dream” job or a better position where you are at.  This is the first part:

Make Yourself Stand Out in the Hiring Process

A resume is basically an introduction to your life and professional experience. As a part of the hiring mechanism I have been privy to reviewing numerous resumes. So many applicants filled their “duties” section with basic positions descriptions. This does not provide a picture of who the candidate is and their own personal attributes.

Another piece of the puzzle missing is the cover letter. A position specific cover letter shows a little extra initiative (mailed or attached to the online application). I am by no means an expert on the resume but I look at it from my personal experience as a real human (not a machine looking at keywords). The hiring process is a crazy animal and different for every position. The applicant needs to stand out in their application.

One thing that always stood out to me is relevant personal key points or achievements for each position the applicant held in the body of the resume. This can be in the form of quantifiable achievements (i.e. successfully managed a program that sold a million widgets) or qualitative achievement (i.e. used my mad personable skills to build a cohesive liaison network where there was none prior).

I was a former Infantryman and one of the lessons I learned is to always improve your fighting position. This should be used in the resume writing process and your skills. Always improve. Always add key achievements. Always remember to personalize your resume to fit each position you apply for based on the job description BUT don’t cut and paste job descriptions into your resume.

Another point is to look at where you have come. I sometimes look back at my handwritten Form OF-612, Application for Federal Employment, from 1996 for a job I put in for, wow, times have changed. I can tell how that basic form resume has been steadily improved since then to morph into what I use now. Same person, different times.

I remember putting in for a lateral position about 6 years ago. I applied, interviewed, scored great, and…….crickets. Sometime later I called to inquire. The Human Resource representative told me flat out that my resume/application was in a stack of hundreds and they have no real way to distinguish all the quality candidates. The HR rep then offered me a position after we talked a bit. Weird, my networking and “stand out” minute came after a call to HR. This is another area: stand out, make calls, follow up, and keep in their peripheral.

The last point is to network. Use LinkedIn, use your already formed network (i.e. friends, family coworkers), attend training, be sociable (dig deep if you’re an introvert).

Jason, Halloween 2016.