1) Don’t waste your time (or mine). Take a targeted approach. Why waste time applying for jobs you know you’re not going to get? Read the ad carefully and be honest with yourself. If you were the employer, would you be the best candidate for the job, or is it a stretch? Put your time and effort into the jobs that may actually be a good fit.
2) Do as I say! What does the employer ask for? No phone calls? Don’t call! Send a cover letter? Send one!
3) Grammar, spelling, punctuation. Given that we live in a world in which your computer will do a spell check for you, why send spelling errors? And “ur” is not a word! Your cover letter and resume should be proof-read, professionally written and easy to read.
4) Show interest. Do your research. Please don’t copy and paste, it shows. I know it and you know it. If you’re not even going to put a little effort in initially, why should I even remotely consider you? Tell me in the cover letter why I should hire YOU. Don’t just reiterate what your resume says. Do a little research about our company and the job and show some interest and maybe even a little excitement about working here. What are you going to do for our company? How are you going to contribute toward our company’s success?
5) Be honest. Best policy. You don’t have to give every dirty detail of your life, but if you’re honest about your skills, why you only stayed at that job for 6 months, or why you were unemployed for 2 years, be honest. Don’t try to sugar-coat it with some slick answer…if you’re honest about your past, you just may earn my respect.
6) Brush your hair, iron your clothes, tuck in your shirt. You’d be surprised how much your appearance affects your chances. And I don’t mean how good looking you are (although I know there are studies on that, I won’t address that here.) Just take a little care in how you present yourself. Be professional in your appearance.
7) We’re not friends. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a personality. Let me get to know who you are so we can tell whether you’re a good fit for the position or not. But don’t be so informal that you’re fist-bumping me on the way out. Have a little respect, I am, after all, the one who’s going to decide whether to make you an offer or not.
8) Ask questions. Come prepared. You’re looking for a good match for you too, so ask questions that show you’ve thought about the position. Find out what you need to know in order for you to succeed in this position and decide whether it’s a good fit for you.
9) Thank you, thank you, thank you! Send a thank you note! Either hand-written or via email. Send it the same day as your interview so that you stand out amongst the others. Be sincere. Reiterate something that was said during your interview to help your future employer remember your interview. And again show interest in the company and the position.
Look, I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a job… or even an interview for that matter. But if you don’t put forth your best effort, then why should someone hire you? Every time you apply for a job, it should be with the same effort as you did with the first, even though it’s the 100th. The 100th employer just may be the one and you don’t want to come off tired, angry, and fed up. I know, I know, you’re screaming at me! But, but, but… I DO ALL THIS AND STILL I CAN’T LAND A JOB! You think I don’t know what it’s like out there Maybe not, but what I do know is that you can’t change that, you can only change yourself. And if you want to start seeing a difference, you’ll have to take an honest look at yourself to see if there’s anything you’re doing that you could improve upon, because you won’t be able to single-handedly change the economy. It’s all you’ve got, so put forth your best effort and let me know how it goes. Good luck! PS: I wish I could hire you all. In the meantime, maybe you’d like to become a member of our network to at least get the ball rolling…