Five ways to ace your next job application
Written by Sam Bresnahan for Greenlight Long Island Magazine
Whether it's your first job or your fifth, chances are you've already thought about jumping ship and moving to greener pastures. But before you go after that next opportunity, prepare yourself by reviewing these tips for success.
1) Customize your resume for each job or company.
OK, you're sending out 25 job applications, so you can use the same resume for all of them, right? Wrong. You are more likely to get a call back if you find out what kind of candidate each company is looking for and what skills are needed for each position.
Do some background research. For starters, you can go to the company's Web site and view their mission statement, core values, core competencies, etc. Use your network of friends, family and business contacts to learn as much as you can about the company.
2) List accomplishments, not duties.
A laundry list of duties and responsibilities at each of your prior jobs makes for a weak, boring resume. A strong resume shows specifically how you contributed to the success of each company you've worked for.
For example, instead of writing "managed sales account" write "increased sales in my division by 25% over a two-year period." Needless to say, it is unethical and poor form to exaggerate or lie about your accomplishments.
3) Have a friend review your resume.
Major newspapers edit their front-page articles at least four or five times before going to press. You should do the same for your resumes. Make sure your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are perfect. Northrop Grumman routinely rejects applicants whose resumes say they want to work for "Northrup."
4) Be prepared for your interview.
Do your homework well before the day of your interview. Interviewers will sometimes gauge your interest in the company by how much you know about it. Google the name of the company and see what shows up on various news sites.
Researching yourself is as important as researching the company. Become familiar with every detail of your resume and be able to explain any gaps in your employment history.
One of the worst nightmares for a job applicant is being caught off-guard in an interview. Know how to answer the classic tough questions, such as "what is your greatest weakness?" or "tell me about yourself."
Finally, come to the interview prepared with some questions of your own. After all, one of the purposes of the interview is to find out if you are a good match with the company. Asking intelligent questions shows you are interested in the position and ready for the next step in the hiring process.
5) Send a thank-you note to each of the interviewers.
Re-state your interest in the position and thank the interviewers for their time. You can do this by e-mail or postal mail, depending on your timeline and the nature of the company. Make sure your note isn't riddled with spelling or grammatical errors. Sending a thank-you note may seem cliche, but you will stick out like a sore thumb if you're the only candidate who didn't send one.