As someone who does a lot of applicant screening for the Job Journal, I’ve seen all kinds of resumes, cover letters and emails from job applicants. Whether they’re applying for an entry-level or management position, invariably there are three types of candidates. Which one are you?
The Instant Reject – These applicants obviously didn’t read beyond the job title before responding to our ad, and they put forth zero effort to show interest in the position. Their resumes typically come with no cover letter, no reference to the position for which they are applying, and they leave it to the employer to figure out what they want. These are most often the jobseekers who can’t understand why they never hear back from any employers, although they claim to have sent out ‘hundreds’ of resumes.
The Also-Ran – Some jobseekers read job listings carefully and are selective about the jobs they apply for. They may be well suited for a position, but their generic resume and/or generic cover letter fail to point that out. Their failure to tailor the response to a specific employer and position relegates their application to second-class status. Though not automatically rejected, they’ll be set aside until the first-class applicants are interviewed.
The Automatic Interview – These candidates’ resumes are tailored to the job opening we advertised. They come with professional cover letters directed to the proper person, using specific words from our ad and sounding genuinely interested in the position. These candidates have done at least minimal research on our company and made a good ‘first impression.’ They will get the first phone calls (and the best chance at landing the job).
What can you do today?
Don’t let the ease of email or the ‘send resume’ buttons online cost you the job you want. Even minimal effort on your part can move your resume from the reject pile to the elite group of job
candidates given most serious consideration.