When you apply to a job, applications, resumes, and cover letters are stored in remote, dusty servers, most never to be seen again. You do not want to fall into this application purgatory. What can you do to stand out from the hundreds of people applying to the same job?
Proofread. There are three areas to focus on that will help to ensure your application is flawless, professional, and relevant. Paying close attention to these areas can help separate you from the pack. Your career will thank you.
The first step to standing out is making sure your application, or any paperwork your interviewer requests, is mistake free. Whether you apply online or on paper (yes, they are still out there), you must have zero errors and submit a gold standard among applications. Go through this mental checklist to ensure your application will stand out:
- Are there any spelling/grammatical errors?
- Is my writing legible?
- Is my information correct?
- Did I leave any blanks?
- Did I proofread?
Remember, your application can be used as a screening tool. Any mistake, scribble, or lie, may get your application tossed in the trash.
2. Cover Letter
Your cover letter is introducing you to the prospective employer. The cover letter has to communicate your worth in order to make it to the next steps. It, too, must be immaculate.
First, you must proofread your cover letter. Have a friend read it over; have two friends read it over! Mistakes are absolute killers and proofreading is the only way to eliminate them. Do not solely rely on your own proofreading skills; our mind can trick us into seeing what we want to see.
Your cover letter has to generate instant interest. Tell the employer what you will do for them. If you have numbers to quantify your worth, use them. Never mention what you want from the employer.
Use the job description to craft your cover letter. The job description tells you what key attributes the employer is looking for. If you have these specific skills and qualifications, put them in your letter.
Your resume is a summary of your professional life. It should be simple, clutter free, and show the employer what value you will bring to their company.
In order for it to stand out, you should, first and foremost, proofread. If I may modify a line from Glengarry Glen Ross, “Always be proofreading.” I know I sound like a broken record, but proofreading is absolutely important! Your resume is a reflection of you. In an employer’s mind, if your resume is flawed, then you are flawed.
Tailor your resume to each job you apply to. Rather than use a one-size-fits-all resume, modify it to meet the needs of the employer! Remember the job description? Put that information into your resume. It will help your resume show up when recruiters search for candidates.
Keep your resume simple. Stay away from fancy fonts, borders, and the excessive use of bold, italics, and underline. You do not need anything overshadowing the content of your resume.
Paying close attention to your application, cover letter, and resume will assure your application will pass muster. Let your impressive achievements speak for you. Do not allow small mistakes to ruin your chances of getting a job. In the end, proofreading 50 times will be worth it. Take the time to stand out!
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