5 Reasons Why You Need More Than a Good Resume to Stand Out from the Crowd
“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” – Whitney M. Young
You’ve probably heard hundreds of times that your resume is the most important document in your job search, and, that is so. But if you want to stand out from the competition, I say you need more than a great resume. In the end, only technically qualified candidates will get to interview for any open job. And, while your resume may (or may not) help you get in the door, you will need more than your resume to get the job. So, you may ask, what else do you need? Lots of research, interview preparation and (unfortunately), additional “documentation”.
Your Resume Does Not Highlight Skills Specific to the Job – While your resume will (should) provide an explanation of job responsibilities and achievements, it is not the best document to highlight skills specific to any particular job. You should create an additional document that highlights your specific strengths. Your “strengths” document should be tailored for each job application and should be submitted with your resume and cover letter. Most online sites (whether they be company career sites or job search sites) provide the option of uploading additional documents. Your strengths document should be one of the additional documents.
- Examples of strengths and weaknesses – Use this link to help you write your strengths document
If You Are Not Familiar with the Company, You Will Not Get the Job – It might be the perfect job for you. Your skills match, there is a good fit in terms of corporate culture and you think that you hit it off with your potential future manager. But when you are asked “and what attracts you to XYZ Corp?” you cannot answer the question. This lack of a basic understanding of the company will probably cost your the job. Employers not only want the right person for the job, they want someone who selected the company for specific reasons. You must do your research on the company before you interview. This will allow you to be proactive in the interview process.
- Company Research – Know Your Employer:
Can you tell me why you are the perfect person for this job (in 30 seconds)? – While you might not get asked this specific question, you do need to have your “quick pitch” (better know as your elevator speech) ready to go before the job interview. In fact, your elevator speech could be crucial in helping you get an interview. Whatever the need, it is well worth the time preparing and memorizing your 30 second elevator speech.
Are You Prepared for the Interview? – Although it may not seem so, getting to the interview is the easy part. We all know how few and far between we get a real live interview (so it may not seem like the easy part to you), but this part of the process (getting there) is the “passive” part of the process. The real work is now convincing the interviewers that, not only are you the right person for the job, but you are so much better than anyone else they may have in mind. Interview preparation is not just about being able to answer a set of “strange” or standard questions. It is about ensuring the hiring manager knows you are the right person for the job. Some of this can be leveraged from your work on your elevator speech, but the rest must come from being prepared in several different ways.
- Know who you will be talking to – Once you get a list of who will be interviewing you, look them up on sites like LinkedIn to learn something about them before you meet (but don’t attempt to connect with them before you get the job!). Acing the Interview – Tips and Strategies for Successful Interviewing
- Research – Back to the point mentioned earlier, expand your research on the company to include the area of the company where you are interviewing.
- Who’s your daddy? – Metaphorically speaking of course. Who do you know that works at this company or who maybe you know someone who knows someone. It can only help. 5 Tips for Leveraging you Social Network in Your Job Search
Have You Lined Up Your References – Having good references is more than just having a list of names. Your references must know (and agree) that you are using their names and that they may be contacted. Most importantly (and hopefully I’m pointing out the obvious), these must be references that you know will present you in the best light. Just because you think they thought highly of you will not cut it, you must speak with them and ensure they agree to act as references. Chances are that if they are not comfortable speaking about you then they will decline to participate. So, how do you get the right references?
Good luck in your search.
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.