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4 proven tips to help you land the interview for your dream job now

5th March 2019 Print

Whether you’re looking for your very first job, or ready to look for something better, you’ve picked the perfect time. In the United States, the UK, and markets all over the world, jobs are being filled at a rate not seen since before the Great Recession hit in 2008. While there’s opportunity galore, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with plenty of competition.

To help you stand out from the crowd and land an interview for the job you’ve been dreaming of, follow these four proven tips.

1. Go Where the Employers Go to Post Jobs

First of all, if you can’t find the jobs that you want, you obviously can’t apply to them.

If you spend all of your time browsing job boards that don’t frequently list the positions you’re looking for, you’ll be job hunting for a long time. More generalized jobs may end up on the brand name boards but for specific niches and industries, they tend to stick to specialized boards. Common examples include financial experts, freelance writers, contracts for government work, and medical specialties, such as radiology. To start your search, use the outlets that have the opportunities you want.

2. Tailor Your Resume to Each Prospective Employer

One common mistake that job seekers make is drafting one standard resume and leaving it at that. The problem is that the jobs you’re seeking, even if they’re similar positions, won’t always look for the exact same criteria. For example - if you’re looking for a writing position, one employer may be seeking an expert in blog posts, while another wants SEO-centered content for social media. 

How to Ensure Your Resume Measures Up

Whenever you review a job posting, there are two main things to pay attention to - buzzwords and skills. Buzzwords are the words and phrases that employers use to describe the personality of who they’re looking for. A few examples of common buzzwords include:

- Team player

- Detail-oriented

- Self-starter

- Passionate

- Results-oriented

You need to also pay attention to the specific skills they’re looking for, such as computer skills, specific programs, operations concepts, etc. 

For both buzzwords and skills, you need to update your resume and your cover letter (more on that later) with these keywords. Modern HR and recruiting departments tend to initially sort through applications using screening software. These programs match applications based on what’s advertised on the post and what’s written on the resume. By using the same language on the job posting on your resume, you stand a better chance of getting picked up by the software.

3. Always Submit a Cover Letter

Whenever there’s space to type or upload one, submit a cover letter. This is your chance to speak directly to the employer, beyond what’s listed on your resume.

As outlined by the Harvard Business Review, a cover letter is essential for four main reasons:

1. It’s a chance to stand out from the crowd

2. It’s your opportunity to match your personality with the company

3. It allows you to showcase your attention to detail

4. It empowers you to show your excitement about the position

Even if the job post does not require a cover letter, you need to submit one. This is actually to your benefit because it shows the employer that you’re willing to go above and beyond what’s called for to get the job. If there isn’t space to submit a cover letter, at the least, send an abbreviated version via email to the person reviewing applications.

4. Conduct a Follow-Up

Speaking of emails, once you’ve submitted your application, you always need to do a follow-up. This can be a quick email stating that you’ve submitted your application and stating how excited you are about the opportunity to apply. Just like you should on a cover letter, try to find out who the hiring manager or supervisor for your position is and address your email to them. If you can’t determine who it is, take your best guess based on social media profiles. Companies won’t hold that against you if you get it wrong. In fact, they’re more liable to be impressed. You just demonstrated that you’ve taken the time to research the key players in the company.