The Road to the Interview

After a successful group of posts about managing your social media (check out my post about managing your Twitter here), my colleagues (Andrew Miller, Amanda Janice and Roman Suer) and I decided to do a series on how to land a job from networking, to what to do before your interview.

So, you’ve built a positive personal brand on your social media platforms, and you’ve done a great job networking with professionals and now you’re applying for a job. So what next? You’re probably going to send your resume and cover letter to an HR person in the company, and your goal is to make it past their desk and land an interview.

Here are some resume and cover letter tips for landing an interview:

  1. No spelling mistakes!  This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how easily a minor spelling mistake can slip by you. If a hiring manager sees a spelling mistake on your resume, they will throw it in the garbage and not consider you 99 percent of the time. Make sure you put your resume through a word processor to catch mistakes and then have more than one person edit it for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  2. Address your cover letter to the hiring manager. This should not be difficult to do in this day and age. It adds a personal touch that hiring managers like to see. If you’re having difficulty finding this, don’t hesitate to (gasp!) pick up a phone and call.
  3. Tailor your resume to the job. I have multiple versions of my resume available to send depending on what kind of job I’m applying for. What’s most relevant for one job is likely different for another, especially if you specialize in more than one area (i.e. social media, media relations, etc.) so put what’s most relevant for the particular job at the top of your resume and go from there.
  4. Keep it to one page – with exceptions. As a young professional applying for your first full-time position, it’s unlikely that you should have over a one-page resume and you’d be surprised how many hiring managers don’t like to see more than one page. However, if you happen to have a lot of experience, don’t be afraid to have a one-page and a two-page version. In order to keep it to one page, add an ‘Other Relevant Experience’ line on which you simply list internship or job experience that is less relevant for the job you’re applying for. This saves room but also shows that you’ve had the experience. This also avoids the issue of either having too much information on your resume vs. having too much white space (both are bad, you must find a happy medium).
  5. Include your social media accounts on your resume. Provided that you keep it professional on your accounts, including social media is a good thing! Our generation often understands how to use social media better than previous generations and these skills can be invaluable to employers. Have a blog, LinkedIn or Twitter? Include it! Not only is this another way to show off writing skills, but it’s a great way to show employers that you understand and can talk about industry trends.
  6. Keep your cover letter short and sweet. I know it can be hard, especially if you feel that the job description was written just for you, but don’t use your cover letter to tell your entire work history. Highlight your most relevant experiences and reasons why you feel you would be an asset to the company, and save the rest for the interview.

I’d love for you to share your resume tips and blunders – please comment and share!

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