How to Build Your Resume – Tips for Your First Job Application

2018-06-25 by Steve

New to Working – Tips for Your First Job Application

Getting your first job is a stressful but ultimately rewarding experience. The first two steps on that journey are putting together a well-crafted resume and cover letter. Once you’ve done that, you need to ensure that your online presence depicts you in the best possible light. Here are some tips to make sure you land that dream job.

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1. Use Your Resume to Highlight Key Skills

Your resume is your passport through the first screen that eliminates the majority of candidates. In most cases, your resume is going to have to speak for you before you ever have the chance to talk to an HR representative. With that in mind, make sure your resume is tailored to make your case. Look closely at the job description. What skills are highlighted and repeated throughout the document? This could be Excel skills, knowledge of a particular type of software or experience in a particular industry. You can tell what’s important to a hiring manager based on the skills emphasized in the job description and adjust your resume accordingly. One of the biggest mistakes jobseekers make is writing a single resume and submitting it to a variety of jobs. Your resume needs to be tailored to specific industries and, time permitting, specific jobs. Some companies use screening software, so rewrite your resume to make sure those skills and keywords are found repeatedly. To save time, try using an online resume builder to prepare multiple versions of your resume.

2. Write a Compelling Cover Letter

Not all job applications require a cover letter and hiring managers place less emphasis on them than in the past. Some hiring managers just use cover letters as an excuse to eliminate applicants because there are grammatical errors or other mistakes in the document. The thinking is that if you don’t have attention to detail on a job application, you won’t have attention to detail once you start working. That may be true, but think about the cover letter as your one chance to really make your case to the hiring manager. Your resume shows what you did, but doesn’t explain why you want the job and would be a great fit. Really show your knowledge of the company and the challenges it faces. How do your skills and experience help address those challenges? How will you hit the ground running on day one? Use the cover letter as a way to make your case by showing your passion for the role and how you’ve got the mix of experience and soft skills your future boss needs.

3. Curate Your Social Media Presence

This is one of the easiest ways to disqualify yourself from a job. Many applicants think that what they post on Facebook or other social media platforms is their business and should have no bearing on job applications. They may be right, but employers won’t see it that way. The rationale is that if you demonstrate poor judgment managing your online profile, you’ll demonstrate poor judgment on the job. Go through your social media accounts and delete any reference to alcohol, drugs or any activity that could be questionable. A good rule of thumb is to assume that the hiring manager will see everything you post online. Make sure what they find paints you in the best possible light.

As you can see, learning how to write a resume is just the first step to landing a job. You need to tailor it to the role and use the cover letter to really explain why you’re the best fit. Rounding out your application is an online presence that shows you’re a prospective employee with good judgment. Get these three things right and you’ll be that much closer to a first-round interview.

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