By Lily Martis, of Monster
Found the perfect job for you? Take these steps to increase your chances of getting the offer.
You’re starting your job search, and you’re well on your way.
Hopefully, you’ve already found a few job listings that have got you excited. Now, the time has come to actually apply to those jobs and—hopefully!—get one of them.
Career expert Vicki Salemi, who spent more than 15 years in corporate recruiting, says when you see a job you’re interested in, it’s best to take action right away. “Do not wait to apply to a job when you see a viable opportunity,” she says. “As soon as recruiters push job openings live, they’re very conscientious about reviewing incoming resumes.” Applying within the first 48 hours is critical to getting your application seen, she adds.
Follow our step-by-step guide below on how you can go from one of the hundreds of applicants to the one person who gets the job.
Get to know the company
OK, so you’ve seen a job you’re interested in applying for; now what? You need to get a little more information on the company. Salemi says the last thing you want to do is blindly apply to jobs without doing your homework first: “You need to know what’s going on in the company. Are they expanding? Downsizing? Getting acquired? Where do they stand within the industry relative to their peers?”
First, do a quick Google News search on the company name to see how and if the business is making headlines.
Profiles and reviews (posted by current and former employees) give you some insider information that can help make you a better candidate. You can find out what the culture is like and what the company is prioritizing right now. This is information you may be able to use in your cover letter and definitely in your interview to show your enthusiasm for the job and the seriousness of your candidacy.
Write a quickie cover letter
Some people will tell you the cover letter is dead, and you can skip this step if you want. But if you do, you could be wasting another opportunity to use keywords that will get your resume through the applicant tracking system software and another chance to demonstrate to a recruiter why you’re the perfect candidate.
We know what you’re thinking: Writing a cover letter is such a pain.
Here’s the secret, though: You really only need five to seven sentences to make your point: First, state what you’re applying for; second, say what you like about the company; third, say how your experiences match what they’re looking for, and lastly, show your enthusiasm.
And one thing to remember as you’re putting your experiences down on paper: You should still apply even if you’re not 100% qualified.
“It’s OK to not be 100% qualified—that’s the key to career growth,” Salemi says. “It’s normal not to be 100% there, and the key is convincing employers you have the skills, intellect, resources, and ability to get there.”
Tweak your resume for this job
Your resume has been optimized and finalized, right? Well, not totally.
Right before you apply to any specific job, identify the main keywords and responsibilities noted in the job ad and see if they appear in your resume—remember, typically the most important ones will be mentioned early in the posting.