Link to the royalty-free image by Markus Winkler here
Both the global economy and the job market have undergone great changes over the last few years. The skills recruiters and prospective employers are looking for have also changed. This means that today’s job seekers need to adapt their resumes accordingly.
In this article, we’ll take quick look at 4 key components of a job application in 2021 and we’ll give you tips on how to make the most out of them. Regardless of your level of experience or if you’ve just graduated from college and are looking for a job, these tips should help you to impress and intrigue a potential employer and get you the job interview you want.
1 - Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Your Cover Letter
Link to the royalty-free image by Katrin Hauf here
A cover letter and a resume are two different things, but you need both to get your foot in the door. When you send out an application, you are not asking for a job. You are asking for a job interview. The best way to go about this is to be explicit and come out and express what you want. That is the purpose of a cover letter.
The first line of the cover letter should be about the company you are applying at, why you are intrigued by their offer, what you like about their culture, their service or their product.
The second line of your cover letter should be about you and your current and future goals, how they line up with what you saw in the job offer.
The third line of your cover letter should make mention of your resume, instructing the recruiter how they should read it, what they should look for. Highlight a skill you have demonstrated or a past experience you have that you feel could be of value to them and to the position they are seeking to fill.
The fourth and last line of your cover letter should explicitly ask for an interview. Make yourself available to come in person or by phone or by a video conferencing platform. Give the recruiter days and times they should contact you as well as a limit. Don’t say, ‘you can contact me any time any day, next week, next month, whenever.’ Instead, invite the recruiter to act within a reasonable timeframe while giving them many options on how and when to do so.
2 - Emphasize Your Soft Skills
Soft skills, also known as transferable skills, express how you work more so than what you work on. They showcase how well you are able to work with others or independently, how well you work within a certain structure, how flexible you are, and how well you can learn and adapt to new environments and challenges.
Soft skills are what recruiters and prospective employers are most concerned with. Technical know-how can be learned. But the ability to work well with others, approach problems with empathy and creativity - these are valuable skills that all employers are looking for and they are far more difficult to teach.
The work experience, volunteer experience, academic and/or business training you put on your resume should be used as practical examples of where and how you demonstrated your soft skills - skills that can easily be transferable to any position you are applying for.
3 - Emphasize Your Willingness and Ability to Learn
Every recruiter and/or prospective employer is looking for a candidate who is intellectually curious, a candidate who has demonstrated a thirst for knowledge and the ability to assimilate new information.
Any new job with any new organization will come with new information, procedures, or products to learn. The ability for the recruit to quickly and effectively assimilate this new information will be the deciding factor whether the recruit is a success or not. Show the recruiter or prospective employer that you have the willingness - even eagerness - and the proven ability to assimilate new information.
The prior work experience and training you put on your resume should be accompanied by examples of the new information, procedure, protocols, etc. that you successfully assimilated at that position.
4 - Make Your Online Profile Employer Friendly
More often than not, a prospective employer will look at your social media profiles. In fact, in this day and age, it would be professional malpractice for a recruiter not to. And there are specific things recruiters are looking for in your online profiles.
They want to see that you are engaged with others, that you are creative, and can easily interact with other people (just like the job you are applying for would most likely require).
But more so than how sociable and creative you are, recruiters and potential employers check the online presence and social media accounts of their candidates because they are looking for red flags. In a general way, a red flag is any kind of negativity, nastiness, or ugliness you express in your online profiles.
If you are looking for a job and you have social media posts talking about how terrible a particular celebrity or politician is, we would strongly recommend you delete them. Your best bet to put all the chances in your favor is to have social media accounts that are free from any expression of negativity - at least while you are searching for a job.
In fact, the more positivity you express on your social media platforms - regardless if you are posting about things related to a business or a product - the greater the likelihood the recruiter will want to talk with you in a job interview.
Remember, with your resume and cover letter, you are not asking for a job; you are asking for a job interview. Be explicit about that in your cover letter, and use your resume to show that you have the ability to adapt to new environments and challenges. Clean up your social media profiles; recruiters will look. And present yourself as a positive person with a thirst for challenge.