First of all, let me apologize for not writing in a few weeks. My new job has been awesome and I’ve been so focused on making sure I do a good job there that a few things have had to fall to the way side. So thanks for sticking it out with me!
Now on to the good stuff =]
Recruiters, sourcers, hiring managers, etc., who does everyone you want to impress look for? Rock stars. It’s the recruiting #buzzword of the day. So are you a rock star? I bet there’s something that makes you a rock star. Whether it’s a cool hobby, some impressive expertise in a domain, or your ability to just make something look easy. I won’t write about figuring out what that special something is just yet, maybe that’ll be good for another post.
So, assuming you’ve already followed the first few common-sense steps to applying for a job… (in no particular order)
- Make sure you’re actually qualified for the jobs you’re applying for
- Follow directions
- You’ve got a resume and a cover letter draft ready to go (yes, you are supposed to tailor them to each job you apply to…)
…you should be ready to rock star up your resume and cover letter.
What makes a rock star? Outstanding accomplishments, deep expertise, an unquenchable thirst to learn…. oh and some crazy notion that challenges are fun and exciting. So how do you show people you’ve got a little (or a lot!) of that?
You tell them a story. Not a long, 10-pager mind you. Just enough to help them see what’s so special about you. Your story starts at the objective line.
- Are you a recent grad?
- Do you have 10 years of experience?
- Do you have an unquenchable thirst for learning
- Do you love challenges?
- Are you just way too excited to change this industry?
Point it out! Your objective line is a great place to do that! “Recent grad with 1 year of experience in PCB design for consumer electronics looking to take on new challenges and make company XYZ’s products even better!”
Make sure whoever’s reading your resume doesn’t miss that because it’s drowned out in some not-so-glittering details about all the super technical, in-depth things you did.
- Cut out the jargon. Does your mom understand what you do when she reads your resume? If yes, you’re on the right track. If not, consider changing some of your verbage…
- Bring out the meaning in the tasks you did. Did your technical jargon accomplish something like creating a new product for your company? And oh, you were in charge of doing everything from A to Z all by yourself? Well, make sure you write that clearly and simply! I sure as heck don’t that’s what your “oscillometer design, integration and validation” experience means.
- Don’t undervalue your college triumphs. Winning some cool competition or working on an electric car in college is just as valid once you graduate as it was when you were trying to flirt with the not-so-geeky sorority girls (although I would continue to do cool things after college, especially if it’s been several years since you did anything that exciting. You want to continue being a rock star!)
- Show off a little. There’s nothing wrong with dedicating a few lines to some cool personal/research projects you undertook or having a section where you list all of your accomplishments and awards. Heck! Have both (just stick to the 2 page rule. Less is more.)
The point is – don’t be afraid to show off, and write it all in a way that makes it easy to understand for everyone who did not sit in those mechanical engineering courses with you.
Freebie insider tip: Don’t apply to a whole bunch of jobs at one company – the recruiters and hiring managers can see the list of the 10+ openings you applied to. Let’s face it, how likely is it you’re a good fit for ALL of those roles?
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