Remember high school? To most, it may have seemed like the whole experience would have been a lot better if John Hughes directed your part in that real-life dress rehearsal.
For John you see, had it right the whole time…
Weird Science had the geeks getting the girl, The Breakfast Club tore apart social stigmata, Pretty in Pink had Ducky if nothing else, and who could ever forget Samantha Baker and Jack Ryan canoodling over Sixteen Candles?
Yes, if there’s one thing Mr. Hughes inspired in his flicks, it’s that you don’t need to be “in” to win.
High school may be far away, but these life lessons still aptly suit, especially in a job search situation. So listen to John and these tips on how you can win by not following the rest of the crowd:
Recruiters receive an average of 250 resumes per corporate job posting, and they’ll take about a 4-7 second glance at yours before deciding to move forward or move it to the delete folder. Ensure your resume stands out by uniquely tailoring it to each job you apply to, using specific key words from the description and diving deep into each project and technologies you’ve used.
Remember, formatting also matters. “As simple as it may sound, I love when I open up a resume and it all looks organized and well put together. I remember times I have told myself, ‘Wow I love this resume,’ and that speaks about the type of Candidate I will be representing to my Clients,” says Ana Algernon, a Technical Recruiter with Procom. “A lot of resumes are messy, unorganized and hard to read. Make time to clean up your resume and stand out in this simple way!”
Another fun fact to ponder is that hiring managers have confessed to knowing within 30 seconds if they want to move forward with your Candidacy when they meet you, but you also need to keep in mind that this needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship. So aside from dressing to impress and doing your research, you should demonstrate interest. Ask thought provoking questions that show you really care about whether you'll fit the culture or the industry. “I think being good at interviews does take practice, but I think having the ability to (1) answer questions in a concise yet informative manner (2) listen to the interviewer and tailor answers (3) treat the interview as a conversation; it will help you stand out to the interviewer,” says Ana.
Digging a little deeper online will help you stand out when you meet in person with tailored and well-informed questions.
The follow up
There is much to mention about manners, and a simple “thank you” can go a long way. For instance, a recent poll by FORTUNE that surveyed hiring managers from all different industries who had hired at least three communications professionals in the last year reveled 75% of its Clients didn’t receive a thank you note from their Candidates. And for 30% of those surveyed, no follow up meant no further steps.
In your note, make sure again to demonstrate your interest, and touch on a specific topic or conversation you had in the interview. Even if you can’t directly communicate with the hiring manager, you can also always go through your recruiter. “With most agencies, it's tough for the Candidate to send 'thank you' emails directly to the manager they interviewed with," says Ana. "But you can still stand out to the agency you are working with by following up right away and providing a brief rundown of questions asked, interest level and availability to start."
We all know the job search is a job in itself, but follow these tips and you, too, can triumphantly John Bender your fist in the air while sailing into your new gig.