Whether you’re on the hunt for your first job, changing careers or just looking for a better opportunity – trying to land a job can be a stressful process. After all, today’s job seekers are often competing with dozens of applicants for the same position. Even if you were a superstar at your last gig, it’s possible that the other applicants were too! There are also applicant tracking systems (ATS) to deal with. Many companies use an ATS to prescreen applicant resumes and narrow down the field of candidates. That means your application or resume has to get through the ATS scan before it ever gets seen by human eyes. So, how do you set yourself apart from the competition and snag that dream job? It’s difficult – but not impossible. Here are some must-dos for helping you go from looking for a job to landing it.

  • Craft a professional resume – The first step in landing a job is landing an interview. To do that, you’ve got to look good on paper. A professional resume is the snapshot of who you are as an employee. It’s your sales pitch about you. Make sure it reflects your skills, experience and accomplishments in the best ways possible. Steer clear of over the top graphics and formats in your resume as they can cause an ATS to screen you out. Simple formatting that is free of spelling and grammar errors is recommended for the best results. So is grabbing the hiring manager’s attention with strategic keywords, a solid power statement and career summary. The average time spent on an initial resume review is 6 seconds. Make your power statement count. It’s not a bad idea to get help from a professional resume service to make sure your resume has the best chance of getting past the ATS and you into an interview.
  • Include a tailored cover letter – A cover letter is another opportunity to sell yourself to an employer. It is also usually the first thing they read. Customize your cover letter to the job you are applying to. Research the company to demonstrate your interest in working there and explain how you intend to add value to the company.
  • Submit your resume directly to the company – There’s nothing wrong with applying through websites like indeed or glassdoor, but if you can submit directly to the company, you have a better chance of getting your resume in front of the decision maker.
  • Follow-up – Don’t sleep on your resume submissions. Recruiters recommend following up 3-5 days after submission if you haven’t heard anything from the company you applied to. Sometimes that second nudge is what will land you a second look and ultimately an interview.
  • Interview follow-up – If you are lucky enough to score an interview, be sure to show your appreciation by sending a personal thank you note or email to the person. It’s another way to keep you fresh in their mind and also demonstrates your professionalism. Don’t forget to ask them for their business card.
  • Be confident, not cocky – It can be tempting to pad your resume to land a job but be careful not to over-fluff your resume. Being confident and highlighting your skills honestly will serve you better in the long run than having to “fake it till you make it,” by including skills or experience you may not actually have.

Searching for a job can be as much work as the job itself. Give yourself the best chance of success by covering all your bases. After all, this is your future we’re talking about.  If you’re looking for a place to jump start your future, City College is a great place to start. With five campus locations and a ton of degree and certificate programs to choose from, City College is helping students get on the path to a brighter future. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a tour of one of our campus locations.

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