As you blankly stare at your computer screen, you can’t help but ask yourself, “Am I really doing this again? Am I really applying for another job?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Despite countless applications, the only thing you have to show for your efforts is automatic email responses and endless frustration. How can you get past this phase and into the interview room? How can you stand out from your competition?
Use the right vocabulary
Competition in the job market is fierce, and you need a winning resume. Hiring managers spend less than 10 seconds looking at a resume and it’s your job to ensure that yours doesn’t land in the “rejects pile”. In order to do so, you must choose the right vocabulary. When you skim the job posting, pull out key words and sprinkle them throughout your application. Not only will this catch a recruiters’ eye, but it will ensure that you make it through applicant tracking systems as well.
Key words are only step one; your entire resume needs to feature strong vocabulary. Consider the following bullet point: “Answered phones and took messages for the main office.” Now when you make a few edits it looks like this, “Maintained open lines of communication between clients and the main office.” The latter is a much stronger description.
Gain relevant experience
Whether you intern or volunteer, experience is essential. After all, many entry-level jobs tend to ask for 1-2 years of experience. What better way to do so than through internships? They will provide you with a foundation to build off of and teach you the necessary skills you’ll need throughout your career. Nowadays, there are many paid internships or ones that can be used for school credit; it’s a win-win.
Volunteer work is another great way to gain experience. It shows hiring managers that you are passionate about certain causes, and that you’re willing to further develop your skillsets. In addition, volunteering offers you a way to take on leadership positions, which hiring managers look for when they review applications.
Stay current on industry trends
In order to stand out in an interview, you need to wow the recruiter with your knowledge. Not only do you need to know terminology, but you need to stay on top of industry trends as well. Your interviewer could test your knowledge and you want to be ready to impress!
Stay informed by following industry-related blogs. There are thousands of blogs you can subscribe to. Doing so will give you topics to discuss in your interview, put you ahead of your competition, and expand your knowledge exponentially. Another great way to stay current is through social media. Many companies and news sources utilize Facebook/Twitter as a primary information source these days, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.
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