Applying to jobs in non-traditional ways
I have dealt with hundreds of employers over the many years I have been with Workforce Solutions and each employer has their own “perfect way” of sourcing and recruiting candidates. *sigh* Applications . . . They come in many forms. There’s the dreaded online application that asks you to upload your resume then puts everything in the wrong place. There’s the paper application that is too long for its own good. Then we have the request to “please send a resume and cover letter” – to whom? where? why? how?
With so many different means of applying, it’s a good idea to form a plan of attack to get to as many apps as possible with a quality submission as the end result. Here are some tips!
1) Save your resume as a Rich Text Format file (.rtf). This allows you to keep the content of your resume with less formatting (special bullets, spacing, lines, and other décor). RTF is a step above Simple Text as it lets you keep some of the formatting such as simple bullets. Of course, you should also have a Simple Text (.txt) resume available for some of the less friendly online apps; but in many cases an RTF document can be copied and pasted into the resume field on an online app to allow for a better presentation.
2) Many social networking and job search sites allow job seekers to apply directly through their own portals. LinkedIn and Indeed are two websites that allow you to apply for some jobs by sending a version of your resume or profile directly to a recruiter or hiring manager. Make sure your profile is complete and specifically focuses on the inclusion of as many industry and occupation specific keywords as possible to demonstrate your knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). These portals often allow recruiters to search by keywords so you need to think about what words a recruiter might be looking for as they search for the ideal candidate.
3) When you come across a job that simply asks you to apply by sending in a resume and cover letter, you have one big shot at impressing the person on the other end. If you don’t already have a professional e-mail address you use for formal correspondence, create one. It should be some version of your name, not a nickname or cutesy phrase: John.Smith@internet.com is so much more impressive than MrHotPants@internet.com.
Use this e-mail address for all job search correspondence. Do not include a signature with inspirational quotes or fancy scripted text. While you may like this type of pizzazz, a recruiter may find it off putting and downright inappropriate.
Similarly, when you write your cover letter, it should be included as both an attachment and within the body of the e-mail itself. This cover letter should address specific job needs and be about the job. Professional and formal language should be used. Do not talk about personal challenges or issues you may have had with a former job or employer. Everything should be stated in a positive and professional manner. Highlight achievements and hard skills that can make you stand out in a crowd of people with similar abilities.
4) Do you apply to the same job through different means? Let’s say there is a position for ABC company on LinkedIn. This job you later find in a newspaper ad with a Job Fair location, date, and time listed. How do you apply? Do both! Send in your LinkedIn profile and also attend the job fair. The point is not to be pushy but to keep your application in the mind of the recruiter(s). In a larger company, there might be more than one person handling the sourcing of candidates for this position. You might not pass muster with one recruiter but strike another as an attractive job candidate. Putting multiple irons in the fire is a great way to increase your odds of getting noticed . . . and if you are not too aggressive, the extra attention should be positive.
Danny Zendejas is the Senior Business Consultant specializing in the Education Industry for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.