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Before Applying for a Job

4 Things You Must Do Before Applying for a Job

Before Applying for a Job

In today’s candidate-driven market, there are probably dozens of job opportunities around every corner. Whether you’re a mechanical engineer or an aviation technician, the market is hot, and it’s tempting to see what’s out there. However, before you even think about submitting your job application, here are four things you must do before applying.

Read over the entire job posting

The first thing you will want to do is ensure you read over the whole job posting. This is essential for two reasons:

1)     To understand if this is an excellent fit for you and make sure you actually want the job

2)     So you can tailor your application materials to fit the job description

Hiring managers like to narrow down their pool of candidates by providing precise instructions and details in the job description. Are they asking for a cover letter? Do they want samples of your work? If you skim over the job posting, you may miss vital details that can filter you out of the candidate race.

Research the company

After you find a job posting that you want to respond to, take a few minutes to research the company. This should be a pretty painless step in the application process. Knowing more about the company can be a huge advantage to you as a candidate. It will help you craft your resume and cover letter by understanding their business, mission and vision, and the company culture. It will also help you decide if the company is even the right fit for you and your career goals.

Tailor your resume

If you take the time to review the job posting carefully, you will be able to better craft your resume. Even in this tight market, you should always customize your resume for each job you apply to. Even if they are in the same industry or the same type of position, each employer is looking for something different. And guess what? It is usually spelled out in the job description. So, while you’re reviewing that job posting, highlight the most critical components of the description and be sure your resume fits those well.

Clean up your references

Many employer applications put you through the wringer. They collect your resume, cover letter, and a bunch of other details about your career. Moreover, many of which also ask for your references. Well, before you submit the contact details of your close professional colleagues, you should always give them a heads up. Ensure you still have their permission to use them as a reference and that their contact information is accurate. Let them know you are applying so they can be on the lookout for a call or email they otherwise may not be expecting. The last thing you want to do is have a prospective employer catch one of your references off guard!

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The Ultimate Guide To Job Application References

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It’s rare these days to encounter a hiring process that doesn’t include a reference check. However, providing great job application references can be a little trickier than you initially think! Follow these guidelines to painlessly check this job search item off your to-do list.

Choose your references wisely

It’s a good idea to have three go-to job application references on hand. Typically, you’ll want to include a mix of current or previous managers and coworkers. Obviously, you’ll want to choose people with whom you had a strong working relationship. Make sure to choose references that will not only speak of you in glowing terms, but will also be able to speak in-depth about your work experience, performance, and work ethic.

Get permission to list people as references

It is absolutely essential to gain permission before listing anyone as a reference. The last thing you want is to catch them off guard, and as a result, receive a less-than-stellar reference. It’s also a great opportunity to network with your professional connections and stay in touch!

Don’t list your references on your resume

This is a big recruiting no-no. Listing job application references uses valuable space on your resume, hiring managers may contact them without your permission, and it takes the focus away from you. There’s also no need to include “references available upon request.” It is automatically implied and not necessary.

Provide your references with information

Make sure your references know what to expect. Sometimes it may be a simple employment verification, sometimes employers may ask them to submit a full letter of recommendation. If you must submit a letter of recommendation, ensure that your contact has all of the details including what to cover, where to send it, and when it’s due.

Provide them with the title of the role you’re applying for and a copy of your resume. The more information they have about your background and goals, the better!

Follow up

Don’t forget to follow up with your references once your job search is complete! Whether you were offered the job or not, your references are now invested in your career journey and deserve an update. Always include a quick note of gratitude for taking the time to speak on your behalf. You never know when you may need to use them as a reference again!

Job Application Mishaps That Could Get You Fired Before You’re Even Hired

Maybe you haven’t had to apply for a new job in a while, so you’re going over everything. Resume, Cover letter, what you will write in your application. But you also need to make sure you do NOT make one of these mistakes that’ll end up getting you fired before you’re even hired!

Grammar/Spelling Mistakes

Some people think this isn’t a big deal and that hiring managers will just look over it. Because come on, it’s just some grammar and spelling mistakes, right? Well, actually, wrong! If you’re not even willing to double check your application materials, a hiring manager will think you don’t care enough about the position. This will most likely end with your application being put in the, “do not contact list” and you never hearing back.

Double checking everything you write when you are filling out an application will ensure that you get seen and hopefully offered an interview. The last thing you want to happen is to be skipped over when you have great skills to be successful in the position.

Lying on your Resume

This is obviously a no-go… And there is a difference between making yourself look good over flagrantly lying. When editing your resume and cover letter, it’s important to incorporate keywords and activities you’ve accomplished relating to the position. But do not add things you haven’t done. Do not add experience you don’t have. They will figure it out. And whether that is during an interview or after you’re hired, you will get fired.

So, don’t lie. Even if you feel your experience isn’t where they want it. If they like who YOU are, they can help you get to where they want you to be. Never risk losing a job because you’re afraid you won’t get it in the first place. You just end up shooting yourself in the foot and leaving a terrible taste in that hiring manager’s mouth.

Bad References

When you write down references make sure they are aware and willing to help give you one in the first place. Having a hiring manager calling someone who hasn’t worked with you in years isn’t the way to go. Especially, if you haven’t told them that you put them down.

Companies do call your references and it could tank or make you landing the job… So find people who have good experiences working with you. Update them on the fact that you’re looking for a new position and would love to put them down as someone to contact. Update your list as necessary! This way when hiring managers contact them, you know they will help you land the job, not lose it.

Bad Mouthing an Old Employer

When you’re lucky enough to be called in for an interview, you will be asked about why you want to leave your current company. A lot of people find this question stressful. But really, it’s simple. If you stay positive and talk about what you learned and how leaving is what’s going to help you grow, it makes you look confident and optimistic. Which in turn, makes every company want to work with you.

If you decide to bad mouth your current company it starts to look like you’re the problem. The hiring managers will not want to hire you. Even if these problems at your current employer are real and terrible. Every position you hold will have people you don’t like. But people want to see that you can work with these hard characters and still be productive.

Bad mouthing your previous/current company is a sure way to be fired before you ever get the chance to be hired. And when you’re looking for jobs and applying for positions you really want, this is not something anyone wants to do. So, make sure you keep these tips in mind so the next interview you get will help you be a sure-hire for the position!

turned down

Here’s Why You Keep Getting Turned Down For Jobs

turned down

If you’re feeling discouraged by multiple turn downs during your job search, trust us, you’re not alone! It’s a candidate-driven market, so competition is hot out there for the best jobs. Instead of getting down on yourself, try and make small improvements that will leave a lasting impression the next time you submit an application.

Your Resume Doesn’t Seem Relevant

The key word here seems. You may be a perfect fit for this position, but if you aren’t customizing your resume to each and every single job you apply for, you may be missing out on amazing opportunities! Take a few minutes to dissect the job description and adjust words on your resume to match exactly. This can be as simple as varying job titles for the same role, broad responsibilities being narrowed down further, or even some aspects of your job that you forgot to include!

You Didn’t Nail Essential Interview Questions

Some interview questions are more important than others. The ones you really want to answer well are “why should we hire you?”,What do you know about the company?”, and “What’s your greatest weakness?” Not only are these questions essential to interview success, they can be tricky! Follow the links above to learn how you should answer each one.

You Aren’t A Culture Fit

Culture fit is HUGE in the hiring world these days. Employers are taking on the mindset that most skills can be taught, but culture fit cannot. They are looking for employees who can not only fit in with their team, but continually motivate and inspire others in the office. The best way to demonstrate your culture fit is by allowing your personality to shine through during an interview. Make sure you’re warm and personable and don’t be afraid to share appropriate personal details about yourself.

You Missed A Little Thing

When you are laser-focused on getting a new job, it can be easy to forget the little things. Many candidates have been eliminated from consideration simply for not sending a prompt thank-you note after the interview! Don’t sleep on the small moments such as greeting the receptionist, introducing yourself with a strong handshake, and maintaining confident eye contact throughout the interview.

keywords application tracking systems (ATS)

K is for Keywords: Using Keywords to Get Past an ATS

keywords application tracking systems (ATS)

Submitting job applications online is kind of like playing darts blindfolded. You’re not sure where you’re throwing or where they’ll land. It’s a shot in the dark, and we’ve all been there.

In the digital age, most resumes never reach the desk of human resources or the hiring manager. They’re automatically processed and stored into an application tracking system (ATS). An ATS is a software application that allows employers to search through thousands of resumes to quickly find top-level candidates for job applications. Yep, your resume is being analyzed and filtered by bots.

So, how do you get your resume past the bots and into the hands of your potential employer? Keywords.

How to get past application tracking systems

Companies started incorporating ATS to simplify the recruiting process. Nobody has time to review and sort through hundreds (or even thousands) or resumes. ATS do the heavy lifting for HR and recruiters by scanning a database of resumes from desired keywords and criteria at once.

Application tracking systems help recruiters quickly filter out unqualified candidates, saving them much needed time and energy. However, good candidates can also slip through the cracks. You could be the most qualified candidate for the position, but if your resume doesn’t have the required keywords, your application will never make it past the ATS.

Mirror the job description

To ensure your resume makes it through the application traction system scan, you need to add relevant keywords to your resume. That means you must customize your resume for every job application. And the best way to do that is to mirror the job description.

Now, I am not saying to copy and paste entire sections of the job description in your resume. But spend some time and carefully read through the job description. Highlight some keywords that stand out in the description and utilize them in your resume.

If the description uses a specific keyword or phrase that’s pertinent to the job, add them to your resume! For example, if a job description for a marketing manager is looking for someone to “develop and execute comprehensive marketing plans and programs,” it’s probably a good idea to work this phrase somewhere in your resume.

Essentially, to describe how you meet every requirement in the description, you need to use the same words in your resume. No more submitting the same resume to every job opening!

Avoid generic keywords and be specific

The ATS is very intelligent, but it is not as intuitive as a human. Therefore, you need to avoid generic keywords to ensure your resume lands on the desk of a hiring manager.

When using acronyms, it’s better to play it safe and use both the spelled-out version and the acronym itself. An application tracking system doesn’t always recognize that “SEM” is the same thing as “Search Engine Management.” It’s important to take the time to analyze the specific job description keywords you’re applying for.

Don’t “stuff” your application with keywords

Have you heard of keyword stuffing? That’s when you load a web page or job application with keywords or numbers in an effort to manipulate the system. And this is never a good practice on a job application.

Remember, even if your resume gets through the ATS, it must get past HR or a hiring manager. Never try to trick the system. If you are unsure if your resume has too many keywords, print it out and read it out loud. If it is difficult to read and sounds funky, you probably overdid it with the keywords. Try to find a good balance between optimizing your application for an ATS and a human reader.

Customizing your job application can be a pain in the neck, but if you want to make it through those pesky application tracking systems, it’s well worth your time!

A is for Application: How to Make Your Job Application Stand Out

How to make your job application stand out in 2018

Happy New Year from all of us at JSG!

For many of you, the new year means a fresh start. Some of you will be vowing to hit the gym and throw out all that junk food, while others may be promising to read more or learn a new skill. Others are even vowing to get a fresh start on their career path.

The job market is very competitive right now. In fact, unemployment levels across the country have reached an all-time low with an unemployment rate of only 4.1% in December of 2017. We haven’t seen unemployment rates this low in almost two decades!

This figure is great for the U.S. economy; however, this also means you’re facing fierce competition on the job market. To stand out to recruiters and hiring managers in the crowd of applicants, try doing these four things in 2018.

DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR JOB APPLICATION

The first thing you need to do before submitting your application is research. And by research, I mean researching not only the job opening you’re applying for, but also the company. Doing your due diligence may help you uncover something useful to include in your cover letter or help you tailor your resume to appeal more to the company.

Remember, Google is your best friend. Jump on your phone or computer, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down for a couple hours and do some digging. Google the company name and see what pops up. Is there a recent article online about a new product launch from the company? Are there any recent press releases? Doing a quick search can uncover invaluable information to help make your job application more noticeable.

Don’t forget to check out the company’s social media, too! See what they are posting. This will help you get a feel of what the company cares about and what’s happening there.

And don’t be afraid to contact the company to ask questions. This will help you understand the job better and may even help HR recognize your name when they are sifting through dozens of applications.

TAILOR YOUR RESUME AND COVER LETTER FOR THE POSITION

The last thing you want to do is submit a generic resume and cover letter. Hiring managers and recruiters read dozens and dozens of job applications a day. You need to customize your application to help you stand out and show that you are good fit for not only the position, but also the company.

Use the information you learned in your research to tailor your cover letter for the position. Mention the employer’s recent news or achievements and tie in your background to illustrate that you align with the company’s core values and mission.

Your cover letter and resume may not even reach the hands of a hiring manager if you’re not using specific keywords that are relevant to the position. Organizations utilize Application Tracking Systems (ATS). When you submit your resume and cover letter online, it’s probably being ran through ATS. The ATS is scanning for keywords and other criteria. If your application isn’t tailored for the position and company, it likely won’t even make it to the hands of HR.

SHOWCASE YOUR UNIQUE PERSONALITY

After a while, job applications start to blur together after hiring managers have been reading through resumes and cover letters for hours. Don’t try to incorporate fancy fonts and formats. Instead, a great way to help your application stand out is to add some of your unique talents are experiences.

Just make sure they are relevant to the position. Nobody cares if you are an experienced underwater basket weaver. Have you won an award that differentiates you from other applicants? Do you volunteer your time doing community service for an organization you care about? These will help you get a leg up on your competition.

BE ACTIVE ON LINKEDIN

You probably already have a LinkedIn account. You may get on there from time to time. But are you an active user? If your application gets into the hands of HR, they will likely look you up on LinkedIn if they are interested in your job application.

LinkedIn is a great place to showcase accomplishments and skills that may have been omitted in your application. It’s also an opportunity for HR and hiring managers to get an idea of your personality. Following companies on LinkedIn, posting articles, interacting with other users, and participating in discussion groups are great ways to help get you noticed and build your personal, professional brand.

Recruiters love nothing more than discovering a candidate who not only knows their stuff, but who is passionate about it too!