Can’t get a job? Ask yourself this question
I’ve looked at quite a few resumes over the years and one thing that becomes very obvious when doing this is that writing job application materials is hard. It’s hard for most people to make a sales pitch when the product is you, even if you’re awesome. You just keep second guessing everything you write. I know I do. I hate applying for jobs.
Here’s something you can ask yourself while writing your resume and cover letter that should make the job easier: Would I hire me?
Well, would you? When looking for a job, you’re asking someone to take a chance, trust you, pay you money to do something for them. So, be honest with yourself. Are you asking them to do more than you would do yourself?
Take a good hard look at your resume and cover letter, and ask yourself the following sub questions, which also apply to the interview.
Do your skills and experience match the company’s needs? You are now the hiring manager for whatever company the specific position is at (because you are of course tailoring your resume to every individual position, right?). Now look at your documents. Are you reading them and thinking “This person is absolutely perfect. He/she has all the qualifications one would need to do this job!”
You don’t have to match all the job requirements, which are often inflated to the point of ridiculousness, but if you know your industry well enough, you have an idea of what would actually be needed – so that or, say 75% – 80% of the requirements listed in the description. Do they match? If you’re not thinking that the candidate (you) is absolutely perfect, how can you fix it?
What do you bring to the table that the other candidates don’t? Why would you hire you over everyone else? No, you can’t see who the other candidates are, but you can tell whether you’re particularly impressive or not, can’t you? Is your resume an endless list of descriptions like “duties included” and “responsible for”? Doesn’t exactly leap off the page and smack you in the face, does it? What did you accomplish? What did you “grow,” “increase,” “spearhead,” “initialize,” “manage,” “streamline,” “improve,” or “launch”? What have you done that is amazing?
The hiring manager (you) must look at the candidate (you) and think “This is the person who, above all others, will best do what we need done.”
Do you want to work with you? Are you smart? Are you easy going, dynamic, personable, fun? Are you trustworthy? Do you get along with others? Look at you and ask yourself, if you had a choice, would you choose to spend forty hours a week working side by side with you?
Finally, would you invest in you? If you had money to pay someone to do a job, would you give it to you? And, hiring people costs time and money. Would you spend that time and money to onboard yourself, train yourself, set yourself up at a little desk with your name on a placard, give yourself a passkey to the building, and send out an email introducing yourself to the rest of the staff? Would you be pleased with your decision to do so?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, figure out why that is, and fix it. Be someone you would hire, and, as long as you don’t have terrible judgment, you’ll be one big leap closer to getting hired.
And if you do have terrible judgment, well, hey, maybe you’ll get lucky and find a hiring manager who does too.