Author Archives: Alpha Resumes

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): How to Win Them over with Your Resume

Blog Alpha Resumes Applicant Tracking Systems How to Win Them over with Your Resume 2

As online processes continue to make our lives easier in some respects, they can complicate things in others. An online application process often means that you can apply for new roles quickly in just a few clicks by uploading your resume and filling out some basic information. This ease in applying however, does mean that a single role can often receive hundreds of applications. HR departments and recruiters are constantly under the pump to assess them all, which is where Applicant Tracking Systems/ Software (ATS) often comes in to lend a hand.

ATS acts as a filter to cut down the amount of work required by the person reviewing the resumes, and while this is great for that person, it can be bad news for job seekers if they are unaware of how to design their resume accordingly. Luckily, Alpha Resumes are here to help, but let’s learn a little more about ATS and how you can bypass its sturdy gates!

What does an Applicant Tracking System do?

ATS is software that scans and ranks job applications when high numbers of applications are being received. Most recruiters and larger companies in Australia use ATS software, and this process has also started to filter down to smaller organisations and businesses due to its time-saving benefits.

The ATS software organises the content of a resume into categories, often by identifying keywords to locate the most qualified applicants for the role, or at least the ones that the recruiter should give time to reviewing. Primarily, the software aims to remove the least-qualified candidates from the list of potential hires. In reality, it also removes poorly written and formatted resumes and those that are missing the right content and buzz words, which is an essential point to keep in mind to ensure your application has a shot at being seen.

Writing an ATS-friendly resume

There are some common resume mistakes that, regardless of how qualified you may be, will see the end of your application before it has even had a chance. The following points are some essential tips to keep in mind when designing and writing your resume to keep the ATS checks happy, acquiring the green light.

Customer looking at the Facebook Ads Inventiva created for her online business

Correct file types

Most people offer their resumes in a Word or PDF file type; however, not all ATS software will like this. To be safe, it’s best to check which file types the job ad or application process specifies, as this is an easy way to fall short very quickly from a simple oversight. If you want to play it safe, submit a Word document in .doc or .docx or a plain-text file, as pretty much all ATS software will accept these. If however, the software specifies that it accepts PDF, then, by all means, keep your resume in that format, just be diligent and double-check.

Pro tip: Keep crucial information out of the header and footer sections if you do use a Word document as some ATS software has trouble identifying these sections

The importance of keywords

The most important thing you can do to ensure success with ATS is to optimise your resume with relevant keywords. The best way to identify which keywords are relevant to the position you are applying for is by studying job descriptions of a similar nature and making a note of the common terms and criteria.

Once you know what your keywords are, the placement and frequency are essential. This works in a similar fashion to using keywords on a website to get it ranking in search results on Google. The keywords help with rankings and visibility for the content. The catch, however, is that these words need to be organic and relevant. The excessive use of keywords or using the wrong keywords to try and get the attention of a search engine, can often do more harm than good, as well as create a poor experience for the reader.

You can also make this information easy to find by using bullet points to list relevant terms. Ensure that you mention these skills elsewhere in your resume as well. Be sure to also use particular names of systems you have skills in, for example, MYOB or Xero, as opposed to simply mentioning generic skills like accounting software packages. Popular abbreviations should also feature along with the full versions of these titles, e.g., skilled in Search Engine Optimisation should also include the term SEO and vice versa.

Avoid graphics

The design of your resume is important, but the use of graphs or images to convey critical information will not go down well with an ATS. The software is unable to read graphics, meaning any info in them does not exist. This can also apply to how you display bullet point information. We strongly recommend using bullet points; however, keep the symbol for your bullets simple. A solid circle or square looks professional and ensures your resume will be compatible with an ATS.

Further to this point, intricate design elements and unusual formats can sometimes seem like a great way to ensure your resume stands out, but they can also confuse the system. To avoid this, keep things simple, minimal, and professional. As amazing as your design may look, it is pointless if it’s never seen.

The best ATS resume format

A standard, hybrid resume format is the safest bet when it comes to an ATS application. This incorporates a professional profile or summary section which outlines vital information followed by a chronological history of your experience. Chronological data is one of the main ways ATS determines your qualification level.

Need a little help?

We understand that this may seem overwhelming, especially when it seems so easy to make a mistake that will render your application near pointless. To avoid this, Alpha Resumes are here to help via our professional resume writing services!

Our extensive background in marketing and communications, along with our many years of resume writing experience, means that not only can we create the best representation of your experience for your resume, but we also know how to keep Applicant Tracking Systems happy, ensuring you get in front of the recruiters’ eyes.

Our team is continually researching the latest recruitment and resume writing trends and can help put you in the best position to acquire your new role. Speak to us today about creating your winning resume!

Steps to a successful interview

Blog Alpha Resumes interview preparation

For many people, job interviews are right up there with visits to the dentist. They’re hard to avoid, though, if you want to take the next step in your career.

Feeling prepared when you walk into an interview will help your confidence and your performance, even if you never manage to eliminate your nerves completely. We look at what to do before, during, and after an interview to stand out as the best candidate for the job.

The purpose of an interview

The main reason for an interview is, of course, to see if you have the skills and experience to do the job. But finding someone that’s the ‘right fit’ is increasingly important in organisations, so it’s an opportunity to show them your personality.

It’s also your chance to explore whether the job that looked amazing on paper is right for you and to see who you might be working with.

Prepare for the meeting

Once you’re invited for interview, it’s not enough just to turn up on time – although that is vital.

Do your homework

Read the position description and job advert again. If anything isn’t clear or you’d like to know more, make a note: asking questions is a positive thing, as we explore below.

Check the website or Linked In profile of the company you’re meeting with, to see if it is involved in any major projects or has been in the news recently.

If you know someone who works there already, get in touch. People are usually happy to share their views on the culture and office environment.

Dress the part

Whether you’re face-to-face with a panel, or on a Skype call with one person, see our tips in What does your image say about you? and you’ll be dressing for success.

Settle in to the interview

A few nerves are to be expected (even interviewers will be nervous sometimes!) but always remember to smile and make eye contact.

Take a copy of your CV to refer to, plus a notebook and pen or laptop. It’s acceptable to write down people’s names if you’re faced with a panel and to make a note of what you’d like to ask later.

Often, the first question is “Tell us a little about yourself”. An open-ended question can cause people to ramble, which is not a good start! Memorise a few points that are specific to the role and keep your introduction to around two minutes, covering:

  • your most recent and most relevant experience
  • your key skills and competencies and any outstanding achievements
  • what motivates you about what you do

Stick to your current and immediate past roles as the rest of your history is in your resume.

Let your personality shine without dominating the conversation and you’ll find it’s easy to establish a connection with the hiring manager.

Answer questions with confidence

It’s common for interviewers to have a list of ‘behavioural’ questions. These usually start “Tell me about a time when…” and explore how you responded in a situation, rather than asking hypothetically what you would do. This makes it easier to compare candidates’ responses to each other.

Behavioural questions explore the strengths that are needed for the role, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Collaborating with others
  • Planning and time management
  • Dealing with stakeholders or customers

To answer a behavioural question well, use the simple formula C-A-R (and take a sip of water before you speak if you need a moment to think):

C: Context

Provide a bit of background to explain the environment and your role at the time, so the interviewer understands the example.

A: Action

Explain what specific action you took to respond to the task or challenge.

R: Result

Describe the outcome. This is what separates ‘hypothetical’ from ‘experienced’. Real figures add impact to your response, such as ‘a 10% increase in sales’, ‘20% increase in staff satisfaction’, or ‘reducing steps in a process from 6 to 5’.

Examples of the C-A-R model

ContextActionResult
Right before the launch of a product you were developing, a competitor launched a very similar product.You organised a national video conference with senior stakeholders to plan how to respond.The media messaging focused on points of difference and the product was still a success, hitting sales targets in the first month.
You were responsible for rolling out a complex new IT system for customer-facing staff.The release was suddenly brought forward for business reasons, but users weren’t ready.You created online training guides for immediate use, supplemented by training sessions later on, and you were nominated for an award.
A new director was unhappy with the status of your project and wanted to elevate the risk level to ‘high’.You summarised the issues and risks that had already been mitigated and met with the director to address any concerns.The risk level stayed at ‘moderate’ and you were promoted to a larger program once that project was completed.

Don’t avoid the negatives

You may be asked about times when things didn’t go to plan, leading to unhappy stakeholders, missed deadlines or unsatisfactory outcomes.

This isn’t a trick. The interviewer wants to know how you handle less-than-ideal situations and what you learn from them. Or, if they ask what you see as your weaknesses, they’re looking for evidence of self-awareness and what steps you have taken to improve, such as mentoring or professional development.

There are a few things you should avoid, though:

  • Don’t exaggerate or contradict what you’ve said in your LinkedIn profile, which the interviewer will probably have read
  • Despite wanting to leave your current role, never criticise your current employer
  • Avoid being over-familiar or using humour or sarcasm that may fall flat.

Ask questions of your own

At some point the tables will be turned and you’ll be asked if you have any questions.

Saying ‘no’ makes it look as though you have little interest in the job. Show you’re motivated by asking questions such as:

  •  I saw in your annual report that you’re starting an IT transformation this year. What benefits will that have for customers?
  • Does the organisation have a staff learning and development program?
  • I read that your CEO is leaving soon. What impact do you expect that to have on the direction of the company?

In the first interview in particular, avoid questions relating to salary or benefits unless the interviewer mentions them.

Follow up afterwards

After thanking the interviewers and asking about next steps and timelines, you’re done…almost.

Stand out from the crowd by sending a well-worded email to thank the interviewer and reiterate your interest. A phone call is an option but recruitment can be an extremely busy time for managers.

Prepare your referees for the possibility of a call. Share your CV and the position description and list the key attributes that make you a great choice.

Reflect on the interview. Write down the questions you were asked and your responses. If you’re not successful, take some time to improve them before your next interview.

Where to find help

Here at Alpha Resumes, we run one-on-one interview preparation sessions and personal coaching to help you practice and gain confidence. See Writing and coaching services or contact us to find out more.

Online resources are also available to help you prepare:

  • Seek.com.au has a blog to guide you through the application and interview process

  • Big Interview is a US site with a blog, plus free and paid guides and videos
  • And major recruitment consultants often have blogs with tips and guidance for all aspects of job hunting.

What does your image say about you?

Blog Alpha Resumes style and appearance

Every day we make split-second judgments about people based on their appearance, usually without even realising. These judgments influence decisions from who to approach at a networking function to who we sit next to on the train.

In the business world, a polished and professional resume can secure an interview for the job of your dreams but what about the impression you make on the day? Before you’ve even smiled and shaken the interviewer’s hand, it’s likely he or she will have sub-consciously formed an opinion based on how you look.

At a recent style workshop I attended, many participants were going through a career transition. Yet some still said they would wear jeans to an interview because that would be the dress code once they started work.

Portraying the right image can set you apart from other candidates so let’s look at ways you can do this.

Protect your image

Your image is the perception people develop when they interact with you – and perception is a powerful thing.

Image is not about attractiveness, it’s about factors such as hair, clothing and whether you look appropriate for the position you’re seeking. These factors influence your ‘personal brand’ and you want them to say “yes, I am as professional as the image I presented in my resume”.

Your LinkedIn profile may be well written – and if it’s not, we can help you with that – but does the photo let you down? Find a local photography studio or simply ask a friend to photograph you, to avoid a too-casual selfie.

A personal brand can also be visible through social media accounts and managers often search for a candidate’s name to see what comes up. Consider restricting the visibility of your accounts unless they are appropriate for the workplace.

Dress to impress

When you’re searching for a job, chances are you’ll face at least three or four interviews so a suit or new outfit is an investment, not simply an expense.

If in doubt, go formal. For men, that means wearing a shirt and smart jacket, although a full suit is preferable. For women, the same applies. Even if the role won’t require you to wear a suit every day, an interview is a formal occasion and you want to stand out for the right reasons.

Accessorise appropriately. Let your personality shine through your well-rehearsed responses and body language, not in the cartoon tie or over-sized earrings you picked before you left home.

Quality doesn’t have to be costly. Appropriate attire can be as simple as a suit or other outfit that fits well, is clean and crease-free, and flattering for your overall shape. Plus, if you don’t need to wear it in your new role, it will last for many jobs to come.

Check whether your local department store offers a free personal shopper service: personal shoppers are stylists who can help you select anything from a single outfit to a whole new wardrobe, usually at no extra charge.

Career Handbook Dress Men1
Career Handbook Dress Women

Make suitable colour choices

The colour of your clothing has a big influence on how people perceive you. A black suit is not ideal for most roles as it is dramatic and formal and conveys power. Save that for when you become CEO!

Safer colours are navy and darker blues, which instil trust, and greys, which are timeless. Safe doesn’t mean boring, though; dress things up with a splash of colour such as a green tie or orange scarf, paying attention to avoid clashing patterns.

Above all, select colours that complement your hair and skin tones and you’ll feel as good as you look, which will boost your confidence.

Focus on the little things

Good grooming and hygiene are essential in the workplace – think of them as the smaller details – so it’s no surprise the same goes for the interview.

Expectations can be subjective but a few general guidelines apply:

  • Wear your hair in a neat and tidy style, whatever its length
  • For men, clean-shaven or beard is fine. Somewhere in-between is not
  • Check that your nails are clean and an appropriate length

Don’t forget to look down: scuffed or too-casual footwear will detract from your image.

Treat online interviews like in-person

In our increasingly digital world, interviews by Skype or video are not uncommon as managers may work in different cities or even different countries from their teams.

The same effort should go into your personal presentation for an online interview – and that includes checking you’re not sitting in front of your fridge at home. The right image comes from finding a quiet space with good lighting and a subtle background, then dressing and behaving as if it’s an in-person meeting.

Start as you mean to go on

Ongoing style is important so don’t hang up that winning outfit as soon as you start the job. When you join a company, you’ll make a ‘first impression’ on everyone you meet.

If you’re unsure of the dress code, it’s acceptable to ask your manager before you start, or err on the side of caution and wear that suit again on day one. It’s less embarrassing – and presents a much better image – than being too casual, and you’ll soon get an idea of what is appropriate.

Dress up for promotions, too

People may know you as the helpful IT person who roams the building in cargo pants and a flannel shirt but what if you want a promotion internally?

Your appearance should present you at your best, so the interviewers have no problem picturing you in a more senior position. Dressing formally may feel unfamiliar at first but you’ll be competing with external candidates who are likely to be looking sharp.

~

It’s said that “you never have a second chance to make a good first impression”. The perfect resume may have landed you an interview, but your appearance needs to reinforce that you’re the best person for the role.

So invest in yourself and make an effort to look the part. Anything less and you’re doing yourself a disservice.

How to Write a Winning Resume

BLOG ARTICLE How to Write a Winning Resume

Writing a winning resume can be extremely daunting. It takes research, time, effort and repetitive practise before you even begin to master the formatting, structure and overall content.

Think about how your resume reads.

Are all the elements 100 percent necessary?

Is every sentence written with the sole focus of proving your worth?

Creating the perfect resume can be time consuming and tough for many people, but here at Alpha Resumes, we pride ourselves on guiding you to reach your untapped potential, and land your dream role.

Here are our top resume writing tips, and guidance on each element.

EXTRA ELEMENTS

While the above five elements are pivotal in the success of writing your winning resume, you can choose to include either of these as well.

But make sure that if you choose to do so, they are there for a reason.

WRITING A WINNING RESUME: FINAL THOUGHTS

Writing a winning resume can be tough, but if your structure is right, and your focus lies largely on achievements and value, you’re on your way to finding success.

If you want more in depth advice on any of these elements, and on ways in which you can highlight your achievements and value, get in touch with us for a free phone discussion or resume review.

Meeting with a professional might just be the best thing you can do to land your dream job.

HOT LINKS: 

Guide to Handling Job Search Rejection

Guide to Handling Job Search Rejection Blog 24Jan

Job search rejection is a very real prospect job hunters face every single day. When your very livelihood depends on the successful outcome of both your resume screening and interview performance, it’s perfectly reasonable for any individual to show symptoms of stress.

When you pin your hopes and dreams on an exciting new role, when you begin calculating your potential income and picture yourself sitting at a brand new desk, it can be somewhat heartbreaking when you receive that fatal phone call, or rejection email.

How are you meant to pick yourself back up when you’ve been rejected over and over again?

If you ever find yourself doubting your capabilities or wondering if you will ever be successful, try these seven different ways to deal with job search rejection, so that you can continue on with the job search process.

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EMOTIONS

You’re emotions are valid, and it’s important for you to acknowledge and understand exactly how you’re feeling.

Instead of suppressing your feelings, reach out to a friend and let them know. Keep the conversation informal and use it as a means of admitting your feelings to yourself.

The best way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is to face them head on.

DON’T LET JOB SEARCH REJECTION DEFINE YOU

Just because you’ve been rejected for a job, doesn’t mean your identity should be compromised. Remember that rejection is part of the process, and even the most successful individuals will have faced rejection at some points in their lives.

Thinking all employers will deem you incompetent is going to affect your mental state and overall emotional wellbeing.

Try putting yourself in their shoes for a moment. You’re faced with dozens of applicants all hoping to be hired for the recent lawyer position. They all attended university and received identical certifications. However, one individual frequently volunteers his time at the local law firm.

When it comes down to the crunch, who would you hire?

ASK YOURSELF, WHAT COULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

If we don’t learn our mistakes, we would never have learned how to build tremendous sky rises, travel to space or develop scientific compounds.

When you are faced with job search rejection, take a step back and consider where you might have gone wrong.

Could you have monitored your tone a little more carefully during the interview?

Could you have made a follow up phone call or sent an email to show your enthusiasm?

Or do you simply need to gain some more experience?

Being honest about your efforts and recognising room for improvement is only going to benefit you in the long run.

SEEK FEEDBACK

It’s one thing to acknowledge your mistakes, but what do you do when you’re not even aware of making them in the first place?

This is where seeking feedback and constructive criticism can go a long way.

Being nervous in an interview is expected, but are you a nervous talker? It’s possible that you might be talking too much and employers can interpret this as a sign that you are conceited and arrogant. Body language at an interview can also be just as important as your spoken words.

Plus, it’s a good idea to get some constructive feedback on your resume, so that you can be confident it’s giving you the best opportunity.

REFRESH YOUR RESUME

It’s no secret that some resumes read as though they had been written by a toddler, and others can even convey an image of desperation.

Enhancing your resume could give you the long-awaited advantage you’ve been looking for.

First impressions are literally everything in the job searching game, and a professionally formatted and written resume can truly resonate with your future employer.

Contact Us Today for a free review and to see how we can help with yours.

NEVER STOP LOOKING

Okay, so you’ve landed a few interviews, should you stop looking?

Of course not.

It’s vital to keep your momentum going, even though you might have a few prospects on the horizon.

Never stop looking until you’ve received that congratulatory email or signed that contract.

TREAT YOURSELF WITH COMPASSION

It’s not surprising that beating yourself up and putting yourself down isn’t going to help you at all.

Treating yourself with compassion and kindness is great for your morale, and can boost your self-esteem. Keeping yourself in high spirits is pivotal when it comes to persevering through job search rejection.

If you’re finding things are getting a bit too tough, try slowing it down. Take up a hobby or socialise with friends. You might find treating yourself to a bit of fun will clear your mind and give you an opportunity to refocus.

CONSIDER YOUR LIMITS

Have you ever stopped to consider that you might be applying for roles that are currently beyond your reach?

While it’s always a good idea to push your limits and exceed your expectations, if you’re constantly opening rejection emails, perhaps you might want to consider applying for less senior positions.

Don’t use this last approach as a way of escaping the seemingly endless cycle of rejection.

If you’ve got the education and the experience, by all means, apply for the roles you think you deserve, but as we mentioned earlier, being honest with yourself and your capabilities will always go a long way.

~

At the end of the day, job search rejection is simply a part of the process, just like sitting in the waiting room when you go to see a doctor.

Accepting it, learning from it, and using it to further boost your motivation is a proven method for ensuring your success later down the track.

Don’t give up, your dream role is waiting for you.

How to Land Your Dream Job in 2019

How to Land Your Dream Job in 2019 blog 18Jan

Land your dream job, buy a house, travel the world…

It sounds easy but in reality, achieving those things can be a tough and grueling process.

You envision a life where you are financially secure, where you are free to spend ample time with your family and friends.

But most importantly, you envision a life where you are paid to do what you love.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016 saw full time employees committing to roughly 40 hours of paid work in a single week. That’s over 2,000 hours in a single year.

You could probably think of a hundred other things to spend that amount of time on.

What are you interested in? What do you love doing? What are you passionate about?

If you could spend 2,000 hours doing something you really enjoyed, and get paid for it, would you do it?

Of course you would. It’s really a no brainer.

Discover how you can land your dream job in 2019, and finally attain the happiness you deserve.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?

Landing your dream job can be quite a challenge, especially if you don’t even know what your dream job is.

There is such a vast variety of jobs, it’s good to broaden your horizons and see what is actually out there.

Have you ever heard of an ocularist, or an ethical hacker, or a cosmetologist?

Researching roles might just lead you to the dream job you’ve been looking for.

Check out this list of more than 500 jobs you can be hired for within Australia. It includes detailed descriptions on education, personal requirements and typical tasks.

EDUCATION

Let’s be logical for a second.

A customer service cashier isn’t likely to land a job at CSIRO tomorrow.

However, it is possible for a customer service cashier to land a job at CSIRO in the future.

Education is important, and often vital to your success. If you want to become a scientist, it is necessary to learn about formulae, the periodic table, compounds and atoms.

In most cases, on the job learning is simply not an option and many roles will have prerequisites before you can even be considered.

To become a real estate agent in Victoria for example, you need to undertake a real estate licensing program to gain the necessary qualifications.

With so many courses and education options available, how are you meant to know which is right for you?

Here are 3 simple steps you can take to ensure you’re making the right decisions.

  • Step One – Research you desired role to discover what employers expect from a successful candidate.
  • Step Two – Research courses and institutes and find a program which will give you the necessary qualifications to land your dream job.
  • Step Three – It’s good to have options. Weigh them up against each other, determine your study patterns and make sure your final decision will suit your lifestyle.

Isn’t education expensive?

It’s no secret that education can be expensive. That’s why, planning your funding is detrimental to your completion, and overall success.

Be sure to browse websites for any new scholarship opportunities, and even contact institutes directly to see what they can offer.

Also, don’t forget about the amazing opportunities short courses can provide. If the thought of enrolling in a university degree or tafe course gives you the irrits, this could just be your perfect solution.

Learning software navigation, business management, or even logo design and digital marketing are just one of the many options available to you.

Udemy and LinkedIn have emerged as reliable sources for terrific online courses at very low prices. Check them out below.

It’s also worth checking if there are government funded courses for the qualifications you want to attain.

Click these links to browse free courses available in Victoria.

EXPERIENCE

Another crucial factor employers will consider, is your experience.

Employers want to know if a potential employee will work effectively and efficiently.

One way to prove your worth is by gaining relative experience within your chosen industry.

If you’ve worked in a restaurant for five years, it’s safe to assume you will have cash and food handling experience, plus some basic customer service skills.

Employers want to be able to make those same assumptions when hiring an engineer, a chef, or an architect.

Whatever your dream role might be, start thinking of ways you can obtain some experience your future employer will favour.

Be mindful of any apprenticeships or internships available for your specific profession. Although you’ll be getting paid a lower rate, the accumulated experience will be invaluable, and one day could mean the difference with an employer hiring you over someone else.

Work experience and volunteering are also great ways to get your foot in the door, and start getting your hands dirty… Figuratively speaking of course.

Check out this article on finding work experience and volunteering opportunities in Australia.

EXCEED EXPECTATIONS

While you’re out studying and getting experience, hundreds of other individuals with similar aspirations are doing the same thing.

Competition in the job market is fierce, and you need to stand out if you want to succeed.

Look at what you can do to rise up above the rest. What additional experience and education can you undertake to exceed expectations of potential employers?

For example, community service might be considered a favourable experience for a role as a nurse, and proven cash handling experience might be desired for an accounting role.

It’s important to set yourself apart from every other candidate you’re up against.

If you’ve gained more experience and education than your competitors, you can be sure that the odds are tipping in your favour.

LAND YOUR DREAM JOB

You’re finally ready to begin applying for jobs, but what else can you do to help ensure your success?

Here are a few really good tips to help give you a competitive boost.

  • Network within your chosen industry
  • Make connections within your chosen industry
  • Update your LinkedIn and other relevant social media handles
  • See a careers counsellor
  • Dress to impress

An employer wants to believe a candidate will do well before they make their final decision. By gaining relevant experience and education, you are helping to affirm that belief.

Job hunting is always going to be a competitive playing field. Look at ways you can give yourself an edge and don’t be afraid to think out of the box.

In this day and age, the most committed, the most dedicated, and the most eager candidate will almost certainly land their dream job.

When you love what you do and you live what you love, I doubt you’ll ever feel like you’re at work again.

Happy hunting.

Job Application Tips: 10 Ways to Improve Your Odds Blog

Job Application Tips 10 Ways to Improve Your Odds Blog 9 Jan

Job application tips are highly sought after when on the prowl for your next dream role. Finding the right advice could mean the difference between getting hired and barely scraping the shortlist.

If you’re an individual ready to take on new challenges and expand your horizons in a brand spanking new role, continue reading.

Applying for jobs doesn’t need to be a difficult process. The problem with most job hunters is that they are altering their resume to suit the job descriptions of the roles they apply for.

Recruiters are likely to recognise where the truth has been fabricated quicker than you can say you’re hired. They are alert, and well aware of experiences and skills you will have gained from your previous roles.

The trick is to highlight these experiences, and accentuate why they will help you succeed in your next role. Why should a recruiter or an employer take a chance on you over every other candidate?

Here are ten job application tips to help you do exactly that and more. Show prospective employers you’re the candidate they’ve been looking for, and convince them that they simply cannot pass up the opportunity to hire you.

TIP 1:
Use a content rich resume that is aesthetically pleasing

It’s true that first impressions are lasting, and that your documents will instill critical assumptions that will make or break you.

However, you are not in a competition to see who can create the prettiest resume. You’re in a competition of skill, attainment and knowledge.

It’s best to utilise a simple design where your information is succinctly consumed.

If a recruiter is struggling to read through your documents, chances are they will simply stop and move on to the next candidate.

In short: Content trumps design, but ensure information is easy to digest.

TIP 2:
Include these vital elements on the first page of your resume

The first page of your resume needs to show you off quickly.

Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes for a second. They are reading through numerous resumes and want to spend as little time as possible on such an arduous task.

Format the first page of your resume similar to an index page, allowing recruiters to gain considerable insight into your experiences. Be sure to showcase a mixture of key responsibilities and achievements which will appeal to recruiters and employers.

Elaborate on specific details in the later pages of your resume. If your index page is charismatic enough, recruiters will be more inclined to continue reading.

In short: Create an index page enticing recruiters to read through your entire resume.

Make sure to check out our article on ‘How to Write a Winning Resume‘. This includes intricate details on format, presentation and success elements.

TIP 3:
Your resume is not a position description

Too often recruiters will come across resumes that simply read as a revised job description. This is extremely dull and boring and rings alarm bells.

Your resume should remain identical when applying for jobs because your experiences and skill set should be relevant every single time.

In short: Your resume is a detailed summary of your skills, achievements and experiences.

TIP 4:
Read the job description carefully

Job application tips don’t get much simpler, yet so many job hunters fail to read the job descriptions time and time again.

It has become increasingly common for job advertisements to include specific details for the application process, or make specific requests on what should be included with your application.

Fail to read through these details and you’ll be eliminated from the candidate pool without a second thought.

In short: Read the description carefully and follow specific instructions.

TIP 5:
Tailor a specific cover letter

Unlike your resume, a cover letter should be tailored to each application.

Be sure to include any requested information, and highlight recent achievements within your current role.

Think about how you went above and beyond the basic requirements of your role. How did your place of work benefit from your endeavours?

You can also personalise your cover letter with the information you have available.

By including relevant names and titles, you are demonstrating your enthusiasm and strengthening your connection with the recruiter.

In short: Write a unique cover letter highlighting your personal attributes.

TIP 6:
Review your social media presence

This one job application tip is probably the most overlooked and forgotten.

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Ensure your Facebook and Twitter accounts don’t reveal too much about your personal life. Alter your privacy settings to prevent any sensitive information from landing on your future boss’ screen.

All it takes is for one savoury post or questionable check in for your future employer to make their final decision.

In short: Update your privacy settings and remove explicit content.

TIP 7:
Advise your referees and gain the necessary permission

It’s all well and good to include previous managers and team leaders, but are they going to recall your flare excellence?

Inform potential referees of your intentions. Ensure they remember why you were such a great employee and perhaps even inform them of the role/s you’re applying for and any skills that you’d love them to endorse you for.

Triple check their contact details and alert them to the fact that they may be contacted. There’s nothing worse than recruiters contacting references who are ill prepared, or even worse shocked because they had no idea you were on the job market.

In short: Discuss your intentions with your references and ensure they will give a glowing recommendation.

TIP 8:
Proofread your documents

One typo can be forgiven. Two and you might be in trouble. Three typos and your spelling capabilities will almost certainly be questioned.

I don’t even want to get into the assumptions for four.

In short: Proofread your documents, or even better ask someone else to take a look.

TIP 9:
Practise this best submission approach

By calling the hiring manager or recruiter before you apply, you are demonstrating your passion and eagerness for the role.

However, you should not sound desperate, arrogant, or even annoying.

Be mindful of the tone of the person you are speaking to. Are they happy about your call?

In this scenario, it’s important to follow their lead. If all goes well, your application will be expected.

If a recruiter or employer is waiting to see your name in the pool of applicants, you have considerably improved your odds. By asking the right questions, you can also ensure your cover letter perfectly hits the mark.

In short: Call the most relevant individual and have a quick conversation.

TIP 10:
Prepare for the call

Congratulations. You’ve done all the hard work and submitted your carefully curated application. Only to find a frog is caught in your throat the moment you receive that fatal call.

It’s important to prepare for this inevitable phone call which could indicate an interview or your immediate success.

Regardless of what the next stage is, you should sound professional and very interested. Try to use names where you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

If you are busy or caught off guard, politely take down the recruiters contact details or ask for a call back. This will give you some time to prepare and settle

In short: Expect a phone call and be prepared.

It’s no secret that landing your next role is going to be competitive.

By utilising these 10 job application tips you are giving yourself a competitive boost when it comes to getting noticed.

Learn how to speak highly of yourself without sounding arrogant, and you’ll be well on your way to convincing recruiters of your capabilities.

Happy hunting!

Welcome To Our Blog

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Firstly, to introduce myself and a bit about my background, I’m Jon Gorgioski and I’m the Foundining Director and Principal Consultant at Alpha Resumes. I have over 10 years’ experience as a writer, along with over 10 years’ combined experience working within the corporate and marketing arenas. My passion lies around coaching and personal branding, helping people just like yourself through building bold, powerful, effective suites that achieve results. This is where Alpha Resumes was born . So why should you connect with Alpha Resumes? Let me ask you a couple of questions…

Have you found your dream job and are looking for some help to give you the best shot at successfully becoming the new employee in that role? Or are you looking to make sure your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile are professionally presented, aligned and optimised to best illustrate your unique value proposition?

At Alpha Resumes, we are here to help you with those very tasks. We are an innovative, boutique personal marketing and branding service. Our difference is that we take the time to meet with you personally, get to know you, and really understand you and your unique value proposition. We provide a tailored, personalised service and advice that is second to none. We go deeper, capturing the essence of who you are as a person and as an employee, your unique skill set and experience and ensure it shines through your full personal branding suite.

In today’s competitive market, you need to stand out from the crowd. You need to be different. You need to ensure your resume and personal branding suite is optimised to be selected through the initial, often automated stages of the recruitment process. You need to present your skills and experience in a way that is relevant to your specific industry and will capture the attention of a recruiter.

And why our blog? Our blog is our way of connecting with you, in your time, in your way, whenever you need. Over the coming months we will be providing ideas, hints and tips in this space to help you with your personal branding journey, to help you market yourself in the most positive, effective way and to achieve the results you need, in your time, when it is convenient to you.

So, please check back in regularly, we look forward to joining you on your personal marketing and branding journey.