Applying for work is a multifaceted process that relies on several different skills sets. If you've been on the market for a while, you may have noticed that your job-search tasks vary between writing, performance art, marketing, financial management (as you negotiate salary offers, stretch your savings, and maximize the value of your time), and most important of all: sales.
As a dedicated job hunter, you're "selling yourself" to potential employers, but this task is a little more complex than the term implies. Here are a four resume moves to keep in mind as you work to close the deal.
1. Target your audience.
Effective sales people don't just plaster on a big smile and charge headlong at every potential customer. Instead, they think first and plan carefully before jumping into the fray. Don't invest your energy into a scatter-bombing campaign and try to convince every employer in the world that you're the perfect example of an ideal, generic employee (Smart! Competent! Hard-working! Etc, etc.). Instead, choose your audience carefully. Envision the kind of job that interests you the most, create a list of both hard and soft criteria (must-haves and non-essential pluses) and then go after only the employers who fit this criteria.
2. Tailor your message.
Once you've narrowed your audience down to a small segment of the employer population, determine exactly how your offerings, skills and credentials can meet this company's specific needs. Do at least five minutes of research on each company before you start tailoring your summary section and making strategic adjustments to the rest of your resume. And of course, take the same approach to your cover letter. Don't just sell yourself a terrific all-around person—Make it clear that you're the right match for this specific job.
3. Relax, but move fast.
Just because you spend a few minutes researching each employer and tailoring each application doesn't mean you'll devote an entire day on one opportunity. You still need to maximum ground in the most efficient way possible. Which means you'll still need to submit multiple resumes each day, follow up after your submissions, and keep track of your responses. Develop a system and stay organized. As you tackle the day, take short breaks every hour and pace yourself…but stay in motion.
4. Monitor your tone.
Every workplace has its own unique culture and its own unique set of preferred candidate personality traits. Most modern employers recognize that "culture fit"– or the ability to get along and thrive within the workplace—is a stronger indicator of success than technical skill sets. In other words, attitude matters more than aptitude during the candidate selection process. Before you tailor your resume and cover letter, use your deductive reasoning skills to learn what you can about this company's culture, its mission statement, its business model, and its customer base.
Remember: You Only need One Yes
Keep in mind the essential difference between job seekers and salespeople: salespeople have to move onto the next client as soon as they close each deal. But as a job seeker, you need only one appropriate offer before you can step off the market and start making an impact in your new workplace. Visit MyPerfectResume for tools and templates that can help you land the job you're looking for.