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Improve Your Odds of Landing An Interview


No matter how strong your skills or experience are, you won't land a new job without first securing an interview with a prospective employer. Job seekers often consider this step of the hiring process the most difficult -- and frustrating. After all, how many times have you thought your qualifications were ideal for an open position only to never hear from the hiring manager about the resume and cover letter you forwarded?

If you're looking for an edge, make sure you're not falling into one of these categories:

1. You didn't follow directions.

Every company has different procedures for submitting employment applications. Some ask that you use a form on their Web sites while others prefer traditional email formats. Make sure you understand the prospective employer’s request by carefully reading the job listing. Then, follow the directions to the letter. If you don't, your application will most likely never reach the hiring manager.

2. You need to revamp your resume.

Hiring managers want to know why you're a good fit for their specific business requirement. Today, you need to take the time to research employers and customize your job search materials by explaining why you're interested in a particular position and how you could benefit the company.

3. Your cover letter isn't appealing.

Think of a cover letter as a ‘sample’ that convinces the hiring manager your resume, the main course, is worth trying. The best cover letters take select details from your resume and expand on them, explaining how your talents and experience will benefit the prospective employer by matching their requirement.

4. You don't reference keywords.

Companies often use scanning software that detects keywords to determine which candidates to call for interviews. More often than not, keywords come directly from the job description posted. Terms such as "Microsoft Office," "accounts payable and receivable" and "SOX Compliance" are examples. When possible, ensure your resume and cover letter contain the keywords that match the position you’re seeking to interview for.

5. You're more qualified than your resume reflects.

The bottom line may be that you're simply perfect for the job. However, your resume doesn’t reflect your skill set as a match to the prospective employer. Often times, you play down your skills or take them for granted since you’ve used these same skills day after day, for years. If your resume doesn’t 'show you and your accomplishments well,’ you appear less qualified than other applicants. Consider a resume writer to highlight your achievements in an unbiased manner, since hiring managers use this information to determine whom they call first for interviews.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can improve your chances of landing a job interview. Often something small; fixing a typo, tailoring your resume to the job description; using a professional to make your resume stand out; for example -- makes all the difference.

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