There is an awful lot of advice out there about how to write the perfect resume or give the ideal answer to the ultimate interview question. (42??). Some of that advice is even pretty good. But, the truth is there is more than one way to do it right. Recruiting, interviewing, selection, and hiring are subjective.
It is highly likely that if you ask ten recruiters for feedback on your resume, you will get ten different opinions.
It is just as likely that if you ask ten recruiters the best way to answer an interview question (any interview question), you will get ten different replies.
Don’t get me wrong; as a profession, we do everything we can to take subjectivity out of the equation whenever possible.
We (try to) ignore resume format choices.
We create interview questions that focus on past work experience and competencies only as they relate to the skills necessary for the jobs we’re filling.
We even design job scorecards and interview evaluation forms that help us stay as objective as humanly possible.
But that’s just it. We’re human. So, here are 7 universal truths in job search – regardless of who’s on the receiving end.
proofread and edit your marketing material
Typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors in your cover letter, resume, thank you note, LinkedIn profile, or any other content you are using to represent yourself are not acceptable. If you claim to pay keen attention to detail and spell “manager” without the second a, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
do your research
Due diligence is critical to a successful interview. If you don’t know what the company does, what people are saying about it, and what we say about ourselves, you are not getting to the next interview.
keep your replies relevant
Nobody wants to hear your life’s story. If I ask you to “tell me about yourself,” I do not want you to regurgitate everything that’s already on your resume. I want to hear the things that are relevant to this particular role and what makes you uniquely qualified for this job.
show instead of tell
Prove that you can do/have done what you say you can do/have done. You can’t just tell me you’re an innovator (or an excellent motivator or that you impact top- and bottom-line growth) and expect me to take your word for it. Arm yourself with metrics, results, and stories about your work history that validate your statements.
Be polite. Be thoughtful. I know hiring managers who ask their receptionists how you behaved while you were waiting for your interview. And, I know someone who, while fighting for a spot to park their car, flipped off the person who was about to interview them. Yeah – that interview didn’t even happen.
Desperate people don’t get hired. Neither do the people who badmouth their former employers or team members.
Be honest and be yourself. Life is too short, and you spend too much of it at work to not be in an environment where you will feel a sense of belonging and significance.
If you happen to be the hiring authority, keep an open mind. Your way may not be the best way, and it certainly isn’t the only way.
If all we do is hire people just like us, we’ll never grow. And, stagnation will never lead to success.