10 March 2016
Let’s say you’re in the process of searching for a new job and have sent out dozens of applications, but haven’t been receiving as many responses as you had been hoping for. If this is the case, you might be feeling frustrated and discouraged. What should you do? Call a friend. If you aren’t moving past the initial application process, chances are you might need to re-evaluate your resume and cover letter. If you’re suffering from feeling stuck with what you have, the solution to your problem might be calling a friend or former colleague and asking them to give you guidance. In most cases, they’ll be able to see your resume and cover letter from a fresh perspective, so they’re the ones who can possibly pinpoint what might be holding you back. To get the best possible advice, here’s what you should ask your peers to consider when reviewing your resume and cover letter: Is my resume easy to read? Hiring managers only spend, on average, six seconds reviewing a resume, so it is imperative that yours seamlessly highlights your skills and values. When your friend first reads your resume, ask them if it was easy to digest on the first take. Since your friend already has an idea of your skills and experience, they can quickly tell you whether or not they recognize what your most marketable skills are from your resume. If they don’t, they can tell you what you should place more emphasis on. Do you think my skills and experience match what the company is looking for? Along with your application materials, you should also send your friend the link to the job(s) you’re applying for. That way, they can give you an assessment on whether or not your message properly aligns with what is being asked for in the job description. Sometimes an outsider is better at identifying what the key skills for a certain job are, so they may be able to provide you with guidance as to what you should highlight in your resume and vice versa. Can you get a sense of my personality from my cover letter? A universal struggle among job seekers is crafting a cover letter that will make you stand out among the other candidates who are applying for the same job. In order to make your personality shine through, it’s best to go to the people who know it the best. When writing a cover letter, your main objective should be to convey how you, as a professional and a person, can bring something to the role that no one else who is applying can. If you’re struggling to come up with what that is, a friend or former colleague who knows you as much as you know yourself can help brainstorm what qualities you have that are unique and guaranteed to catch the eye of a hiring manager. Is there anything in my cover letter or resume that you think might discourage a hiring manager? Along with showing you how you can highlight your personality to coincide with a job, a friend can also recognize what might turn a hiring manager off from asking you to come in for an interview. Since they will be reading your documents with a fresh pair of eyes, they can tell you where you may sound flat or uninspired and instruct you on where you might want to make adjustments. While you may be your toughest critic, a friend who wants you to succeed can come in as a close second. Remember that, even if the criticism they give you might sting, they’re giving you adjustments because they want to help you put your best foot forward. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have wanted to help in the first place.