Many jobs are highly sought after in the modern workplace. Competition for a single position can come regionally, nationally, and even internationally with the advent of online human resource departments and electronic applications. So how is it possible to get an interview when hundreds of people are applying for the same job?
Getting an interview comes down to an applicant giving a favorable enough impression to the person granting interviews that the applicant receives one. There is no specific formula for doing this, and each job opening will require a custom approach in order to be successful. The following are tips for how to get an interview that should be helpful in most situations.
Research what qualifications the person hiring is really looking for. What, specifically, does the hiring entity want in the new employee? Research on the position specific to the company should be done prior to applying so that a resume can be tailored to the position. Search the internet for stories of other people who have applied at that company or for similar jobs; talk to people currently working at the company if possible.
Companies often make very broad qualification requests concerning job openings, when in reality they want someone with a specific education level or certification. A job opening for a lab assistant might read that the minimum education level is a high school diploma in reality, the person hiring might only be looking for someone with an associate’s degree, as a higher education level could require more pay due to company standards and a lower education levels might require more training.
Have contacts within the company assist you. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” remains true even in the modern workplace. Whether you know people through college, a professional organization, or are related, having someone well thought of in a company vouch for your abilities means you are much more likely to get an interview. At the very least, that person can give you a letter of recommendation that will lend weight to your application; in a best case scenario, they can talk to someone in human resources and get you an interview.
Clearly display your qualifications on your resume. Don’t just send in a generic resume; make sure the one you send clearly shows that you fulfill all of the qualifications for the position. If you don’t have the necessary qualifications displayed, you won’t get an interview.
Submit an impressive cover letter. The cover letter allows an applicant to set themselves apart from the other potential hires by specifically addressing why they would excel at the job. Let the potential employer know specifically why you are the best choice for the job and why you are deserving of an interview.
Remove limiting words from your resume and application. Certain words or phrases may disqualify you from a position, so remove them from your resume if possible. Don’t specify salary requirements unless absolutely necessary; asking for too much or too little could remove your application from the potential hire pile. If you are willing to travel for the job, put that down; don’t mention it if you are only willing to travel occasionally or within a limited distance.
Follow up on the application. If possible and permitted, contact a prospective employer roughly a week after the application deadline has passed. Some HR people wait to give out interviews until prospective hires follow up on their applications, believing the follow-up proves who really wants the job. This practice has gone out of favor with the sheer volume of applications many companies receive, so check the job posting to see if following up on an application is appropriate. Don’t harass the company – simply call or email once if the contact information was supplied on the job posting and it is appropriate.