What do “they” want? Job applicants understandably are frustrated when they don’t hear back after applying. So here are some hints about what “they” want, shared at a recent Kansas City Career Professionals Network meeting.
Start with what you know; then apply for jobs that are a realistic fit. Don’t aim for anything other than an entry-level job if you have no experience. Don’t overestimate your salary worth. You’re not likely to get any response if you’re far off the mark as a candidate.
Use jobs boards as a starting point to find openings, but don’t count on computer connections to make your case. Find and nurture real-people connections. That’s what they mean by networking.
Join online user groups in your area of interest. Attend “meetups” and association meetings in your target field. Talk to people who do what you want to do.
Use staffing companies wisely. Make a good impression on staffing company recuiters and they’ll recommend you to their corporate clients. A temporary or contract placement is a leading way to get a payroll job offer. Just be sure to communicate clearly about your skills and goals so that the recruiter knows how to help you.
About 10 years of work experience is all you may need on your resume. Anything longer may be viewed as outdated.
There’s no single best resume, but a chronological (dates in order) format is best to show career progression. A functional resume that emphasizes skills may be OK if there’s no career progression, if you’re just starting out, or if you’re making a mid-career change to a different field.
Cover letters are good for management-level jobs, particularly “director” category and above, but the hirers said they’re not as important for lower level jobs. When in doubt, write one.
It’s OK to follow up on your application once a month without being an unwelcome stalker.