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3 Things You Must Communicate During an Interview

3 Things You Must Communicate During an Interview

There is still a large number of people out there looking for a job. Whether they have a job or not, millions of people are doing the same thing everyone else is doing: going on the internet, posting their resume on the job sites, and applying for jobs. If they’re lucky, their resume will “wow” who ever is reviewing them and they will get moved on to the next round in the process, typically a face-to-face or phone interview.

Are you doing things like everyone else?

A few years ago I submitted my resume to a fairly large organization that had posted an opening on the internet. At the top of my cover letter and resume I put a quote that an industrial psychologist had said about me a few years earlier.

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Her quote was:

“He is the type who manages to see the bright side of challenging situations. If anything, he may underestimate the level of difficulty a situation might be.”

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When I received the call from the regional manager, he said he received hundreds of resumes and mine was the only one to catch his eye right away. Eventually he offered me the position.

Don’t be like everyone else!

Starting with your cover letter and resume and moving all the way through your interview process, you must differentiate yourself. There are many ways to do this, but I believe that there are three things you can communicate that will separate you from your competition:

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  • Focus
  • Stability
  • Profitability

1. You Are Focused

Whether you are applying for a sales position in technology or a customer service position at a call center, you had better be able to articulate your focus in that area. We have a million distractions on a daily basis and distractions are not profitable. You don’t want to give people the feeling you are only there because you just need a job—you want them to believe that you are there because you are really interested in their organization and the opportunity to work with them. Show them that you are focused by researching the company and learning about the opportunity before you talk to them. Again, distractions are not profitable, and if they don’t believe you will be an asset, you will not be considered.

2. You Are Stable

This means you are mentally, emotionally, and physically stable. There are a lot of people who are applying for every job they think they are halfway qualified for simply because they need a job, and their desperation and insecurity comes through in their interviews. There are others who hate their current job, and during their interviews they feel the need to share why they hate it. Both scenarios have insecurity and drama written all over them, which does not communicate stability. Stability equals dependability in the eyes of an employer: if they do not feel you will be dependable, you will not get the job.

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3. You Are Profitable

At the end of the day, being in business is about profit. Profitability equals survival and growth, so your ability to communicate how you will be profitable for the company will instantly make you stand out. To do this you must first understand how the company makes money.

Next, you must understand how the position you are interviewing for impacts how the organization makes money. If you are interviewing for a sales position, it’s about the amount of revenue you are able to generate. If you are interviewing for a customer service position, it’s about service and keeping your customers happy so they continue to spend money. Directly or indirectly, every single position within an organization is important and impacts profitability. The bottom line is the bottom line, so understand how your role impacts that!

Whether you are unemployed or just seeking other opportunities, your ability to show that you are focused, stable, and profitable can be the difference between landing the ideal position or having to keep on looking.

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Last Updated on July 22, 2019

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

3. Address the reader directly if you can

It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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5. Tell the company what you can do for them

As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

7. Numbers are important — show proof

It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

Bonus Advice

When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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