Six Things Beyond Your Résumé That Will Land You The Job Of Your Dreams
When you’re looking for a new job, you may think your résumé is your most important asset. But your ability to advance your career depends on many factors, and most of them have nothing to do with your past job titles or the amount of experience you’ve managed to cram into your résumé.
While your résumé and job titles might help you get noticed by employers and earn a first-round screening interview, 53 percent of employers expect to see a cover letter, a professional portfolio, and letters of recommendation before seriously considering you for a position.
Companies Want More
For most of the companies that attract today’s top talent, expertise still matters. They want to see that you have the unique hard skills associated with the role you’re applying for, and you can easily communicate these on your résumé.
However, 63 percent of employers place an equal or greater value on “soft skills” — the intangible capabilities related to a candidate’s attitude, work ethic, and ability to handle pressure.
Putting the spotlight on the following six abilities in a cover letter or during an interview can help you stand out among applicants and land your dream job.
- Building Effective Relationships
The most successful people don’t become successful all by themselves. Companies want to see that you know how to build relationships that lead to success. “Relationships in an office environment are built on trust and hustle,” says Shawn Freeman, founder of IT services company TWT Group. If your co-workers can’t trust you to hustle and do your job, that’s a red flag to employers.
Be prepared to give interviewers examples that show how you went out of your way to help someone. These anecdotes demonstrate your willingness to work hard and contribute to the company in ways that aren’t necessarily outlined in the job description. Interviewers want to see that you care about the success of the company — not just your paycheck.
- Finding a Cultural Fit
Culture is what separates good companies from great ones. Employers look for candidates who exhibit the company’s core values, and the way that a company meshes with your personality and goals is just as important as the job description.
Before an interview, you should always research the company’s culture. If you can’t find any information, ask the interviewer about the type of person who would likely fit the culture. This will allow you to evaluate whether or not you’d be a good fit for the company.
- Following Through on Projects
A hardworking employee who always follows directions is great, but most companies want to hire someone who can also think independently and take initiative — and, more importantly, follow through, even on long-term goals.
Erik Huberman is the founder of Hawke Media, an agency that offers companies an outsourced CMO to provide tailor-made marketing solutions. When he’s evaluating candidates, he looks for people who have a genuine desire to learn and a track record of executing ideas. “Nothing’s worse than always having to motivate someone,” he says. “We want to see people who can start and finish something on their own.”
- Doing Your Homework
Interviewers want to see that you’ve put effort into researching the company before you come in the door. Chris Delaney, author of The 73 Rules of Influencing the Interview, recommends asking questions that showcase your knowledge and research skills. He calls this the “share expertise, ask question” technique.
If the company is considering expanding to another country, for example, bring up that fact and then ask about any challenges that might result from the project. This will prove that you have done your homework and are interested in more than just getting a job.
Keep in mind that you’re not simply trying to show you’re a good fit for the company; you’re also trying to determine whether the company is a good fit for you. The only way you can do that is by asking thoughtful, relevant questions.
- Providing Tangible Examples
Depending on the role you’re applying for, you’ll want to present some examples of past work. These could include a creative portfolio, a list of publications where your work has appeared, a press release covering a project that you worked on, or anything else that indicates professional competence.
It’s always more effective to show an interviewer proof of your accomplishments. Any job applicant can say he or she has done something, but the applicants who show they’ve accomplished something are the real superstars.
- Showing Gratitude
Once you’ve nailed the interview, your work’s not done yet — you still have to write the thank-you note. While email follow-ups are great, a handwritten thank-you note is even better, according to Ashley Mady of Brandberry.
“I once had an interview with a woman who sent me a handwritten thank-you note,” she explains. “At first, when I didn’t receive the usual right-away thank-you email, I thought she must not have been interested in the job. But when I found that note in my mailbox a few days later, I appreciated the extra effort she took to make it more special.”
The value you can bring to a company can’t possibly be conveyed in a résumé alone. While that piece of paper might get you noticed, if you really want the job, you’ll need to show interviewers that you have all the intangible qualities that make a fantastic employee.
MORE FROMWilliam Arruda, Contributor
This article is reprinted by permission from