How Two Words You Learned In Kindergarten May Be The Key To Your Job Search

Want to know the key to getting your next job? It’s probably something that you learned in kindergarten? No, not how to draw a cat (though that is pretty cool), its two simple words that you probably hated hearing:

Follow directions!

Yes, following directions can significantly improve your chances of getting a job. Why? Because a lot of people don’t, which is one of the reasons why, according to CNBC, 75% of resumes don’t get read by a human. If you want to plant yourself firmly in that other 25%, here is where following simple directions can get you on the right track:

When You Apply

Companies will be pretty clear in their job ads with how they want you to apply. Whether it’s filling out an application online, or applying in person, the employer has deemed this the easiest way to process what could be hundreds of applicants. Straying from these directions on how to apply is risky, as many companies may not even consider candidates who apply outside the lines. So while you may think that you can stand out from the crowd by being the only candidate to deliver the resume in person, you may be taking yourself out of consideration before the resume even reaches the Hiring Manager.

How You Attach Your Resume

Want to hear a rather shocking stat: according to JobScan, 43% of resumes are rejected by an ATS system due to formatting errors. A majority of these errors can be traced back to how the resume was attached to the email or loaded into the system. Application systems can only support certain types of files, and, for example, if you send a .pdf copy of your resume instead of a .doc, it may be rejected. The good news is that Hiring Managers will note preferred file types in the job ad, and any online application system will give you suggestions on which type of file to use before you load.

What You Bring to the Interview

Hiring Managers will be straight forward on what they want you to bring to a job interview. While we suggest you always bring at least six copies of your resume with you (you’ll be happy when you have them), you may get instructions to bring a list of references, portfolio pieces, proof of certification, or additional documentation. Showing up with these items is expected, and failure to do so may actually cause the interview to be canceled. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to ask for clarification on all the questions you may have when the interview is scheduled.

When to Follow-Up After the Interview

It’s best to leave your job interview with a clear idea of next steps in the process. If the Hiring Manager doesn’t make it clear on their own, ask questions to help clarify when and how you should follow-up. You should take what they say as a roadmap. If they state clearly it’s a two-week process, calling them five days later for an update won’t be received well. Hiring Managers are busy, so catching them at the wrong time, especially before they expected to hear from you, could color their overall decision.

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