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How to make your written application sing to a recruiter

You want to get your dream job? Earn money by following your heart? Make your passion your profession? It’s time to step up your application game! Instead of bribing the gatekeeper called recruiter, you can simply convince her to joyfully give you the keys to the kingdom. How? Well, let’s check it out the ExperienceZone way.

Brevity and clarity

“If I would have had more time, I would have written you a shorter note.” Getting rid of prosaic slack takes time – in any communication way, shape or form. Yet, essentialism is more important than ever. Why’s that? Nowadays, we’re being swamped with information from all directions. Every hour, we’re uploading YouTube videos, which one human being can’t watch in a lifetime. Every day, blogs articles are written, which no one can ever read. Recruiters are knowledge workers. They review hundreds of resumes each day. Google even receives thousands of applications per vacancy. How do you ensure that yours stand out? By sticking to the “one-page” rule. A single-sheet resume provides the overloaded HR professional your entire career history at a glance. No cumbersome printing. No staples. No flipping.

Brevity is necessary but by far not sufficient. It’s like a small plate without food on it. Hence, you want to structure your information in an easily digestible way. Communication is always about the receiver. So, how do you spoon-feed the stressed hiring managers? Think common sense. Consider your cover letter being a marriage proposal towards a company. First you outline what it wants, then you pitch your accomplishments and finally you match both. In terms of your resume, it’s about reserving most space for a reverse chronological documentation of your responsibilities and achievements. Personal information at the top and qualification highlights at the bottom. Each in one line. Period.

Destroy the competition

Yeah, you read right: There’s a war for talent going on outside. Yet, on the other hand there’s a battle for highly paid dream jobs alike. Here’s how you win it:

  1. Stick to your guns: Know where you’re coming from, who you’re and where you want to go. This requires you to run a personality analysis and gain clarity about your mission and aims in life. Also, you want to reflect on your professional life regularly. Capture any updates in your career tracking document. Essentially, it’s the long version of your resume. Latter represents always a one-pager containing the latest and most relevant work experiences as an extract of your career tracking document.
  2. Become a mercenary: Sit down every three months (note to self) and reflect upon the past quarter. Any new roles and responsibilities? Great, put them on top of your resume. Any new successes? Awesome, they are even more important. Like in every other situation in life, you’re selling yourself here. So, its time to act up a notch. I don’t mean lying but stepping the spotlight and enjoying it. Learn to sugar code information. Especially, if you’ve gaps in your resume. Turn risks into opportunities and bugs into features.
  3. Aim and shoot: Having an updated resume is half of the story. The other one tells your matching. The more information you gather about a vacancy, the more specific is your application, i.e. cover letter (or corporate marriage proposal) and resume in term of relevant skills as well as experiences. Kill two birds with calling the recruiter: Get from a cold to a warm relationship and get company or open requisition input by asking some smart questions. Take time to shape and ask someone for a 4-eye check – in terms of structure, content, spelling, grammar and prose. Then put everything (cover letter, resume and certificates) in one PDF file and shoot!

Who really owns your career?

Why do you go to work: To earn money? To have something to do? To receive recognition? Many peoples’ careers are like rocket chairs: They keep them busy but lead to nowhere. Why’s that? Because they don’t take ownership. Instead folks just go with the flow. “Well, I became a dentist because my father was one…” Nothing against being a someone who repairs others’ teeth, yet I invite you to question the decisions in your life as well as their reversibility. You can always adjust the course. That requires you to embrace one golden ExperienceZone rule:

Only you own your career, which is as dynamic as your passions

How do you put these condensed truths into practice? First understand them and their implications. Let’s slice and dice it:

  1. You own your career. Yeah, your partner might have a stake in it. Though bear in mind that you’re tasked to do what feels right to you. Nobody else can know that and take that burden off your shoulders. Your boss might promise to support you. Yet at max she can do is open doors. You need to choose which one you want to go through.
  2. Your career is dynamic. In the 20th century, we had these “from the cradle to the grave” employment relationships. Your grandfather might worked for his company from his internship till retirement. That concept doesn’t hold water anymore. Meantime, the world became more complex and versatile. Hence, replace predictability with opportunity.
  3. Your passions guide the way. It might sound corny yet is so true: You’re designed to do what you love to do. Why’s that important? Your passions emerge from love. Love is an emotion. It makes you move. The more you move the better you become in something. One day you’ll accomplish mastery. This way passions translate into strengths. They create your contributions to the world and value to others. That’s what people are willing to pay for. Got it?

So, how do you jump on the driver seat?

Next you want to take action:

  1. Run a personality analysis to gain clarity about where you’re coming from, who you’re and where you’re going to.
  2. Decide to live a fully self-determined life going forward.
  3. Check your attitudes. Align them towards success
  4. Define your mission. The individual reason for you to be on this planet.
  5. Set at least one aim in life in each area. Pursue those relentlessly.

In terms of Career & Financials, embrace the concept of life long learning. Also, check if you’re still on track by digging down to your passions. Make sure that you build your career based on solid ground and aligned with your mission. Update your resume on a quarterly basis and go interviewing to stay in shape. The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war.

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