Launching Your New Career: Take It One Step at a Time
Everyone wants to land their dream job, but finding it can be difficult—it may even seem impossible at times. As long as your expectations are realistic, however, it’s perfectly possible, and there are always ways to stand out from the crowd.
Knowing how to write a great resume and cover letter, ace interview questions, and present yourself professionally is just as important as the skills, experience, and knowledge you bring to the table. The good news is that you can outsource most of the work—for example, when you hire a professional resume writer, you ensure that all your qualifications are highlighted in an expertly polished resume.
Here are the steps to take if you want to land a great job.
Step 1: The cover letter
Launching a new career begins with formulating why you’re the best candidate for the job. This means promoting yourself persuasively but also accurately, without bragging. Your cover letter is often the hiring manager’s first glimpse into you, so it needs to be eloquent and thorough. Use it to show how much value you can bring to the company.
The quality of your cover letter could determine whether the hiring manager proceeds to read your resume, so be sure to let your professionalism shine through. Take it seriously and put in the necessary effort to tailor your cover letter to the particular job—hiring managers can smell a generic submission from a mile away, and they won’t hesitate to toss it into the trash.
Step 2: The resume
A polished resume must follow a well-written cover letter. After all, a recruiter won’t hire you if you don’t give them a reason to. You aren’t the only person applying for the job, so what makes you stand out? Is it your experience? Your skills? Your education? Whatever it is, highlight it in your resume! Design the document in such a way that your most relevant qualifications stand out and immediately grab the hiring manager’s attention.
Another way to stand out is through the layout of your resume. Is it clean and organized? Do all your points line up? Is your font professional and easy to read? All of these formatting issues (and more) contribute to making an impression.
You also have to contend with the automated computer systems that screen job applications and filter out the ones they deem unsuitable. Look for keywords in the job posting and use them throughout your resume to ensure it flies past the digital gatekeepers and lands on the hiring manager’s desk. The more keywords you cram in there, the better your chances to please the algorithm, but don’t forget that you also have to write for human eyes.
Whatever you do, don’t stretch the truth in an attempt to make yourself more appealing. Recruiters will notice if you’re lying—even if they don’t, you’ll likely be found out after you land the job. Save them (and yourself) the trouble and tell the truth.
Step 3: The interview
This is where the hiring manager gets an idea of who you are. Although you should always be professional, your personality is what your boss and co-workers will experience during working hours. Being yourself during the interview is crucial to letting the hiring manager see the real you. It’s only natural for your nerves to be on edge, and the interviewer knows that, but aim to put on your best professional face and offer a taste of your authentic self.
Step 4: The thank-you letter
Although this often gets overlooked, it’s an essential step in launching a new career. The thank-you letter can serve multiple purposes, such as thanking the hiring manager for their time, showing continued interest in the position, or mentioning something you forgot to say during the interview.
People appreciate gratitude, so thanking the hiring manager can bias them in your favor. It positions you as a thoughtful person, and making a positive impression on the recruiter can go a long way.
The most effective thank-you note is sent within 24 hours of the interview. It is also creative, not a generic copy-paste job. Touch on specific aspects of your interactions with the hiring manager to show them that your thank-you letter is genuine. Finally, be kind and courteous. If you let negativity creep in, you probably won’t get hired.
Launching a new career is exciting and exhilarating. With a compelling cover letter, a personalized resume (ideally one put together by an expert), a strong interview, and a thoughtful thank-you note, you’re well on your way to thriving in your new professional venture.