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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted October 15, 2019 by

Why are apprenticeship programs so much more popular in Europe than the U.S.?

One reason that apprenticeship programs are far more popular in Europe than they are in the United States is because employers in Europe tend to take a far more long-term view of their employees than do employers in the U.S. In Europe, it is more a part of their culture to hire people with some but not every single desired skill and then train them until they have all of the desired skills. In the U.S., employers expect employees to hit the ground running and, therefore, train them only when necessary. Apprentices, by definition, require substantial training.

Another reason that apprenticeships are far more popular in Europe is that it is far harder to terminate an employee in Europe than it is in the United States. In Europe, you can often only terminate an employee for cause and, even then, often need to provide severance. In the U.S., employment is typically at will and you can be fired for any reason or no reason, as long as it isn’t a bad (illegal) reason.

Apprenticeships require a long-term commitment by both parties that, sadly, isn’t as much a part of our culture as it is in Europe.

Posted October 15, 2019 by

Are college majors becoming a thing of the past?

Many colleges seem to be encouraging multidisciplinary concentrations and combinations of minors. Some institutions are phasing out the strict adherence to picking one single major. But why?

Until very recently, very, very few employers who hired more than a handful of people a year really knew where their applicants were coming from, let alone their hires let alone their most productive employees. Over the past couple of years, however, a rapidly increasing minority of medium- and large-employers are not just claiming to use data to drive their hiring decisions but are actually doing so. And some of these employers are using workforce productivity data instead of cost-per-application or cost-per-hire data to drive the decisions as to where to source their candidates.

What many of these employers are finding is that their most productive employees did not come from the sources that the employers always took for granted were their best sources of hire. Employers who hire a lot of interns and recent grads, for example, typically chased after the candidates with the most sought after majors and who were enrolled at the most elite schools. These candidates, however, rarely stay with an employer longer than for a couple of years, whereas candidates from less sexy majors, schools, or both tend to stay for five, 10, or even more years and that makes them far more productive.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 14, 2019 by

Are your job postings attracting too many unqualified and not enough qualified applicants?

We’ve all seen those job postings: “<Position> is responsible for driving revenue growth, optimizing interactions with enterprise leads, liaising and maximizing cross-functional segmentation using sales enablement and marketing nurture tools in coordination with CRM and digital generation management platforms. Must conduct A/B testing and drive key business metrics while aligning with leadership for optimal distribution strategy results. Will serve as ninja Agile scrum master to remove impediments. Extensive knowledge of end-to-end omnichannel demand gen in B2B and B2C environments. Strong record of win-win outcomes, conflict resolution and problem-solving among multiple layers of an organization. Stellar CX, VoC, SQL, COE, ETL, BI skills. 10+ years’ experience in <exhaustive list of software platforms>, superstar analytical skills, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, ability to bend time and add a 25th hour to each day strongly preferred. Attention to detail a must.”

Say what?

All right, so while we made this one up (and trust us—don’t try to decipher it or your brain will get caught in a loop), in our tech-jargon, corporate-buzzword world there are plenty of real, similarly indecipherable job postings out there.

Sure, there are some postings that require more information—most notably, for jobs that involve technology and other specialized positions. But no matter how detailed your job posting needs to be, you should still aim for clarity and readability.

Join us for Job Posting 101 as we pass along some tips for writing job ads that will draw applicants’ interest, not send them scurrying to the nearest dictionary.

Job Title

  • Optimize your job title and description with the keywords your candidates will be searching for. Make sure the job title reflects the job. If you’re hiring a Customer Service Representative, use that title and resist calling it something cutesy or hip. Boring? Maybe, but be realistic: how many jobseekers will be searching for a Customer Service Ninja, or a Valued Customer Pleaser—and how many will miss your posting because it didn’t fit their search terms?
  • Be sure to include words that indicate the career level and the scope of the job: Customer Service Manager, B2B Digital Marketing Specialist, Senior Graphic Designer, Social Media Coordinator, Java Developer.
  • Don’t use internal terms; if you’re hiring an Assistant Art Director, use that title instead of the “Visual Manager 1” your company uses.
  • Include the city and state for searchers who are looking at a specific geographic location. Mention that it’s a telecommuting position (but in that case, include the company’s headquarters location so searchers are aware of possible time differences).

Company Summary

  • Before you go into the job description, give your applicants a paragraph-long glimpse of your company, and why it’s special.
  • Don’t just use your company’s boilerplate description here; personalize the description to give the applicant a reason to want to work with you. As an example, suppose you’re a small manufacturer hiring a Marketing Writer. You could say:

“W&W Manufacturing is a Michigan-based manufacturer of Safety Widgets and What-Nots. For 20 years, we’ve worked with the automotive industry to get our state’s drivers safely to their destinations and back home again. Now we’re looking for someone who can help us tell our customers’ success stories as we expand to keep drivers safe nationwide.”

Job Qualifications/Responsibilities

  • Decide on your “must-have” and “nice-to-have” qualifications before you sit down to write the posting.
  • Start out with a short summary paragraph. Use active rather than passive voice: instead of, “This position is responsible for creating all Safety Widget and What-Not collateral,” say, “You’ll create persuasive, readable sales copy for our full-color product catalog, trade show displays and website.” Make it human and personal; use the second-person “you” instead of “the Marketing Writer will…”— Let the candidate know how they’ll be a vital member of the team. Here’s an example:

“As W&W Manufacturing’s Marketing Writer, you’ll engage customers and prospects with your informative, well-crafted blog articles, white papers, brochures, trade show collateral, case studies, video scripts and more. Not only will you lead us in spreading the word nationwide about W&W’s Safety Widgets and What-Nots, you’ll help millions of drivers safely return to their homes and families each night. As a bonus, you’ll develop expertise in the widgets/what-nots industry and hone your craft as a marketing writer.”

  • Keep your company’s culture in mind as you create the summary. What’s the best part of the job? Are you a close-knit group that collaborates on everything? A hip, tech-forward team that would make Apple jealous with your technology toolbox? Here’s the place to let the candidates know what they can expect.
  • The more information you provide the better, of course, but you can also give too much information—especially if you’re looking for a super-employee who can’t possibly exist in nature. Don’t scare off potentially good candidates—for instance, recent college grads who might qualify for the position—by making everything a “must-have.” Firm requirements that are clearly distinguished from “nice-to-have” requirements create less confusion and fewer unqualified applicants to sort through.
  • Unlike our brain-bending job posting at the beginning of this article, don’t pack all the information into a single massive paragraph. Remember that many jobseekers are reading on mobile devices, so make your requirements easily scannable with short sentences, bullets and white space.
  • Try not to use cliched phrases in your descriptions, because let’s face it: unless we’re shiny-new in the workforce, we all know that “fast-paced” can mean anything from “a busy office” to “utter chaos.” Or that “multi-task” can mean “doing the job of the three people who were just laid off.” You don’t want to scare people off—or make the job sound too perfect. So, on behalf of jobseekers everywhere, we beg you to use plain language and be as honest as possible. Don’t leave a trail of disillusioned former candidates or employees in your wake, which can damage your reputation among future jobseekers. (And for a needed laugh after that serious plea, check out this infographic of what these 50 job ad clichés really mean.)
  • Clearly note the length and type of experience you’re looking for, the job level (junior, mid-level, senior, manager), the preferred education level, as well as any particular skills (e.g. the ability to write clear and compelling copy), characteristics (e.g. the ability to work without supervision) or physical abilities (e.g. the ability to stand for an eight-hour shift) that applicants need for the job.
  • If your requirements are firm, that’s fine—just say so. A quick statement along the lines of, “Please read this posting carefully, as we will only consider those applicants who meet the listed qualifications,” can help reduce the number of unqualified applicants who apply anyway. 

Job Benefits

  • Similar to the job description, make your list of benefits easily scannable with short sentences, bullets, and white space.
  • Note the traditional information and benefits most candidates want and need—hours, pay or salary range, insurance, 401(k), paid parking, etc.
  • Don’t forget about the less traditional benefits that will make an applicant say, “Yes, I want to work there!” Do you have a relaxed dress code? Can you work from home some days? Do you provide lunch or healthy snacks for employees? Is there an onsite gym? A monthly book club? A monthly “bring your dog to work” day? Community volunteer opportunities? Talk about them all! We spend as much time at our workplace as we do with our families. Let prospective candidates see their days can be comfortable, enjoyable and even fun when they’re part of your team.

The final step in  you send your job posting off to your preferred job board, proofread your copy, have someone else proofread it and then proofread it one more time!

While this article is only a basic, high-level overview of writing a job posting, don’t worry—you’ll find resources galore online with a quick Google of “Best practices for writing a job posting” or a similar search. But if you don’t feel like Googling, here are the four most important things to keep in mind when you sit down to write your next job post:

  1. Write clearly and conversationally—ditch the jargon and clichés
  2. Use your human voice
  3. Be honest in the job description, requirements and benefits
  4. Let your company’s personality shine through  

A company that cares enough to be clear, human and straightforward with job candidates promises to be an employer that candidates will flock to. And if you follow these practices consistently, there’s every reason to believe that you’ll be the company people point to when they refer to “an employer of choice.”

Sources:

50 Nonsense Job Ad Clichés  (and What They Really Mean…),” by James Ball, coburgbanks.co.uk, undated.

How to Write a Job Description That Attracts Awesome Applicants,” by Eddie Shleyner, blog.hubspot.com, updated October 17, 2018.

5 Tips to Writing an Effective Job Posting,” by CivicPlus, civicplus.com, undated.

How to Write a Great Job Posting,” by Max Messmer, dummies.com, undated.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 14, 2019 by

How mobile-friendly is your application process?

By Robin Porter

Tom, a 38-year-old long haul truck driver, spends most of his time on the road—often going weeks at a time without seeing his wife and two young children. He’s worked hard to earn his degree online, so he can find a job that lets him be at home with his family.

Now Tom’s in job-search mode. Given the nomadic nature of a trucking job, he has to submit applications when and where he can. That’s why he’s thankful for smartphones—even if it’s sometimes a pain to fill out applications on a small screen (so many questions, and why does he have to re-enter his job history when he’s already uploaded his resume?). However, with limited access to secure computers, it’s all he’s got.

A couple of job applications have been user-friendly. More often, though, the frustration of trying to get through the tedious and detailed online application process on a phone, combined with his tight schedule, forces Tom to abandon his applications to get back on the road. It’s not his choice, but he has schedules to meet. Sometimes, he wonders if he’ll ever be able to settle into a job that will allow him to watch his kids grow up…

Someone who’s as industrious and goal-oriented as Tom, our fictional truck driver, would be an asset to any company. If he applied to your company, would he be interviewing with you right now, or would he be lost in the system because he applied on a mobile device?

Before you wave away the idea that the devices applicants use make a difference in his or her employment prospects, consider that, according to the Pew Research Center, 81% of adults in the U.S. now own smartphones, with the breakdown in ownership by age as follows:

  • Age 18-29: 96%
  • Age 30-49: 92%
  • Age 50-64: 79%

And consider another recent study by Glassdoor, the employer and salary review site, which found that 58% of their users look for jobs on smartphones—and in fact prefer to apply that way.

That’s a lot of job seekers you could be missing out on, if your online application process isn’t mobile-friendly.

Who Applies via Mobile?

Most mobile applicants tend to be in the mid-phase of their careers, with 55% in the 35-44 age range. The largest group—52%—are women, and in general, mobile applicants tend come from industries and occupations where their work doesn’t keep them within range of a computer. Think restaurant, health care, retail, construction, manufacturing or transportation workers like our friend Tom.

Even if you don’t specifically hire in those industries, how many good candidates who have decided to transition to your industry might you be overlooking—without even realizing it?

The Effects of Mobile-Friendly Application

Glassdoor’s study found that mobile job seekers complete 53% fewer applications and take 80% longer to complete each application. The difficulty of completing applications—a CareerBuilder study found that 60% of jobseekers quit in the middle of an online application due to length, complexity or even formatting issues—is not only discouraging for the applicants, it could eventually become a negative for your company as jobseekers abandon your site for more user-friendly postings.

Now, if we’re being honest, in an employer’s market it might not be a significant issue. However, when the market favors job seekers and you have to compete for talent, your applicant pool could shrink considerably—especially as the capabilities of mobile devices continue to expand.

And if you think that a challenging online application process separates the serious applicant from the less-serious ones, think again. The top-notch candidates you’re searching for know what their time is worth, and their patience for an unnecessarily complicated process is as low as anyone else’s.

The Costs of Mobile-Unfriendly Application

Appcast, a developer of programmatic job advertising technology, did a benchmark study that examined the U.S. hiring market in 2018. Among their findings was a 24.5% increase in mobile device clicks from 2017 to 2018. Nearly half of all applies, 47.10%, came from a mobile device in 2018, up drastically from 30.05% in 2017—a 54.93% increase in mobile applications.

The Appcast study further found that recruiters who use more streamlined platforms that shorten the length of the application process cut their cost per applicant almost 250% by reducing the time to complete an application from 15 minutes to just five. Consider that in the cost-per-click pricing model, recruiters pay per click—whatever the candidate does beyond that initial click. When unwieldly application forms translate into abandoned applications, you’re still paying for those clicks even if they don’t result in a job candidate.

As Tom, our trucker friend, and other job seekers rely more and more on mobile devices to search and apply for jobs, it’s vital for employers to adapt their online application processes to reflect the latest technology and application practices. Glassdoor’s study showed that when a job was promoted as mobile-friendly, the number of job applicants increased as much as 11.6%. How many more promising applicants would you have to choose missing out on if you made your online application process mobile-friendly?

Today might be the best day to make that calculation. And the first day of a new era in your recruitment process.

Sources:

Being away from home for weeks on end can put truckers’ mental health at risk, and there’s no solution in sight,” by Rachel Premack, businessinsider.com, June 18, 2018.

Mobile Fact Sheet,” by Pew Research Center, pewinternet.org, June 12, 2019.

The Rise of Mobile Devices in Job Search: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers,” by Daniel Zhao, glassdoor.com, June 2, 2019.

Study: Most Job Seekers Abandon Online Job Applications,” by Dave Zielinski, shrm.org, March 8, 2016.

Is Poor UX Hurting Your Chances of Finding Good Employees?” by Samuel Harper, uxdesign.cc, July 14, 2019.

2019 Recruitment Media Benchmark Report,” by Appcast, info.appcase.io, 2019. (Note: link opens to a download form)

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 11, 2019 by

Why employers should offer 529 college savings and tuition reimbursement plans

The cost of higher education is exponentially higher for the Millennials who recently graduated and Gen Zers who are currently enrolled in one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities. A Baby Boomer may have paid $10,000 for tuition, room, and board in the 1960s. By the 1980s, the same would have cost a Gen Xer about $50,000. Today, the same will cost a Gen Zer $250,000. A very small percentage of students don’t face that kind of sticker shock as they’re extremely affluent and pay for that out-of-pocket, perhaps with savings, or they’re amongst those with the lowest income but qualify for the largest merit scholarships. For the vast majority of students, financing hundreds of thousands of dollars for their education is the reality. 

It is pretty common for student loans to carry interest rates of 6.25 percent, so about double what home mortgages cost, despite the student loans being of lower risk than home mortgages as you can’t discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy. Also normal is a 20-year repayment period. The cost of a $250,000 loan with an interest rate of 6.25 percent and a length of 20 years results in a monthly payment of $1,827.32, which is about $2,500 before tax. In other words, just to cover your student loans, you need to earn $30,000 a year. Even if your cost of education is half of that, you need to earn about $15,000 a year just to cover your student loans. 

Employers that create 529 education savings and tuition reimbursement plans effectively give their participating employees a substantial raise without it costing the employer anything. Money contributed to a 529 plan is tax-deductible, so if the employee contributes $10,000 a year, they’re going to save about $2,500 a year in taxes. That employee has therefore just effectively been given a $2,500 raise by their employer, without that raise costing the employer anything. Even more dramatic is tuition reimbursement, as that doesn’t cost the employee anything. At College Recruiter, we offer tuition reimbursement of $1,500 per year. If the employee’s tax bracket is 25 percent, that’s worth $2,000 to them. We are, effectively, giving those employees a $2,000 per year raise.

Posted October 08, 2019 by

Lists you need to make when you start your job search

Many job seekers, especially those who are more toward the beginning than end of their careers, struggle to decide what kind of a job they want to do. For those, we recommend pulling out a legal pad and dividing it into four columns:

  1. Competencies
  2. Interests
  3. Values
  4. Compensation

Under competencies, list in a few words everything you’re good at, whether it is career-related or not.

Under interests, list everything that catches your attention, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under values, list everything that matters to you, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under compensation, list all of the things that you want and need to do which cost money and estimate how much each costs per month or year.

Now, look for commonalities in the first three columns. Are there items which are in the competencies, interests, and values columns? Circle those. Now look at the items which are circled and consider those along with your compensation needs. Can you do any of the circled items for work — even part-time — and meet your compensation needs? If so, you’ve just found at least one career path.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 08, 2019 by

Can recruiters build relationships with candidates they reject?

By far, the most common complaint that we hear from the 2.5 million Gen Z and Millennial students and recent graduates who use College Recruiter a year to find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs is the lack of basic courtesy demonstrated by recruiters and other human resource professionals. Candidates understand that they should not expect to receive a personalized response to every job they apply to, but they do expect to receive a personalized response to every job they interview for. 

If an employer interviews 10 candidates and hires one, that employer can in about 10 minutes send a personalized email to the nine candidates who the employer was interested enough in to interview but who weren’t as well qualified as the candidate who was hired. The email need not be long or detailed. It need only thank the candidate for their interest and time, let them know that they were not selected for the job, and let them know why. 

Many recruiters are uncomfortable about the “why” portion and will use, as an excuse, the possibility that the why might generate litigation. But the data shows otherwise. The recruiter can easily paint a picture of the successful candidate by summarizing her work experience, education, and other qualifications that caused that person to be hired over all of the others.

Once the recruiter has drafted the email for the first unsuccessful interviewee, it should only take seconds to copy, paste, and send to the other eight. Also, if those other eight remain of interest, the recruiter should say so directly and what steps, if any, the candidates should follow to increase their chances.

If the candidate has interviewed two, three, or even more times, then even more time should be spent to courteously decline them. A great way of doing that would be to recommend, briefly, what the candidate can do over the coming months or years to better their odds of being hired. Maybe they should complete an internship or degree. Tell them. You’ll turn them from disappointed candidates into powerful advocates.

Posted October 08, 2019 by

College Recruiter named Small Business Innovator of the Year by TAtech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Steven Rothberg
Phone: 952-217-0793
Email: Steven@CollegeRecruiter.com
Website: http://www2.CollegeRecruiter.com/home

COLLEGE RECRUITER NAMED SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR BY TAtech

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, October 8, 2019 — College Recruiter, a leading job search site used by students and recent graduates, has won the Recruiting Service Innovation (ReSI) Award for Small Business Innovator of the Year in recognition of the company’s successful and almost unique migration from duration- to performance-based pricing. Performance-based pricing better aligns the goals of job search sites such as College Recruiter with their employer customers by shifting the risk of job posting ads not working well from the employer to the job search site.

“We’re honored to receive this prestigious award and would like to thank the ReSI committee and TAtech for recognizing us,” said Faith Rothberg, Chief Executive Officer, College Recruiter. “Core to our values is continuous improvement, and we’re known throughout the talent acquisition technology community as being resilient and relevant year after year. You can’t be that way without being innovative, especially in an industry as dynamic as ours. When we began this journey from charging employers by the posting to charging them for candidates delivered, we knew we had a lot of challenges ahead of us. However, our team tackled those challenges and feels great about how we’re now positioned for even better growth—and that their hard work was appreciated and recognized by some pretty amazing subject matter experts in our industry.”

Created by TAtech, the trade association for the talent acquisition technology industry, the ReSIs are the only accolade in the talent acquisition field that recognizes the companies, products and individuals that optimize the recruiter’s experience. The 2019 ReSI selection committee was chaired by George LaRocque, CEO of #HR wins, and included Madeline Laurano, Founder of Aptitude Research and Lisa Scales, Head of Resourcing & New Talent at Severn Trent.

“The biggest and best known general and aggregator job search sites sell postings on a pay-per-click (CPC) and, sometimes, pay-per-application (CPA) basis,” noted Steven Rothberg, founder of College Recruiter. “But of the 100,000 job search sites globally, only a few dozen do so at any kind of scale. Virtually every other site, general or niche, is unable or unwilling to migrate from traditional, duration- to performance-based pricing. The business challenges are great, and the technology challenges are even greater. But the benefit to our users—both employers who advertise their job openings with us and the candidates who search and apply to them—are significant, and we’ve already seen substantial increases in both revenues and profits.”

Founded in 1991, College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. Its customers are primarily Fortune 1,000 companies, government agencies and other organizations who hire dozens or even hundreds of students and recent graduates a year from one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities for part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs. For more information, please visit http://www2.CollegeRecruiter.com/pricing or contact Steven Rothberg at Steven@CollegeRecruiter.com or 952-217-0793.

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Posted October 07, 2019 by

How should employers recruit Gen Z candidates?

At College Recruiter, we define Generation Z as those born after 1996. The oldest of these, therefore, emerging from colleges and universities or are already well into the workforce if they didn’t obtain any post-secondary education.

This generation is different from the millennial generation. Very different. So catch yourself before you start making assumptions about them. Gen Z is a transformative generation. It is unique and not like anything you’ve seen before. Some quick facts:

One of the most defining characteristics of Gen Z is its diversity. 

  • They are the first non-White majority generation. 
  • Gen Z is the first digital native generation. They are the biggest consumers of media, and have consumed media since a very young age, including streaming movies, shopping, social media, etc. They do not remember a time when information wasn’t a click away. The interesting thing is, 79% believe they spend too much time online, according to J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. They understand computers, and their users, as being connected to all other computers in the world.
  • While they often shop online, they actually prefer to buy from small, local family-owned shops in person. As consumers, they are somewhat turned off by huge corporations.
  • Throughout their lives, Gen Z has been exposed to economic strife, including the Great Recession. The U.S. has been at war their entire lives, and school shootings have become the norm. As such, they seek security and stability.
Posted October 07, 2019 by

Believe it or Not, Employers Don’t Want People Who are Willing to Do Anything

One of the most common questions that career coaches get asked by students and recent graduates is why they can’t get hired by an employer despite being willing to do any work asked by that employer. The response is almost always a variation of, “Well, that’s the reason.” Employers don’t want to hire people who are willing to do anything, because few have the time or patience to coach candidates. They want candidates to fill a specific role and be qualified to do so.

But, I Just Want to Get My Foot in the Door!

Hey, we get it. You’re willing to do any task just to get your foot in the door and then work your way into your dream job. You probably have skills that are transferable to a wide variety of roles, and that’s great. You may be happy to work for any organization, as long as it’s a dynamic and growing company. You might even be willing to start in the mailroom (assuming the company still has a mailroom) if that’s what it takes. The bottom line: you just want a chance to prove yourself.

Unfortunately, most employers aren’t impressed by all that “willingness” and flexibility. They want you to make their job easy. You see, corporate recruiters, those who work in-house for a specific employer, are typically evaluated on how many people they hire. If they take extra time to help you or work with you to figure out which of their job openings you’re best suited for, chances are they could have helped their employer hire multiple people in that same amount of time. Additionally, third-party recruiters (aka headhunters or executive recruiters) are under even more time pressure because they’re usually paid a straight commission only when a candidate they refer to an employer is hired by that employer. For them, time truly is money.

Make their Job Easy

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s much more effective to be very specific in your job search. Commit to the type of organization you want to work for and a shortlist of roles that you want to fill, and then pursue those diligently. It may also be helpful to narrow your search to a few metro areas, instead of “anywhere in the world.” To do this effectively, you must do your homework on the industry and the company before applying. (For tips on researching companies, read “Things You Should Know About a Company Before Applying.”

Then, when you apply, customize your cover letter and resume to highlight the skills and accomplishments that fit the job description. This includes using the exact job title the employer uses. For instance, if you’re applying for a sales position and the job title the employer uses in the description is “account manager,” then be sure your cover letter and resume also uses “account manager” when describing what work you’ve done and what work you want to do. Even if your school calls your major “information technology,” if the employer states that they are looking for a computer science major, then be sure your resume and cover letter refer to your major as “computer science.” This lets the employer know that you understand what they’re looking for and have both the interest and skills to fill the role.

It’s also important to keep in mind that applicant tracking software (ATS) looks for matches by searching for keywords in your resume. This is yet another reason to use exact words from the job description. While it may be more work to customize each resume you send out, it’s better than being rejected by a robot!

Say the Right Things

When you start to engage with the recruiter or land that interview, be sure that everything you talk about is geared toward the benefit of the employer. You may be proud of your involvement in several clubs at school, which shows a wide range of interests. However, unless you can turn this experience into an asset that the company is looking for, such as “effective time management” it’s better to focus on the skills the employer has clearly stated in the job description. You may be dreaming of relocating to the company’s European offices one day, but if the recruiter is trying to fill a position in Minneapolis, don’t tell her you’d love to work in Paris, unless she asks you if you’d be open to relocating at some point.

In other words, just as you customize your cover letter and resume, be sure to tailor your responses to the specific position for which you are interviewing. By doing some upfront research and being intentional in your job search, your chance of getting your foot in the door (and getting the job you really want) will increase dramatically.

Related posts:

  1. How do I Decide What Kind of Job to Look For?
  2. Preparation is Key to a Successful Job Search