What stands between you and an interview for your dream job?
Quite literally, a piece of paper. As industries across the board are constantly evolving and iterating their staffing needs internally, the application process has remained pretty consistent over the years. Your resume creates your first impression. No pressure! As Something Navy has been rapidly expanding, we have received a high volume of candidates interested to work with us. We recently hired someone to oversee HR and Recruiting, and we are thrilled to have her expertise as we continue to grow. Previously to her starting, I was the main recipient of applications. To say it was overwhelming (in the best way) would be an understatement. However, while I thought I knew strategic tips and tricks to resume building previously, I learned much more. In tandem with the flood of resumes, came questions about how to stand out. Keep reading to hear my personal perspective, as well as our expert’s advice.
While you may not consider the subject line an important factor, it’s your pre-first impression. I love seeing the applicant’s most recent position or company right away so I can make a quick assumption on how relevant his or her experience is. For example, “Job Application – Currently Digital Marketing Manager from Warby Parker”. And it comes as no surprise that you should include which job you are applying for as early on in your email as possible.
I’ve emphasized this before when discussing interview tips, but always come prepared even if it’s in the form of an email! Do your research on the company and the role, and include references to your homework. For Something Navy, it was effective when I received inquiries from candidates who knew the history of the company to date and learned why they both personally and professionally related to our mission. That being said, keep it succinct! If you can assume it is a competitive landscape, predict that the company is receiving tons of interest and keep your email top level. Lastly, if you can find a connection to someone who works at the company, absolutely use it. Have that person reach out on your behalf, in addition to including the fact that you are friends or colleagues in your own outreach.
I went directly to the source for some granular insights that will help you build your best resume! See below for a Q&A with our Associate Vice President of People:
Q: You have 1 minute to scan a resume, what are the top 3 things you look for? Why?
A: I usually look at their most recent work experience, title, and for how long they’ve been employed at listed companies. It should be in chronological order. Always include dates and titles.
Q: Do you believe in a ‘less is more’ mentality on a resume? Why or why not?
A: You should be able to fill a resume in just 1 page if you have worked less than 10 years. If you’ve been in the workforce longer, it is ok to go to 2 but try and keep your job responsibilities to a few bullet points. We don’t need to know everything you did.
Q: There are a variety of formats of resumes these days. Can you explain what your preferred structure is? ie where should education be placed? should there be 2 columns on the page?
A: I prefer one column for most resumes apart from creative positions, where resumes are usually built in a design form so 2 columns are common.
If it is your first job out of college, your education should be at the top but as soon as you have a few years of experience, it should go to the bottom on your resume.
Q: Are cover letters important?
A: Yes cover letters let us know what you are looking for and what your background is in greater detail. It helps us learn who you are. However, keep it brief since most recruiters don’t have the time to read a long letter. Keep this to one page too. It should be eye catching but also to the point.