Advice From An Interviewer

Nancy Anderson
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Whether you are looking for a job in your current industry or trying to switch careers, how you present yourself has a big impact on your job prospects. Sending a professional cover letter and resume will help you distinguish yourself from other candidates and make it easier for the recruiter to determine if you have the right qualifications. Improve your chances of getting hired by following these tips.

Be sure to tailor your cover letter and resume to each opening instead of sending the same generic documents to every recruiter. Your cover letter should convince the recruiter to read your resume, and your resume should show the recruiter you meet the minimum requirements for the job. Together, these documents have to persuade the recruiter to schedule a telephone call or in-person interview to learn more about you.

Keep in mind recruiters typically glance at each resume for a few seconds before deciding if an applicant deserves a chance at an interview. This is why it is important to cut the fluff when you are writing a resume. If you're applying for a mid-level job, leave your college internships and entry-level jobs off your resume if they do not relate to what you are doing today. The hiring manager will not be impressed by your stint as a waiter at the local pizza shop or the six months you spent as a disc jockey in college.

Your cover letter should be structured similarly to one of the essays you wrote in high school. Start with an attention-getting opening, spend the next three paragraphs discussing your qualifications and then close with a paragraph that persuades the recruiter to schedule an interview with you. Before sending your cover letter and resume package, read them several times to make sure there are no typos.

Writing a resume in 12-point Arial and a cover letter in 14-point Times New Roman won't help you present yourself as a professional, so be sure to use the same font, formatting and paper weight for both documents. You should also check your resume and cover letter to make sure they have the same information. If your cover letter says you saved your department $5,000 in one year, but your resume says $2,000, the recruiter might wonder whether you are embellishing the truth or just too careless to proofread your application materials.

With hundreds and sometimes thousands of people applying for the same jobs, you have a very limited amount of time to make a good impression on the recruiter or hiring manager. Improve your chances of making it through the screening process by tailoring your application materials to each position, proofreading carefully, matching your cover letter to your resume and using persuasive language to convince the recruiter to learn more about you.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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