Investing In You: January
January offers the best of both worlds for job seekers: a sizable increase in new opportunities matched by an influx of competition. To separate yourself you’ll want to make sure your house is in order (see our Investing in You series from November and December) and spend the next 30 days creating and sharing a flawless cover letter and resume.
Delphi asked our key clients what their preference is for a cover letter and resume and we’re sharing those answers with you.
The Cover Letter
While there are companies that would prefer not to receive a cover letter the majority we spoke with felt the cover letter played an important part in the initial screening process. When done right, it can differentiate your name from hundreds of others applying to the same role. Here are the key takeaways:
- Format – Presentation is extremely important. The cover letter is designed to be paired with your resume. Therefore, the format should match. Use the same font, type size, elements and margins in headings and body copy. Sloppily formatted cover letters and resumes are weeded out very quickly, regardless of the candidate’s qualifications.
- Personalization – Leading with “Dear Hiring Manager” or similar language shows that you didn’t spend much time researching the company or your potential boss. In many cases, the answer is just a few clicks away on LinkedIn. You can select either the company’s recruiter if they have one, a Human Resources manager, or a level above the position to which you are applying. As one client told us, as long as the cover letter is addressed to someone in the hiring process you’ll be fine.
- Content – A Google search will turn up thousands of cover letters. While they can serve as a starting point, as one client told us, at least half of these are simply terrible and will hinder your interview chances more than they will help. It takes time to craft a good cover letter every time you apply for a position. That’s because the best cover letters clearly state why you’re interested in working for the company, demonstrate you’ve researched the company, and explain why you would be a good fit based on recent projects, skills and personality. Sounds like a lot of work? It can be. It can also get you onto the short list, and ultimately hired.
Here at Delphi-US we see thousands of resumes. If you’re interested in hearing what makes the perfect resume, the answer is…it depends. That’s because your resume will vary based on your experience, the position to which you are applying and your career. And that’s without factoring the client’s review process. ATS (Application Tracking Systems) will favor keyword based resumes while manual reviews generally prefer a more traditional resume.
Our clients agreed that there is no single resume format. But all resumes should feature the following:
- Layout – Keep it simple. A Word version in Calibri or Times New Roman black font, type size 11, with .5″ – 1″ margins is ideal. Unique formatting or colorful Word templates are unlikely to get picked up by an ATS. In fact, Delphi-US prefers a basic version of your resume. However, there is an exception to the basic formatting rule. Those in creative roles, including UI/UX, marketing, design and similar can opt for a more colorful and stylistic design.
- Content – Arrange your resume in chronological order with clean bullet points explaining your accomplishments as well as software and tools used at each position. The use of keywords is important for Delphi-US, ATS users and hiring managers. Make these keywords resonate by incorporating them into your description rather than a single paragraph of words or a section of just bullets. Lastly, ensure your education and certifications are up-to-date. Some positions require certifications. If you advertise it on your resume the assumption is that it’s active. If it isn’t, that could annoy the hiring manager and may remove you from contention.
- Proper grammar and punctuation – Even the best writers miss typos or poorly worded sentences when proofreading, especially after reviewing the same resume for the 300th time. It’s a good idea to let others take a look. And it’s an even better idea to let those in your field review your resume. Their understanding of your job and industry terminology can result in extremely valuable feedback.
January job searches bring about an increase in opportunities…and competition. To stand out and increase your chance to land an interview it’s important to craft a polished cover letter and resume. Delphi-US can help. Our end-to-end support includes an initial screen, resume advice, access to a number of job opportunities, interview preparation and post-acceptance onboarding. The Delphi team is well-versed in the information technology marketplace. We will help you create a roadmap and get you in front of hiring managers who value your skills.
Delphi-US is a national recruiting firm with expertise in IT, Engineering and Professional Staffing. We offer a flexible delivery model applying specific industrial knowledge to our clients’ hiring requirements, along with an uncompromised level of success, integrity, and proven expertise to our clients across the United States.