5 Hiring Secrets Every Job Seeker Should Know

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job interview Have you ever wondered how companies determine which candidates get interviewed and which don't? Have you ever been left scratching your head trying to figure out why you never even received a call for the job you were sure was the perfect fit? Reader's Digest did, and their April edition features 50 secrets HR won't tell you. Here are just a few.


1. Keywords are key.

It's not unusual for your resume to be scanned for keywords by an applicant tracking system before a person lays eyes on it. Try to include the functional and industry keywords used in the job posting in your resume to increase the likelihood of having your resume read by an actual person. For example, an accountant might include words such as general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and GAAP on his resume.


2. Every detail on your resume is part of your brand.

A beautifully written resume with an impeccable design will fall flat if it is coupled with an unprofessional e-mail address. Everything you put on your resume is reflective of your overall brand. Don't compromise your candidacy by including a questionable e-mail address. HR and hiring managers can tell when your e-mail address is the name of your pet, your kid, or your favorite catch phrase. Stick with your name or some version of it.


3. HR is not your ticket in.

HR acts as a gatekeeper. They are there to screen people out and may not be willing to look at candidates that are outside the box of the narrow job description the hiring manager has given them. Instead of contacting HR when a position is available, get creative and try to find the actual hiring manager of the department you'd like to work in at you target company, by leveraging your contacts and using tools such as LinkedIn. Unless you want a job in HR, HR is not your decision maker. Source your decision maker (the person who would be your boss or your boss's boss) and start conversations with them instead.


4. Relationship trumps resume.

People get great jobs with great resumes. They also get great jobs with lousy resumes. Relationships are more important than resumes. People like to hiring people that come recommended. There is less risk and less potential for wasted time and money. When there is no relationship, the resume is often the sole tool used to judge a candidate. And that can be a hard sell. When a trusted company employee is advocating for you, the resume becomes a tool to supplement the hiring process rather than the only touch point.

Discrimination is alive and well.

Hiring managers discriminate based on age, race, family status, employment status ... you name it. And even though more stringent anti-discrimination legislation has been introduced, my guess is that discrimination will unfortunately continue to occur. The best you can do is show relevance and prove you are a qualified candidate for the job. In addition, find a company "cheerleader" who can promote the value you would bring to the company and help you get past discriminatory behavior.

Next: Companies Hiring This Week


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