The environment in which we now work is getting more and more fast-paced. If a marketer is going to have a leg up when they apply for a position, it means they’re exercising every angle they can.

Luckily for you, I spent a LOT of time browsing reddit to address this. I wanted to see what the front page of the internet has to say about the lengths you need to go to apply for a position. Below I have compiled the top 5 most poignant and/or common things that I found in my search. These points all stem from a collection of professional careerists, recruiters, and hiring managers. And they all have a lot of experience when it comes to applying and interviewing for jobs on both sides of the table.

But first,

Let’s explore why I felt this is necessary. To put it plainly, this is a tough job market. And it’s raising a lot of questions about how to get into an interview. Even Dan Miller had released a new edition of his bestselling book a few years ago to accommodate. And now with COVID, such a topic is even more common across blogs and social media. It’s an issue that is ever evolving and that won’t change anytime soon.

Reddit is a great place to field advice on a litany of topics. Your marketing career is no exception. One thing that left me amazed was how much recruiters decided to chime in. Hiring managers, too. They all were very willing to offer direction on how candidates can do better, as long as they had the forum to do so.

So without further ado, I give you the top 5 most frequent comments made for when you apply for a position.

#1 – Skip the objective

I’m just going to say it. An “objective” section anywhere on a job application is dumb. But especially on a resume. This goes for “professional summaries” too.

What other objective would there be besides a candidate wanting to get a job? Is the objective not implied by submitting the application in the first place? Unless your objective is anything other than getting a job, there is no point to this. An exception would be something such as an executive role, where there’s a lot of accountability to speak to. Then maybe the summary might be necessary. But even then, the resume itself is supposed to summarize your career. There’s no need to summarize the summary that is your resume.

#2 – Let others apply for a position and learn from their mistakes

Read other resumes and cover letters BEFORE submitting yours. Watch for common themes and trends across them. Find a collection of good examples and emulate them. Find a group of bad examples, and avoid what they do.

In some reddit threads, recruiters even posted examples of applications they received. Most of them left me laughing, but also horrified that they were real.

#3 – Padding your resume for when you apply to a position is okay

Don’t discount the extra-curricular and miscellaneous ways you’ve spent your time. Recruiters say volunteer work or notable contributions to projects are great additions.

My stance on this is pretty clear. The work you do is of merit no matter what it took to perform it. As I’ve said before – the impact you’ve made on a project is not relative to WHO it was for. It is absolute.

– When SEO is your jam and you’ve ranked ten sites high on Google Search, that’s a pretty significant feat.

– If you’re a designer and your work ended up in a business magazine, wouldn’t that say something about you?

– After writing copy that makes an ad campaign double in conversions, isn’t that the most important fact?

So, what does a “reddit-optimized” resume look like anyway?

How about an example? User dddylannn on Reddit posted the evolution of his resume. He talks about it here.

Or you can just take a look at his final draft. Check it out:

Apply for a job resume example

#4 – Learn Excel as you apply for a position

Microsoft Excel is considered as one of the skills most valuable in a candidate. Many recruiters are shocked at how common a lack of Excel knowledge is among candidates. This ruined chances for many of those job applicants because it weakened their credibility. After all, if a candidate was applying to an office-related role, how could they not know Excel?

On the flip side, there is one thing that impresses recruiters more than others. When a candidate holds a functional knowledge of Excel’s formulas, recruiters take notice.

For marketers, this couldn’t be more true. If I look at my career history, I never escaped spreadsheets myself. Importing lists into a CRM, VLOOKUPs to eliminate duplicates, and formulas for KPIs have all been common practices for me.

#5 – Call your freaking references

Seriously people. These recruiters on reddit are saying that too often they call references that have no clue. Be selective. Be picky. This is your livelihood we’re talking about. And while we’re at it, if you list someone as a reference when you apply for a position, GET THEIR APPROVAL.

Assuming you’re doing the above, you can also have a friend call your references. This is a good way to test the waters and see what your references have to say about you. Many hiring managers were surprised when a candidate’s reference had nothing good to say.

Happy woman calling references to apply for a position

#6 – DO NOT name your resume file only as “resume.”

I noticed a difference with this one myself. Labeling my resume’s file with my own name plus “resume” helped with me getting into interviews.

Why?

Here’s one hiring manager’s answer:

I had a short list of 20 candidates that I needed to whittle down to 5 or 10 people to interview. I went through the directory looking for the 20 resumes to review again in more detail, and could only find 14. I’m assuming the other 6 are somewhere in the generic mass of 30 or so files titled “Resume” or something like that. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to wade through them all to check. Your resume file name should start with your actual name!

In other words, don’t create unnecessary barriers for the hiring manager to find you. Ensure you plaster your name and information all over your application. Yes, even your resume file name.

 

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