Michael Wood, Manager, Education & Workforce
Nearly two million Texans have filed for unemployment since mid-March – a staggering statistic illustrating the unprecedented economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Texas begins to re-open businesses, many job seekers will be on the hunt for new employment, creating a crowded and highly competitive job market.
The Dallas Regional Chamber’s Young Professionals leadership program spoke with Will Reed’s Senior Talent Advisor Hagan Lane and Marketing Director Megan Mulcahy as part of its Confronting COVID-19 virtual town hall series on Wednesday, April 29, to share best practices to help job seekers stand out.
Like much of the panelists’ advice, they recommend keeping your LinkedIn profile organized, succinct, and formatted consistently. It should also focus on notable achievements rather than the day-to-day details of your roles. When describing your work experiences, Mulcahy recommends just two or three bullets about your responsibilities and accomplishments. When possible, those accomplishments should be quantified to provide recruiters an easy benchmark to compare you against other candidates.
Your resume, then, covers everything on your LinkedIn profile and more. Lane remarked that a resume should leave hiring managers with no surface-level questions about your work experiences. Ideally, your resume will also highlight your career progression, detail your educational and credential attainment, quantify your successes, and explain the day-to-day responsibilities of your current and previous roles.
A good resume will do this in no more than a single page, while avoiding any grammatical or spelling errors.
With an established LinkedIn presence and a solid resume, you should land an interview. Prior to that interview, Mulcahy recommends that job seekers consider connecting with their interviewer on LinkedIn, research the company and the interviewer, and, in the event of a virtual interview, test the conferencing technology well in advance of the meeting.
For an in-person interview, candidates should arrive no earlier than five minutes prior to the meeting. Lane advises that candidates bring additional copies of their resume, dress professionally, and prepare at least two thoughtful questions for the interviewers focused on responsibilities and expectations.
Lane recognizes that interview questions can be tricky, often requiring candidates to connect previous work situations to a behavioral question. The “STAR” method, she contends, is a helpful technique candidates should leverage both while preparing and during the interview to provide direct and useful answers to an interviewer’s questions.
Lastly, both panelists strongly endorsed thank you notes to show employers that they are top of mind, and encouraged candidates to send a brief thank you email an hour after their interview. A mailed handwritten thank you note in addition to the email is also a nice touch.
To learn more, visit Will Reed’s website.