I recently started a new role; so I’d like to think that I’m pretty familiar job search etiquette. Over the past 18 months, I’ve probably written and re-written my CV (Resume for you North American folks) close to a hundred times one way or another. I’ve learned that it’s crucial to tailor my CV for the role (and company that I’m applying for) – but I will admit that I do have a “template” version that contains all of my work experience that I can pick and choose from. I’ve also learned the importance of including a well-thought out (and equally well tailored) covering letter for all applications.
Last month, for the first time in working career I had the responsibility for hiring some interns. This is something that I was very excited about, as it would be nice to be on “the other side of the table” so to speak.
I’m the first to admit that I’ve been surprised by the differences in business etiquette between Canada and what I was used to in the UK. Although these differences seemed relatively subtle to me as a job applicant, I must admit that when the tables were turned and I was the hiring manager, these differences seemed to be much more noticeable.
Put simply, the main difference is in the way that we position ourselves and how we frame our experience(s).
In the UK, far more emphasis appears to be based on what you did (Job responsibilities)
In Canada (from what I can tell so far), more emphasis is placed on what you achieved (Cost savings, boosted morale, won business etc).
I’m the first to admit that it’s tough out there, whether you’re searching for an internship or looking to become the next CEO of a Fortune 500 company – your objective is to get yourself in front of the hiring manager.
Here are my top tips for when you are job-hunting.
1. Look at what the advertisement is asking for, and do it.
This may sound simple enough, but you’d be surprised at how candidates did not include a covering letter, or samples of their writing (which were pre-requisites for these roles). I even had one candidate who said that he was not going to what I had asked, but do his own thing.
2. Spell Check, Spell Check, Spell Check….and then Proof-read.
I received a number of resumes and covering letters from candidates claiming to be detail-oriented that were full of spelling and grammatical errors, or
3. Address your application to the Hiring Manager.
Do your research, find out who the Hiring Manager is, and address your application to them directly. It shows that you care enough to have done a little background digging on who you’ll be working for.
4. Know your audience.
This is critical. In this case, our job advert was fun, humourous and aiming to capture the interest of bright, young candidates who are interested in working for a new start-up.