So, you think you have found the job of your dreams. It has the benefits package you need. The culture appears to be one that allows you to show off your love of all things WoW without shame. You’ve decided you must have this job.
There’s only one problem – eighty other people also must have this job. So how do you stand out from the crowd and make sure you get the interview? Outside of doing anything potentially illegal, there isn’t a way to guarantee you’ll get that phone call. However, you can take some steps to get noticed by cloud companies and take the next step toward your dream job.
1. Read the job description
This seems like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many things you can find out about a company just from the job description. Does the company really focus on its culture? Maybe they are looking for a very specific skill set that sets this position apart from similar job postings. If you incorporate those points into your cover letter and resume, you will grab their attention. They’ll know you’re not just spamming your resume to anyone who has an opening, and that you are interested in what they are offering. Save this job description so you can look back at it later – you will need it when you set up an interview.
2. Research the company
Are they a start-up with a plan to change the future? Or are they an established power-house looking for the next big innovators? Knowing details about the company you’re applying to gives you an edge on the competition. It allows you to add another layer of detail to your resume and cover letter to make it more eye-catching. Instead of a “hardworking programmer,” you’re now a “developer building the future of technology.” It also gives you an insight into how current and past employees feel about the company and any big changes that may affect your future employment. Use websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and other social media to get a better idea of who you might end up working for.
3. Write a great cover letter
Many times, if a cover letter isn’t included with a resume it won’t even get a first look, let alone a second. A cover letter is the first impression the company will have of you, so make it a good one. Use it to let them know you have the skills they are looking for and to show them you would be a good fit for their culture. Mention facts about the company you’ve learned from your research. This lets them know you are interested in actually working with them, not just for them (or worse, just for a paycheck). If you have a generic cover letter you use already, you don’t have to scrap it and start over. Do make sure to customize it more than just changing the company name in the header. How much effort you put into this first impression gets noticed.
4. Change your resume every time
The person looking at your resume has probably already seen a hundred others that day. Research says most recruiters will spend less than 10 seconds looking at a resume. If the skills they are looking for are not front and center, you are going to get passed over quickly. Showcase your skills first and let them know you have what they are looking for right off the bat, especially those skills listed in the job posting! Get to the point and make sure you remove anything that isn’t important. Don’t let whoever is reading your resume get distracted by things that don’t matter. If you are applying for a Senior PHP Developer position but the first thing on your resume is a list of your Angular projects, you likely won’t get the attention you want – even if you qualify for the position.
5. Speling, spellng, spelling
Everyone should focus on spelling when it comes to writing a cover letter and resume. However, it’s especially important for engineers and developers. If you miss basic spelling and grammar mistakes when writing, are you going to miss mistakes in the code? It doesn’t instill confidence in the person reading your resume that you won’t spend hours scouring code in the event you accidentally missed a number somewhere. Once you finish writing your resume and cover letter, read it out loud to yourself. Then send it to two different people you trust to review just in case you missed something. This will ensure any mistakes you might have made will be caught and if not, it’s probably not big enough for the person skimming your resume to notice.
6. Don’t throw in the kitchen sink
Your resume shouldn’t contain everything you’ve ever learned. Sure, to you it may look impressive to add every skill and job you have ever had to prove you’ve got what it takes. But to a hiring manager, it looks like a mess. If they are looking for someone with one skill set and you’ve got twelve listed, the only thing it tells recruiters or hiring managers is that you probably have mastered none of them. The same thing goes when you list your entire work history. Unless you don’t have much work history or a gap, they don’t need to know you worked at Subway in 1998. Keep the length to one or two pages at most. The more information you give them, the less your best skills and achievements will stand out.
7. Tell a story, not your duties
Your last job was impressive—you worked hard and you want to let them know that. The best way to show them is to tell a story with your job description instead of just listing your day to day responsibilities. This will give them a better idea of what you have accomplished and will be more interesting overall. Instead of “led a team of 5 developers to move old programs to new framework” you “handpicked my team of five developers to migrate outdated PHP applications to Laravel, which raised productivity by 25%.” This is much more informative and eye-catching. Avoid too many bullet points and give a paragraph of your accomplishments. You are passionate about what you do, so make sure you showcase that with what you’ve already done.
8. Reach out! Don’t be afraid of no
Remember that research you did earlier? You can use that now to make the best impression possible. After you send in your resume, reach out to the hiring managers directly. Find their profiles on LinkedIn or their emails from the company website and let them know you’re there. The key is to not be pushy if you don’t get a response; people are busy and they don’t know who you are yet.
However, even if the only thing they see is your name, it may make them pull your resume to find out more or remember that you called when they do sit down to review a pile of resumes. In some instances, you may get an outright, “Thank you but no thank you,” which does suck, but it happens! Don’t let it discourage you from looking at other avenues. At least now you can ask why and get feedback on what worked and what didn’t to give you the best chance when it comes to future endeavors.
Now that you have these tips, it’s time to use them! Start doing your research, writing your cover letter, and polishing up your resume. Applying to jobs can be a job in itself, but it will all be worth it when you finally find the right fit. Remember—your dream career is waiting for you. And once you’ve perfected your resume, you will get noticed by cloud companies.