Job applicants tend to fall into two distinct groups when it comes to looking for work. There’s those who put in minimal effort and those that do everything they can to submit strong applications.
A poor application might mean no cover letter at all or a short sentence or two with spelling or grammar errors, along with a pretty basic resume that is printed multiple times and fanned out to numerous employers. This is typically contrasted with the cover letter and resume tailor-made to address all the requirements and qualifications the employer who posted a position has indicated as their needs.
Now, as the reality job seekers know only too well is that you’ll likely get passed over a lot before getting hired on, some might argue that the person putting forth the least effort is the smarter of the two applicants. After all, if the end result is no interview and no job, why invest a lot of effort?
The answer of course comes down to two things; improving your odds of success and improving the experience of the job you get.
Improving your odds of success.
The job applicant submitting a weak, generalized resume is going to be job searching for a long time, simply because each and every time they are measured up against some other applicants who are taking the time to craft their resumes to the specific needs of each and every job posting. In that pool of applicants, the employer looks through the many they get and each and every time begins with the same thinking; the ones closest on paper to what I’m looking for are the ones to interview.
The job applicant with a strong, targeted resume will have a shorter period of unemployment simply because when measured up against some other applicants, they will have their application put in the pile of those who got through the first stage of being screened. The stronger the cover letter and resume, the more they survive each stage of being evaluated, be it by human or digital software.
Improving the experience of the job you get.
This is the second reason for investing effort in the jobs you apply to. When you put the barest level of effort into applying and put a basic resume before employers with scant detail and errors, you send a message along with your resume. The message a potential employer receives may be that here’s someone who doesn’t put in a lot of effort, doesn’t care and isn’t going to be in high demand. Therefore, I can likely hire them at a low wage, maybe do menial work and they may go as far as assume you won’t stay long either, so they don’t invest a lot of effort in your development and training. As a consequence, the experience is poor.
The person with the strong resume and well-researched cover letter on the other hand comes across as well-informed, professional; someone to be taken seriously. Poor employers tend to avoid these types because they feel they won’t be able to manipulate them as much. Good employers are drawn to people who show effort in their application because there’s the hope they also show the same effort in doing the actual work once hired. As a result, not only do these types get hired more often, employers train these people better because they want them to stay and add value to the organization. As a consequence, the experience is better.
Imagine someone coming up to you as you were buying a lottery ticket. They ask why your only buying a single ticket for the big draw and you tell you it’s all you’re willing to spend because there’s a lot of other people playing. Why play at all then you’re asked? Well, there’s a slim chance you might win and you get to dream about how winning would change your life.
Now suppose this person claimed they could improve your odds of winning by eliminating a lot of the other tickets; a lot of other tickets. No, they aren’t expecting you to shell out additional money and buy more tickets. Would you be interested? Oh yes you would be! You’d only have one thing to say. “How?”
Landing the job is like winning the lottery and it will change things in your life beyond the job. More money to spend on the things you want, feeling better about yourself and having others view you in a better way. Saving some for retirement or a trip you’ve only thought about. On a small scale perhaps eating out every so often, paying down debts, feeling less stressed and having a purpose in how you spend your time.
When you always use a cover letter and improve the strength of both your cover letter and resume through research and get help and advice, you increase the odds of success. You move ahead of the people who apply with weaker resumes and fail to use cover letters. You eliminate the other lottery tickets.
Please share with others as you wish. You may just be doing someone a huge favour.