4 tips to give your job applications a boost

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Looking to stand out from the pack, or simply update your work history on your resumé?

Paule Bellegarde, human resources manager at Hill & Knowlton Canada, and Sandra Upeslacis, manager of talent retention and acquisition for NATIONAL Public Relations, share some of the innovative ways job applicants have gotten their attention and offer some tips for your cover letter and resumé.

“Once, I received a shoe box that contained artifacts. It included a letter explaining that these were all qualities. It got the person an interview,” said Bellegarde.

At NATIONAL, Upeslacis said some applicants have proven that they’re creative and technologically savvy. “I got a few resumés submitted by email that included links to videos on YouTube. The best videos were about two to three minutes and had testimonials from professors, previous employers and the person came on at the end and explained why they’d be a great addition to the company.”

However, while Bellegarde and Upeslacis said they admired the unique efforts, both said it wasn’t enough to land the candidates a job.

“You need a cover letter and resumé that’s clear, concise and matches the job description,” said Upeslacis.

A top-notch cover letter and resumé should include the following.

No spelling or grammar mistakes

“The worst thing is when they spell my name wrong, or the company’s name wrong. I’m in the communications business and you need to be able to express yourself well,” said Upeslacis.

Bellegarde said she agrees: “A quality cover letter and resumé will stand out, this means not having any typos.”

Structure

“They should list their chronology. You should be able to see the person’s history. If you have a degree, put the date you graduated. Under each position, there should be three or four bullets of accomplishments,” said Bellegarde.

Clarity

“If something was a summer job, say so. Don’t call yourself a ‘seasoned professional’ if you have one internship under your belt,” said Upeslacis. You may also want to double-check your credentials on social media sites.

Bellegarde said she often checks applicants’ LinkedIn profiles to see if it matches their resumés.

Research

Bellegarde said it is apparent when an applicant has researched the company and really looked at the job posting. “It’s great if they refer to criteria in the posting in their cover letter.”

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