Via INC : Amazon Career Experts Say That to Get Your Next Job, Your Resume Should Always Have These 5 Simple Things
Amazon receives tens of thousands of resumes a day–here’s what Amazon career experts say will separate you from the rest of the pack.
Getting a new job isn’t always a walk in the park.
If you’re after a position at a great company–perhaps one that will allow you to land your dream job–you will no doubt have to put your best foot forward during the entire recruitment process. Not only that, but you’ll have to do so while potentially competing with hundreds of other applicants.
What to do?
If you think you have what it takes, make sure your résumé can back you up. Here’s what career experts from Amazon–which receives tens of thousands of applications in one day–say your résumé should always have.
1. Showcased successes and wins.
Simply listing the job requirements of your past positions is easy, but it’s not enough. Recruiters and hiring managers will want to see if you have made any serious achievements in your past work. Demonstrate all your relevant accomplishments in your résumé–don’t hold back!
2. A clean format without typos.
Make sure your résumé is typo-free and well-formatted. A confusing or disorganized résumé, or one filled with errors, will hinder your success. Recruiters will find it difficult to learn about your past experiences and successes, and they won’t be impressed with your lack of attention to detail. “Say you’re a developer,” says Ryan, a recruiter at Amazon for more than three years. “If your résumé has mistakes, it makes me wonder–and definitely hiring managers–how clean your code is.”
3. Relevant values.
Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles play a big role in the company’s hiring process–they are ingrained within everything, from interviews to new projects. Research the values of the company you want to join, and then make sure you and your résumé are aligned with them. If you don’t mention your values outright on your résumé, the past work you list should indirectly communicate your values.
4. Qualifications that are preferred.
It sounds like an obvious task, but read the job description. If you meet the job’s basic qualifications, find ways to express that in your résumé. If you make it clear you also have the job’s preferred qualifications, then your résumé will be a hit.
5. Revealed skillset.
One former recruiting associate at Amazon says that hiring managers are increasingly choosing applicants with a specific skillset over others who can do multiple tasks somewhat well. Says Ray, “There needs to a core strength that you have that you really want to contribute to the team’s mission.” His advice to most people is to be intentional–make it clear in your résumé, cover letter, and interview that you know exactly what you want to do at the company.
Via Forbes : Six Tips To Make Your Resume Stand Out
Have you written your resume but aren’t sure that you have the right content? Have you modified it a few times and had people read it, but it just doesn’t have that extra oomph that you think it needs? If you answered “yes” to one or both of these questions, you’re not alone.
Your resume is meant to share enough information about you to help you get an opportunity to reiterate or elaborate on your knowledge, skills and abilities at an interview. As a career coach who’s reviewed thousands of resumes and served in various hiring capacities, I’ve learned the do’s and don’ts of how to make a resume stand out. Here are six tips:
1. Determine what aspect of your career you need to showcase to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities.
Usually when a company posts an open position, it includes a list of duties, required knowledge and responsibilities. Pay attention to information elsewhere in the job description as well, and read the company’s reports, minutes of strategic planning sessions and other publically available documents. And don’t miss an opportunity to speak to the person who previously held the position, if you can.
Armed with this information, you’ll have a better idea of what knowledge, skills and abilities to showcase when summarizing your career experience, volunteer experience, awards and any other recognition you’ve received. For example, if you’re applying for a management or leadership position, try to showcase experiences that demonstrate your ability to manage and/or lead.
2. Ask yourself, “Why is this statement important?”
When preparing your resume, continually ask yourself, “Why is this statement important?” Share only high-level activities that demonstrate your ability to perform. A way to demonstrate this ability might be to include a statement like “Continually recognized for neutralizing potentially hazardous situations that would have resulted in fiscal deficits and instead enabling corporate leaders to secure multi-agency contracts averaging $30K.”
3. Include activities that showcase your value.
Hand-in-hand with tip No. 2, include activities that best showcase your value. Ask yourself, “Why is this activity important?” and “If it weren’t performed at the required level or better, what would have happened?” Case in point: If you hadn’t handled a matter expeditiously using your project management skills, what would have been the organizational outcome?
Identifying what activities and experience a company will find valuable is sometimes hard to do when you’re new to the job market or career path, so do your research: Speak to someone who was in the position previously, review the position description and look up the company online to gain a better understanding of the scope of the enterprise. Your research will also demonstrate your ability to take initiative. It shows the interviewer that you’re determined to advance in a career and don’t want just a job.
Another way to showcase your value is by adding a career objective or qualification statement at the beginning of your resume. When doing so, make sure the content of your resume backs up or reinforces what you write. For example, your qualification statement could read: “Extraverted visionary seeking to further extend strategic planning skills to the health care profession.” Just make sure that you include on your resume work experience that reinforces your strategic planning abilities.
4. Share the actions, purpose and results of each activity.
Wherever possible, when you list an activity under each position you’ve held, provide actions, a purpose and results. You can use a bulleted list or a paragraph to get your meaning across. When using bullet points, a good rule of thumb is to include three to four bullet points.
Take care not to write like a job description. For example, don’t write: “Reviewed manuscripts each day.” Use powerful action words and adjectives. But refrain from using words and terms that you don’t normally use. Be you. Instead of “Reviewed manuscripts each day,” you could write, “Successfully reviewed voluminous manuscripts daily ahead of prescribed deadlines for the purpose of justifying $1.4B of expansion projects to an executive director.” Doesn’t the second example provide a clearer picture of what you accomplished?
5. Don’t use “I.”
Avoid using “I” on your resume. Why? First, a person who’s reviewing hundreds of applicants’ resumes is likely skimming them. So aim to be as succinct as possible. Second, if a machine is scanning your resume, it will likely be programmed to locate keywords. Pronouns aren’t keywords, so save space for more pertinent information. Instead of writing statements beginning with phrases like “I accomplished,” use verb phrases like in the previous examples I shared above: “Successfully reviewed” and “Continually recognized for.”
6. Instead of using acronyms, explain or define the terms.
Acronyms often stand for highly technical terms that only a company insider would understand, so make sure you explain their meaning whenever possible. Doing this not only demonstrates your understanding of the work, ideology or processes but also your ability to help the layperson understand complicated terms. This is an ability that may be expected if the position involves briefing high-level executives or officials.
If you can’t explain the acronym with one simple sentence, though, then just write out what it stands for.
With these tips, you can effectively tell your story, captivate your audience and provide insight on how you can become an asset to a company. So give your resume the boost that can help you land your next position and advance your career.
Via The Ladders : 3 must-see resume writing tips for anyone who actually wants a job
Several months ago, a friend recommended I give Reddit a try. He said there was lots going on at the site and I would enjoy it.
“Enjoy” was not the first word I thought of when he mentioned it. I think I was more in the “fear” camp initially.
But I eventually overcame my concerns, joined Reddit, and spent a couple of months trying to get into the flow of how things worked and finding subreddits I was interested in.
Once I felt more settled, I wanted to give back to the community, so I started looking at places to contribute.
Naturally, I gravitated toward the personal finance topics. After all, I have had a decent amount of money success myself (financially independent at 42, retired at 52, and had written on the subject for 15+years.)
But it didn’t take long to find out that everyone on Reddit is a money management expert. (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in that.)
Anyway, I had little interest in explaining money problems to a 32-year-old “expert” with almost no net worth to his name. I had seen others try and the pack descend on him, so no thank you.
I kept searching.
I found a subreddit where people posted their resumes and asked for help reviewing them. As someone who had reviewed thousands of resumes during my working career, interviewed and hired hundreds of people, and managed my own career with success, I knew I could help.
So I dived in…
The Average Questioner
After reading several posts, I could see a pattern — a very strong pattern.
The posts were eerily similar to each other. I know that rarely happens but again and again, the same post popped up.
Here’s a representative sample of what the vast majority were like:
I have been looking for a job for a year now and am having no luck at all.
I have applied for about 900 positions and haven’t received one call back, so I’m sure the problem is with my resume.
Can you look it over and offer suggestions on how I can improve it?
The resume was attached for us all to comment on.
To say the resumes were a mess is an understatement.
I’m not sure where these people got their initial advice on how to create a resume, but I assume it was either a first-grade elementary class or a trained monkey.
Anyway, it was apparent why the resume wasn’t getting any results.
Even more, I saw a second pattern developing. Again and again, each poster had the same exact issues. They were making critical mistakes — ones that made their resumes almost worthless.
I was seeing this so often that it got to the point where I was making the same exact recommendations to poster after poster. Eventually, I made responding easier on myself by writing out a detailed response, saving it as a document on my computer, and literally copying and pasting it to one question after another. They all needed the same advice!
So in the interest of saving future posters the trouble of asking for help, I thought I’d share the three common issues Reddit posters faced and my recommendations on how to address them.
I’ll list them as recommendations of what to do instead of what to avoid as I think it’s more positive.
So with that said, here are my three tips for making your resume as strong as possible:
Three must-see resume writing tips
1. Follow a standard format full of easy-to-read bullet points
Consider this finding detailed on Time:
According to a study by Ladders, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume. The standard thought was that recruiters spent at least several minutes on each CV. Nope.
Six seconds! Yikes!
The reality is that recruiters have a TON of resumes to sort through so they need to weed them out quickly. That’s why each one gets six seconds.
This means that a resume writer needs to capture their attention and stand out (in a good way) in six seconds. If this happens, perhaps the review can be extended to 10 or 15 seconds, which allows the candidate enough time to tell his story a bit and hopefully make the “maybe” pile instead of being consigned to the trash bin.
What exactly do I mean here? I suggest the following:
- Do not get creative. You need to follow the standard format of 1) contact info at the top, 2) work experience in reverse chronological order next, and 3) education at the end. Recruiters are used to this format and using it ensures they spend their time looking at your background and not figuring out where the info is. If you get creative and develop a non-standard format resume, they spend their six seconds trying to figure out what the heck is going on and you lose your chance to impress them.
- Use bullet points to detail your experience. As you discuss your work experience, highlight your accomplishments (more on this below) in bullet points. These are easy to read quickly and can convey a ton of information in a short period of time. In six seconds, several bullet points can easily communicate “this is someone I need to talk to.”
- Forget the list of skills at the top. I don’t need you to tell me you’re “creative, determined, and results-oriented.” I’ll make that determination for myself. Tell me what you’ve done and from there I’ll form my own conclusions.
There are exceptions to these of course. If you’re applying for a creative position, then throw out the rules and be creative with your resume (as long as you still communicate well, of course). If you have some skill that’s required for the job (or gives you a leg up), then you may want to include it at the top. But for 95%+ of the jobs out there, these tips hold true.
The resumes I was seeing on Reddit were all sorts of messy. People were detailing their job experience in paragraphs so difficult to read I’m sure no one plowed through them. They listed their experience at the end of the resume and in no particular order. They were spending the first half of the page telling us what they thought of themselves (and their abilities) versus getting to the meat of the presentation. These resumes were train wrecks and it was easy to see why they had not been effective.
2. List quantifiable accomplishments beginning with action verbs
Consider two candidates. The first one lists the following in detailing his most recent job:
I helped the sales team in their work.
The second lists this:
Supported nine-person team to deliver 10.4% sales growth over the previous year and earn company-wide recognition award for performance.
Now, which of those two people would you want to interview? (By the way, the purpose of a resume is simply to get you an interview.)
See how the second is so much better than the first? If you don’t let me name a few ways:
- The second seems like it’s written impartially (though it’s not, of course.) By not using “I” it makes the accomplishment less from you and more objective.
- There’s action in the second one. The candidate “supported” the team. What did the first person do? Probably whatever they told him. The second person took action (and appears to be more of a go-getter). By the way, “supported” isn’t the greatest action word in the world. I’d prefer “led” or “directed” but most entry-level people aren’t at the stage where they direct or lead much, so you have to use the best word you can.
- The second has QUANTIFIABLE results. They are not vague — you know he was part of a team that had a 10.4% sales increase. That’s both specific and impressive.
- The second sneaks in a second point detailing why he’s awesome. Not only did he work to deliver great sales, but an outside source (“the company”) recognized the efforts as outstanding. This guy is a winner!!!
The sad thing is that these two different lines could actually be the same person! It’s just that if he has no clue how to write a resume it might be more like option 1 but if he had a bit of direction he’d write it as option 2.
Questions I get about this tip often come down to “I don’t have any accomplishments” and “I’m not sure how to quantify what I’ve done.”
If you literally have zero accomplishments, you need to try and make the bullets sound as impressive as you can. That said, if you have honestly contributed nothing meaningful to your current employer, why should a new one want to hire you?
If you have accomplishments but aren’t sure they can be quantified, that’s better than nothing. But think hard and use numbers if at all possible as long as they are impressive (delivering a sales increase of 0.1% is not worth mentioning — unless of course the rest of the company was down 20% and then you’d want to list it as “Delivered 20% sales increase versus rest of company.”)
3. Focus on networking if you really want to find a job
Submitting a resume online makes the applicant feel like he’s doing something, but the chances of being hired this way are remote. In fact, Forbes says, “This method works just 4% of the time, on average.”
I have advertised jobs online several times and we’d always get a few hundred applicants for one position. I probably spent less than six seconds on each resume just to get it down to 10 or so I felt were qualified. I’m sure I missed many great candidates this way but the sheer numbers dictated my actions. Many companies face the same thing, that’s why the odds of being hired from an online source are not great.
Instead, do a little networking. You know, actually talk to human beings — people you know, people friends and family know, people past co-workers know, people your college professors know, and on and on. Talk to people, tell them what you’re looking for, and ask if they can help or know anyone who can.
By the way, you’re going to need to be a good networker to advance your career anyway (networking is one of my seven steps to make millions more in your career), so you might as well get good at it now.
Networking takes a lot more effort (which is why people probably avoid it) but is MUCH more successful. Forbes says this method “works 33% of the time.” The only thing that works better (at 47%) is “knocking on the door of any employer” which is simply a cold-call version of networking.
If you’re looking for another source on the dynamics above, consider the facts presented here:
- 80 percent of jobs are not posted online.
- Only about five applicants actually earn an interview from hundreds of applications.
- Referrals account for around a third of all external hires.
Networking allows you to break out of the pack, find a personal connection, and get selected as one of the few who get an interview. Using it you have between a 33% and 47% chance of success — versus a 4% chance simply posting online. Is it any wonder these Reddit posters were having issues?
It’s Not Just Reddit Users
My experience here was with Reddit users, but it’s not unique to them.
Almost everywhere I get asked about reviewing a resume (from a friend in person, someone emailing me one, online on other sites, etc.) I see the exact same missteps. These there are very common. And unfortunately, if you get them wrong, you are significantly hurting your chances for success.
That said, now that you know how critical these are, implement them in your next resume. If you do, you’ll stand out from the pack and your odds of success will grow dramatically.
Via Forbes : 21 Ways To Improve Your Résumé
Your résumé needs to get through the applicant tracking system and then get selected by the recruiter or HR person doing the initial screening. When your résumé finally makes into someone’s hands, it typically gets just a 15 second glance according Human Resources and hiring managers. 15 Seconds! You have got to garner their interest fast or you are sunk. For Baby Boomers with a lot of experience you can easily make mistakes that keep your résumé lost in cyberspace or never reaching the hiring manager’s eyes. I’ve written over 5,000 résumés and hired hundreds of people personally so I’ve seen most of the errors job hunters make that torpedo their résumé.
Your résumé can be a door opener, or a career stopper. These 21 tips come from hiring managers.
- Emphasize RESULTS! Employers stressed that results achieved matter the most. Lace your résumé with the accomplishments and outcomes you’ve delivered in past positions. Show the impact you had and your productivity by including details concerning money earned, or time or dollars saved. Use numbers to reflect, how much, how many, and percentage of gain or reduction. Innovations matter. List all new products, services, design, processes or system improvements you’ve made.
- Use KEYWORDS! Many companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) in making their initial résumé selection. Thus keywords are vital to being found. Review the jobs you’ve done and note the key industry buzz words and vital work tasks. Your résumé keywords should include your skills, competencies, relevant credentials. Essentially, keywords should be words that, at a glance, will show the hiring manager that you are a good fit for the job.
- Focus the résumé. It’s imperative to use a job title for the career objective to identify the name of the job being applied for. It’s most effective to create a different résumé for each different job title (i.e., one résumé for Project Manager, another for Engineer) and only incorporate the information pertinent to doing that stated job. Avoid crowding your résumé with any non-related information.
- Be concise. No long job descriptions. Say exactly what you mean, using the smallest number of words to make the point. State only the specific qualifications you have to best perform the job advertised, employers say they quickly eliminate any broad scope or generalized résumés submitted.
- Limit Résumé to TWO pages. Employers stated that they are primarily interested in worked done in the last 5-7 years no matter what level position the candidate applied for. Cover in detail the major job duties performed noting results achieved. Be a skillful editor, deleting experience over 20 years old or anything not relevant or helpful to your securing a particular position and at the level you seek.
- Use a bullet style format. Employers can gather more info faster and prefer the bullets layout over the paragraph style format.
- Add a Summary of Qualifications section. Employers read this first. Encapsulate your most marketable skills and experience into four to six sentences so this section is a mini-verbal business card that details what you are bringing to the new employer.
- Note your skillset first. Look through employers’ job ads to uncover the major work tasks they require. Work tasks are what recruiters and HR folks search for first, so put these in your opening sentence under work experience.
- Don’t hide graduation years. Mature workers worry that employers will discard their résumé if they look too old. Yet most employers want a grad date so they can verify you actually did graduate. Over 30% of people lie about a degree they never earned on their résumé. Therefore, more employers are verifying backgrounds before hiring.
- Make it visually appealing. Keep the formatting of your résumé readable, sharp and professional. Make sure there is adequate white space between points. Use a clean easy to read font like Arial with a preferred font size of 12. Save it as a PDF to preserve the formatting.
- Do not lie or embellish! A new survey from Career Builder of more than 2,500 hiring managers found that 75% have HR managers have caught applicants lying on their résumé. This red flag in almost all cases eliminated hiring the candidate from that particular position. The most common fib seems to be embellishing skills or capabilities and taking liberties when describing the scope of their responsibilities. Some people even claimed to be employed by companies they never really worked for. Be warned. Employers are doing extensive background checks these days and they often uncover your lies during interviews and reference checks. State your skills, qualifications, education, and experience as positively as possible without misstating the truth.
- Clarify a Job title. If your job responsibilities are not adequately described by your company’s job title, then alter that title and indicate your responsibilities with a title in more appropriate terms i.e. IT Systems Analyst, instead of Tech lll.
- Use action verbs. Start each sentence with a descriptive action verb — such as directed, organized, established, created, planned, etc. They add power to your sentences. And, never use “I” on the résumé. Action verbs and short impact sentences gather more attention.
- No abbreviations or acronyms. Spell out names of schools, cities, business terms, abbreviations, and titles completely, as employers may not recognize the exactly what the letters stand for.
- Use the correct tense. In all your sentences, use past tense words since they imply that you “have done it” before. Employers focus on past results even if you are still currently performing the duty at your job, write the résumé using the past tense only.
- Skip tables. Do not use a table to list competencies, skill sets or job descriptions. Most of the electronic applicant tracking systems that employers use can’t read them and so tables copy as blank sections.
- Avoid graphics. Artistic designs, color inks, emojis, and photos should be avoided. Most electronic résumé software can not read designs, or color ink correctly and often eliminate or change anything they see that is not text.
- Don’t advertise negative information. The résumé is the wrong place to advertise that you were laid off, fired, or had an extended illness. Never state why you left a position; simply list the dates of employment.
- PROOFREAD! Careful read and make your résumé flawless. No spelling errors, mistakes or typos. Many HR managers reported they do not hire offenders. Don’t trust computer spell checkers since a correctly spelled word like “sea” would go unnoticed by your computer but would be incorrectly read if you meant to say “see.”
- Cover your bases. Use your networking abilities and LinkedIn connections to find the employer you are targeting for a specific job and use the connections to email them a copy of your résumé.
- No tag lines. Employers know you’ll provide references if they request them, therefore it is not necessary to put “References upon request” at the end of your résumé.
FINAL TEST — Are employers calling? Is your résumé getting results with employers calling on appropriate jobs you are actually qualified to perform? No over qualified calls or underqualified options. If not, start editing and rewriting to improve your résumé so it is the best possible advertisement about you and your skills.
Via NBC News : How to update and edit your own resume (and land the job)
According to Glassdoor, recruiters and hiring managers scan resumes for a whopping 6 seconds before moving onto the next. Here’s how to make sure yours stands out.
Job hunting can be daunting — whether you’re doing it because you desperately need to or because you want to move up in your career. The first thing you’ll need to do is update your resume, but that can also be dispiriting, because getting in the door hangs on how well you do it.
“People are often so busy doing their jobs they don’t make time to track their responsibilities, their accomplishments and wins, or their updated skill sets,” says Maggie Mistal, career coach and former host of “Making a Living with Maggie” on SIRIUS XM. “After time passes, it becomes harder and harder to update a resume and LinkedIn profile. They don’t know what to say, or might be reluctant to toot their own horns. Some are even intimidated by having to represent themselves in a few pages of information. Many also fear they won’t stack up to the competition,” she says.
If you so happen to share these fears at the moment, fear not. We asked both Mistal and Sarah Stoddard, career trends expert at Glassdoor, to share their best resume tweaking tips with us.
Dig deep to define the “why?”
In her coaching, Mistal uses something called Soul Search to gauge her client’s motivators, purpose and preferences in terms of what career possibilities would make a great fit for them. “If you want to stand out, you’ll need to highlight where you’re going and why this particular job at this particular company is a great fit. Knowing your core genius helps you craft and negotiate opportunities so you know not just what job you’re going after, but why you’re a great fit. You make it about more than just a job you’re going after but about your personal mission, or about a genuine interest, that aligns with helping the company further its goals.”
Statements are optional
If you’ve been doing the same kind of thing for a while, adding a career objective statement to your resume is likely unnecessary. But for anyone re-entering the workforce or making a career pivot, a career objective statement (a brief descriptive paragraph that describes your professional goals that falls before your credentials) can be a great way to help recruiters and hiring managers understand your long-term career goals and provide additional context before they dive into your resume, says Stoddard. If you decide to craft one, it should be short, to-the-point, and customized for each job opportunity. Most importantly, it should always address what you’re trying to accomplish professionally.
List your most impressive/relevant accomplishments first
According to Glassdoor, recruiters and hiring managers scan resumes for a whopping 6 seconds before moving onto the next. As this is no time at all to make an impression, be sure to list your most impressive credentials first to give yourself a fair shot at their consideration. Stoddard says your resume should always provide context, details and results to reflect why you’re the right person for the job. “By providing concrete examples of growth, such as specific percentages of dollar amounts, page views or revenue gains, you’ll make your potential clear to the hiring manager,” she says.
Don’t rush the writing
An all-too-common scenario: You’re just thinking about the kind of job you’d like to have when a listing just like it appears out of the ether — and your resume hasn’t been tweaked in a year. As tempting as it is to rush through a resume update, Stoddard says it’s better to take your time and do it right. “It’s easy to accidentally rush your resume, and recruiters commonly see spelling errors, incorrect verb tenses, personal pronouns and even alignment and spacing issues that can be a red flag to your potential employer,” says Stoddard. Before you hit send, be sure to ask a few trusted friends or colleagues to take a peek and give you feedback. “Having a friend review your resume is a great way to get a fresh take on structuring a particular bullet point, or rewording a sentence in order to take your resume to the next level,” she adds.
Be concise in your wording
Updating or tweaking your resume can easily lead to a (mental) war of the words. Is it better to pack in every detail of your responsibilities or keep things short and sweet? Stoddard says it’s best to err on the side of brevity. “Too many irrelevant or vague bullets can do more harm than good,” says Stoddard. “Keep your resume wording concise, your skills section short and only include the details that will make the most impact in a hiring decision.”
Use keywords carefully
When submitting your resume through an online portal, a bot scans it for keywords to sift for qualified candidates. So how can you stack the odds in your favor so your resume is seen by actual human eyes? “One solution is to read each job description to identify keywords the software could be looking for, usually in the section about required skills and experience,” says Stoddard. “If the keywords in the job description are applicable to you, include them in your customized resume before you apply.” That being said, try not to go overboard on the jargon. “Recruiters and applicant software can identify ‘keyword stuffing’ (overuse of keywords) which is why you always want to be honest when identifying and adding keywords that are relevant to your individual experience,” explains Stoddard.
Customize the cover letter, too
Mistal says she often reminds her clients to first mention what you like about a potential employer (and what makes the company a great fit) before mentioning what’s great about you (and what makes you a great fit for the job). “This approach draws in the hiring manager’s attention better than talking about yourself first and foremost,” she says.
Finally, if you’re looking to take the next step in your career but aren’t sure how to brand yourself, Mistal says to reach out to all of your friends and professional contacts to see if you know someone (or know someone who knows someone) and set up a time to learn about the company with the intent of using that information. “It helps to ask about what it takes to be successful and what they enjoy most about their work and the company,” Mistal says. “With these insights, you can reference that information in your cover letter and then curate the bullet points under the various positions on your resume to reflect that you have those qualities and would enjoy that environment.” Kind of like scanning for keywords, but with a hand to shake — and a good impression to make.