7 Surefire Tips to Land the Job Interview

It’s a fact that recruiters spend an average of six seconds initially reviewing a resume. This is when a recruiter decides whether you will move forward in the hiring process. Not to be overly dramatic, but that six seconds can change your life. If you make it past the first screening your odds increase dramatically. This article will show you how to beat the six-second test.

Be a good fit for the job

Obvious advice, but this truth is ignored by many jobseekers. If you’re not qualified for the job you will not be successful in the traditional application process. This isn’t to say that you can’t get a job for which you are not qualified. You’d need to do it through non-traditional ways.

Apply to fewer jobs

Don’t bother applying for jobs that you’re not excited about. You could be excited about the product, the team, the money, or the skills you’ll learn — but make sure it’s something. If you’re excited about the opportunity, you’ll spend more time applying and do a better job of it. Simply sending your resume to hundreds of open jobs is a waste of both your time and each company’s.

Extensively research the company

Taking the extra time to research the company is your best weapon. You’ll get an idea of its products, culture and values. This information will be extremely valuable when customizing your resume for the job and writing a cover letter. In the interview stages it becomes even more relevant.

What to research:

  1. The company website
  2. News articles and press releases
  3. The company’s products. If it is software, sign up or watch a demo. If it is a physical product, go to a store and give it a try.
  4. Interviews with any key team members (try a YouTube search)
  5. Team members’ LinkedIn profiles and social media profiles

This will give you data on what the company culture is like and help you get a better idea of what exactly it’s looking for.

Customize your resume (and cover letter) for the job

well-designed resume will outline your skills, experience and how it all relates to the job. Customize your resume for each job application, and use keywords from the job description to increase your chances at an interview. The initial resume review involves pattern-matching — looking for similarities between the job description and your resume. Make the job easy. According to The Ladder’s resume study, recruiters spent almost 80 percent of the time looking at:

  • Candidate name, current title and company
  • Previous title and company
  • Start and end dates for current and previous positions
  • Education

“Beyond these data points, recruiters did little more than scan for keywords to match the open position, which amounted to a very cursory pattern-matching activity” said researchers in the study.

A piece of advice: Never apply to a job with your LinkedIn profile .  It is too general and doesn’t outline exactly what you bring to the table specifically for the position.

The same advice applies to your cover letter. Adapt your cover letter to the company’s style using information you learned in your research.

Get a warm referral

Contact someone relevant at the company for an informational interview where you can learn more about the position, impress the right people and increase the odds of your resume getting a second look.

Search on Data.com or LinkedIn to find someone to speak with at the organization. Find their email address (don’t send an InMail).

Write a relevant email outlining why you’re interested in learning more about the company. If you show your passion for the job and ask great questions, you will get a response.

Following these five steps will give you the best opportunity to move forward in the hiring process.

Now what?

Here’s how to get the job after passing the initial resume screen.

Beef up your online presence

Once employers like your resume, they’ll dig deeper. This includes a second look at your resume and a Google search.

Link to an online portfolio of your top projects from your resume. Our data shows that people spend on average almost four minutes viewing an online portfolio  compared to a six-second resume screen. It’s your best opportunity to make a lasting impression.

You should also have a basic LinkedIn account and Twitter profile. If you’re not planning to be active on Twitter, delete your account. Clean up your Facebook and Instagram accounts to make sure you don’t trigger any red flags. Red flags are anything stupid you’ve done in the past with picture or text evidence.

Prepare for the interview

Research is your best friend for interview preparation. If you’re getting an interview   the employer is interested.

Your hours of previous research will be extremely useful here. If you know the company, the product and the people inside and out you will do well. A simple Google search will also help you find the most common interview questions . Employers usually ask at least a handful of these. Get an idea of their style, and try to emulate it. Same goes for the company style. Another trick is to get in touch with people who have interviewed there before and ask for any insight.

Close the deal

If you’re well prepared and confident going into the interview, you’ll nail it.

James Clift is the CEO at VisualCV – the fastest way for job seekers to build stand-out resumes and portfolios. Build your free online resume and view thousands of real resume samples at VisualCV.com today. Follow VisualCV on Twitter @visualcv.