What do you do when you find “the perfect job,” based on its description and want to ensure you are considered? In your cover letter, resume, and reaching out to connections in your network, how do you express your sincere interest without seeming overeager or even desperate?
Determined to Get it Right
Hi Determined to Get it Right,
You just went on a first date, and it was great. You had a few laughs, learned about their three younger sisters, you even told them about that time in elementary school you peed your pants on the bus back from Sea World. And then they start texting you, using words like “soulmate” and “destiny” and you want to hit the brakes.
If you just worried you clicked into a dating column, fear not. We’re still talking career advice, and I do have a point. Here goes: Deciding a role is your “perfect job” from the description is just as misguided as deciding someone is your soulmate after a single date.
While I understand wanting to get noticed and make a great impression, the truth is in either situation, you don’t have enough information to make a clear judgement. And, you know how you try to only show your best side on a first date? Well, the same could be said of an organization: The description’s crafted to show the best side of the role and company.
Never decide something’s perfect for you before you’ve met with multiple people in the company, seen the office, and have a clear picture of the responsibilities as described to you in person.
Making an assumption about how great the position’s going to be only sets you up for heartbreak, either when you don’t land it, or when it ends up being not-so-perfect after all. A healthy dose of realism is necessary to see the disconnect between the job listing and the realities of the position and company.
There are ways, however, to make yourself stand out as an applicant for roles that excite you so you can land an interview and truly assess if it’s right for you.
Hopefully if it’s really the one for you, you’re exceptionally qualified for it. Highlight your key qualifications, relating them to specific needs that are outlined in the listing.
Make sure to use your cover letter and resume to clearly show how your previous experience will help you nail what the company needs. This article, in particular, gives tips on how to make yourself the most obvious fit for a position.
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Also doing a little networking within the company never hurts, in moderation. Your goal is to stand out for the right reasons—a great referral from a friend of a friend in the company or from an informational interview—not the wrong ones: sending the hiring manager a fruit basket to their not publicly listed home address (Yes, this happened to me. It was really creepy).
Your dream job is out there, but it should take more than a job post to make you fall in love. Objectively assess the role and the company and then, if it really is love at last interview, live happily ever after.
This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Real Recruiter in the subject line.
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TopicsResumes , Job Search , Syndication , Resumes & Cover Letters , Company Culture , Ask a Real Recruiter , Ask an Expert
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Lydia D. Bowers is the founder of Dear People Ops, a contributing author at The Muse, and a Human Resources master's student at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She believes improving the world of work improves the world at large. She develops customized people operations strategies for companies to make them a place where people want to work, not have to work and coach individuals on the tools they need to advocate for themselves and their career goals. Learn more on her personal website: lydiabowers.com.More from this Author