The job seeker steps up to the plate. You can feel the determination coming off of him like waves spreading across the field. The HR manager pitches the job, a hard fast ball that flies past the job seeker, who just misses it. Setting up for the second pitch now, a deceiving curve ball. The job seeker swings hard and fans it, catching nothing but air. It’s all riding on this final pitch. Another fast ball, but all he does is watch it sail across the plate to have the umpire call the last strike.
Ever feel like that when sending your resume out to employers? When looking for a new job or opportunity, it can feel like the bottom of the 9th and the entire game is riding on your shoulders.
Follow these simple tips to knock your job search out of the park!
Batter on deck
Having a solid resume is very much like having a quality bat. You never see professional ball players at the plate with a whiffle Ball bat; it wouldn’t be able to compete. Nor do you see them trying to swing something they can’t lift.
Your resume is very similar. If your resume is lacking critical information and key words, it acts like a light piece of plastic that shatters on contact with a professional pitcher on the mound. If your resume is overloaded superfluous fluff or excessively old work history, it becomes slow and unwieldy in the hands of anything less than a superhuman.
When writing your resumes and cover letters, be sure to include things like contact information, key skills specific to the target job, and relevant duties. Don’t forget to highlight past achievements, such as sales metrics, customer volume, call volume, awards, and any other quantifiable metric appropriate for your target job.
One of the latest trends in modern resumes is to “get to the point.” Recruiters and hiring managers alike need to understand your strengths and abilities within 30 seconds. If your resume is filled with too much padding just to be fancy, you can easily strike out.
Gotta swing to be a hitter
In baseball, the Strike Zone is based on the batter’s height and the width of the plate. Every batter’s ideal pitch is different, much like every job seeker’s ideal job is different. When considering different positions, think of each one as their own pitch. Something outside of your strike zone – for example, way out of your skill set, experience, or education – is not something you should swing at. Typically, HR uses those differentiators to determine their top candidates.
HOWEVER, you can’t tell what the top qualifications are just by reading the job description. In every job posting, there are factors that the employers value more than others. For these reasons, you should apply to any job that catches your interest, especially if you hold most of the skills and experience desired. You gotta swing to be a hitter!
Transitioning to a new role or industry? Remember, HR tends to be pretty literal in screening candidates based on key words and qualifications, just like the umpire calling each pitch. HOWEVER, you can still land a new job by reaching out to the hiring managers directly. Many successful major league players are known for chasing a pitch outside of their normal strike zone and turning it into a single, double, triple, or even a home run. The trick is knowing that they can make it work – and then proving it to the world.
Step into the box
Even before seeing a pitch, a baseball player performs a unique ritual as he steps into the batter’s box to get fully focused. When the pitch comes screaming at him at 90 miles an hour, he is so focused that he can see the stiches on the ball. As it gets into range, he raises his front foot, twists up from the feet and drives that sucker into the ball. He uses his whole body to drive power into the bat and launch that ball into the stratosphere.
Technique matters for job seekers too. Just doing the minimal effort when applying to a job is like swinging a bat with noodle arms. If you really want to get an employer’s attention, track down the HR manager or even connect with higher-ups in your target companies using things like LinkedIn. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is very much alive in this day and age. Exercise the muscles of your network to fully engage all of your strengths to hit it out of the park.