During my post-graduation job search, I often lamented that the hardest part of finding a job was landing the interview. Whether it’s a phone screening, a “coffee chat”, or a panel, actually getting to speak to someone who actually works for the company you want to work for is no small feat. Depending on the job you’re seeking—and any insider leverage you might have from someone you know who knows someone—your sparkling résumé probably battled its way past dozens to hundreds of other applicants to reach the direct attention of someone who can make hiring decisions.
The first line of defense may have been an algorithm that ranked résumés by how many matching keywords they contained. The next barrier could have been a Human Resources staffer with no knowledge of what the specific job role entails, but a general sense of what the hiring manager wants in a candidate. After that, the résumé will finally find its way to someone adjacent to the vacancy who can make recommendations—if not decisions—about who to plug into that hopefully-you-shaped hole. This person may then decide to immediately call you for an interview, or they might see that you claimed to have “ecxellent attention to detail” and judge you harder than Gordon Ramsay during the dinner rush.
(In my current role, I’ve been responsible for screening and interviewing student interns who I’ll then mentor and supervise for a semester. Believe me: errors do get noticed, and they will count against you. Some may say that that’s an old-fashioned, elitist attitude for the modern multicultural world, but since the ultimate goal of my job is to facilitate communication, you’d better believe I think it’s important.)
Continue reading “Leaving the Nest, Part 4: The Pre-Game Warm-Up”