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Reaching Out7:35 with Pasan Premaratne
Once you have done your research and found positions of interest to you based on your skill set, then it is time to start applying. In this video, we'll go over the the proper steps and tools you should use to maximize your application process.
[Careers Foundations, with Pasan Premaratne] 0:00 [Applying & Interviewing - Deep Dive] 0:02 Once you've done your research and found positions of interest to you 0:04 based on your skill set, then it's time to start applying. 0:07 You should only apply to positions that you really want. 0:11 You can spend more time on these applications and make sure you do 0:13 a good job with them. 0:17 Now when you open up a job posting, the first thing you should do 0:19 is develop an objective or elevator pitch for the role. 0:22 Read down the job posting and determine what they're looking for. 0:25 Now that you know what they're looking for, do you fit this role? 0:31 Are your skills matched up to the requirements? 0:35 The answer to this question is your elevator pitch. 0:38 Use this answer to form the basis of all the documents to use in the application process. 0:41 Let's look at an example. 0:46 You read a job listing and summarize it down to this. 0:48 They're looking for a senior UX designer 0:51 with five to seven years e-commerce experience in the travel industry. 0:54 They want someone who has experience using, designing, and prototyping tools. 0:58 If this applies to you, your elevator pitch could be something like this. 1:02 I have worked as a senior UX designer for the past five years 1:06 in firm A, using tools X, Y, and Z. 1:10 Now this elevator pitch isn't what you send off to the firm, 1:13 but it is what you can use as a basis to craft your entire application around. 1:16 You've figured out exactly what they're looking for, and now you're crafting 1:20 your response to suit it exactly. 1:24 Now sometimes you may not have all the requirements 1:26 for what the firm is looking for, but that's okay. 1:29 It's your job to convince them why you are a great fit, regardless. 1:31 In our example, now you may have the necessary experience 1:36 but in a different industry or different segment of the industry. 1:39 Figure out what skills transfer over and how you can highlight those. 1:42 Once you have an elevator pitch crafted, you should create the documents 1:46 proving that you have these skills. 1:51 There are two documents that you should focus on, 1:53 the cover letter and the resume. 1:55 Let's start with the cover letter. 1:57 The purpose of a cover letter is to do three things: 1:59 introduce yourself and apply for the position, 2:03 explain why you are the candidate for the job, 2:06 and then you sign off on a positive note, showing your enthusiasm for the job. 2:09 The first point, your introduction, should be exactly that, short and simple. 2:13 All it does is lead the employer to the explanation of why you are the ideal candidate. 2:19 The second and most important part highlights why you are the ideal candidate. 2:23 Now this can be achieved with specific bullet points that describe each 2:28 necessary skill and your experience with it. 2:32 Use the key points from your elevator pitch and present them as a bulleted list 2:36 as to why you are the best choice. 2:40 Then include a closing paragraph mentioning how enthused you are 2:42 to be considered for this job. 2:46 The second part is the core part of your cover letter. 2:49 The reason we're going with bullets is because it is much easier 2:51 to read than if you were to just write a paragraph about yourself. 2:54 The employer can easily see what qualifications you have 2:58 that makes you good for the position, and can arrive at that decision quickly. 3:01 Each bullet should reference a specific project or skill 3:06 that is expanded on in the resume. 3:09 Using our example, a cover letter would look something like this. 3:12 Nine years' overall experience as a user experience designer, 3:15 including five years' experience as a senior UX designer. 3:19 Proficient in designing and prototyping tools 3:22 with extensive experience using Photoshop, Illustrator, and OmniGraffle. 3:26 Proven track record implementing successful UI decisions 3:30 within the travel industry. 3:34 While at Firm A, I successfully improved the UX to optimize the signup experience, 3:36 which increased activation activities by 32% and increased overall revenue by 18%. 3:41 Add any other points that would be relevant to the job. 3:47 Highlighting on your cover letter, using bullet points like this, 3:50 shows the employer that you took the time to understand what they're looking for 3:54 and have customized your cover letter to suit the requirements. 3:58 Bonus points already. 4:01 In addition to a cover letter, you could be asked to provide a resume. 4:05 Like cover letters, your resume should be tailored to the job that you are applying for. 4:08 Now there's not a lot of customizing to do with the resume. 4:13 But sometimes you can highlight different aspects of your profile, 4:17 depending on the job requirements. 4:20 There isn't one right way to write resumes. It really is an art. 4:22 With both your cover letter and resume, you should be constantly modifying 4:26 and refining it, adding new skills and writing in your latest achievements before you forget it. 4:30 At minimum, your resume should include the following bits of information. 4:36 Your name and your contact information. Your experience. 4:40 Now this can be arranged chronologically, by relevance, or by industry, 4:44 if you've been employed in different industries. 4:48 Also, you don't have to list every single job that you've done, 4:50 just to fill up your resume. List only what is relevant to the job that you're applying for. 4:53 Then you list your educational background and any relevant certifications. 4:57 And finally, you can list proficiency in certain technology or languages. 5:01 I've provided a few templates in the notes below, so you can go over 5:05 some different styles and resume examples. 5:10 When putting your resume together, one of the potential mistakes 5:12 you could be making is focusing on responsibilities instead of results. 5:15 Listing out results shows not only the responsibilities undertaken for that job, 5:19 but the tasks you handled and the results you've achieved as well. 5:24 An example of listing out responsibilities versus results goes something like this. 5:27 When you list a responsibility, you could be saying 5:32 responsible for strategic and overall IT infrastructure. 5:35 But if you were to focus on the results achieved, then you could rewrite it like this. 5:39 Maintained web services handling a customer base of over 1 million customers a day. 5:43 Improved existing servers to reduce average response time by 30%. 5:49 Now, when the employer looks over the resume, he understands 5:53 what the IT infrastructure tasks were and that you produced favorable results. 5:57 If you have difficulty putting your resume together, 6:02 an easy way to get started is to get a LinkedIn profile. 6:05 LinkedIn will walk you through all the steps you need to complete a minimum profile. 6:08 You can then export all this to PDF, and the website will generate a resume for you. 6:13 Use this as a starting point and fine-tune it 6:18 to highlight everything that you need. 6:21 Cover letters and resumes aren't the only tools you use to show off your skills, however. 6:23 In the tech industry, while a lot of the larger companies will still require 6:28 you submit a resume, a lot of medium to smaller companies, 6:33 especially the new ones, will evaluate you based on examples of your work alone. 6:36 Some companies even mention that they don't want a resume. 6:40 Now there are many different websites out there that you can use to highlight 6:43 your work, depending on your role. 6:47 As designers, you can use websites like Dribbble 6:49 and Behance to show off your work. 6:52 Developers can showcase all their projects on websites like GitHub. 6:55 These websites are increasingly being used to evaluate designers and developers 7:00 over things like resumes, because they show actual work, 7:04 how involved the candidates are in the community, 7:07 and the scope and breadth of their knowledge. 7:10 Use these tools well to enhance your marketability as a candidate. 7:12 Now I have included a list of these resources in the notes below. 7:16 If you don't have a profile up yet on the relevant site, 7:20 I would highly recommend getting started. 7:23 Now that you know how to put together the necessary tools 7:25 to apply for different jobs, let's talk about how you can evaluate 7:29 the responses you get in. 7:32
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