What Job Seekers Need to Know about ATS

Nearly every Fortune 500 company and a growing number of small and mid-sized businesses filter resumes through an applicant tracking system (ATS) which will be tricky for job seekers when submitting their resumes.  

What is ATS? 

Applicant tracking system is a software widely used by companies today to keep their hiring track right as it allows an employer to collect and sort thousands of resumes. 

Why do employers use ATS? 

Back in 2008, the Great Recession hit the United States, forcing companies to conduct massive layoffs. When the situation got better, people started looking for a new job that employers were flooded with job applications. The problem was, employers found that nearly 90 percent of those applying were unqualified for the job, making it difficult for employers to sort and get the best and most qualified ones. This is where the idea of ATS created. ATS was first created for employers who demanded features that could discourage and filter out unqualified candidates in no time.

See also: Maximize Your Job Search with Matrix Decision

Applicant tracking systems then gradually come into play to help recruiters do their job right. ATS would help keep all these resumes in one place, help recruiters and employers stay organised during the recruiting process. ATS also helps employers save time by automatically surfacing and highlighting top candidates. As of today, ATS becomes a necessity for both big and small firms because it could streamline, widen recruiter’s talent pools, and save time to sort massive candidates. 

Does ATS have its drawback? 

Nothing is perfect, so is ATS. Albeit an applicant tracking system could help ease the job during the recruiting process, it has one drawback. According to a Swoop Talent survey, ATS does help hire professionals to narrow their applicant pool, but top candidates often slip through the cracks. This happens because candidates do not know the right standard resume writing for ATS, thus, they applied through a system that has less-than-optionally parsing or data management. 

How does ATS work? 

Generally, different ATS providers would operate a different system. Yet, they have similarities to collect and store resumes in a database for hiring professionals to access. In addition, resumes that are in the system might be stored long in the system before it is sorted and read by real recruiters. Then, recruiters or hiring managers would search and sort through the resumes in a number of ways, depending on the system they are using. The following is the elucidation of each ATS system. 

Automatic rankings 

Some applicant tracking systems use automatic comparison from job description to resume applicant. Based on Jobscan review, one of the best ATS that uses this system is Taleo. Taleo will rank each applicant based on how well their resume scores are based on the job description. This would surely help the recruiter focus on candidates with the best job description match. 

Keyword rankings 

Keyword rankings are very common in almost all ATS systems. As an example, if a recruiter is hiring for a General Manager Assistant, the ATS will then search and sort for “ General Manager Assistant” out of hundreds of resumes in the database. Hence, this system will save candidates who have done the exact job before and anyone that does not would only be kept in the system. 

Viewing application

Last but not least, some recruiters or hiring managers would take a glance over their ATS database to get real results. This, however, is only done by a few small- and medium-sized businesses. Commonly, recruiters would take a glance over a candidate’s past highlights, job titles, and past companies. With this quick scan, recruiters could determine whether they want to learn your resume more or not. Thus, it is important to make sure your top skills and qualifications are easily identifiable, not only for the ATS but also for the recruiter’s eyes.  

Now as you are already armed and know what and how ATS works, it will be easier for you to write better resumes for ATS. If you need more guidance, read here for more tips on how to beat ATS system and get your resume into human hands

Read also: Job Fair & Online Job Search Tips for Students and Graduates 

Why & How to Get a Charity Job After Graduation

What is a charity job? 

Charity work is often confused with not-for-profit jobs due to their similarities in their job descriptions. However, these two are different from one another. In not-for-profit (NFP or non-profit), the organisations can be run by either volunteers or paid staff. The NFP also varies in size but is typically on the smaller end of organisation scale relative to other classifications such as non-government organisations. This non-profit organisation aims to not make a profit for personal gain, not hiring paid staff and/or volunteers and do not need to reach charitable status. 

Meanwhile, the charity job refers to a more specific not-for-profit organisation which has very strict guidelines as to how an organisation can qualify as a registered charity. Charity organisation’s aim is generally different from those of a job non-profit organisation. The purposes of charity work include benefiting the entire public or a sufficient section of public. Charity organisations can also hire both employees and volunteers. 

See also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview

Why work as a charity volunteer/employee? 

As you may know, working in a charity company does not come with a fat paycheck compared to working in private sectors. Yet, having experience of working in a charity organisation could give you two major advantages. First, it will give positive encouragement to your own wellbeing as you know that a charity job could give a huge impact to social communities. Second, a charity job is usually more flexible than having a job in a private sector or startup. The jobs also offer more flexibility in terms of working hours and job sharing opportunities which is great for you if you have an interest in other projects. 

Not only can working in a charity organisation improve your self-wellbeing, TotalJobs wrote that it also improves your resume headline, boost your network, as well as help figure out your true passions, goals and wants in life. Charity jobs are not beholden to political cycles and point-scoring, but instead has the luxury of being motivated by evidence and humanitarian values. 

Skills and requirements 

Albeit charity working seems like informal jobs, to gain or get accepted in a charity team, you still need to have certain values and skills. Mark Devlin, Chief Operating Officer for Unicef UK, told TotalJobs that working for a charity is about working for a bigger vision, own individuals goals and ambitions. That said, before getting accepted, applicants must first have ambition and at least know what they are involving themselves into. In general, employer of charity organisation would want to see the following skills in their candidates: 

  • Have great flexibility and innovation 
  • Able to multitasks 
  • Have excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills 
  • Have organisation skills 
  • Can work in a team and individually
  • Have a lively and positive personality (cheerful) 
  • Ready to gain experiences and solve challenges 

Degree requirements 

There are some roles in charity jobs that you can apply, including charity fundraisers, volunteer coordinator, accounting, IT, HR, marketing, and charity officer. Some of these jobs (charity fundraiser, volunteer coordinator, and charity officer) do not need specific degrees. However, if you apply for a more specific job role, you might require a specific undergraduate qualification in the specified subject. 

If you want to improve your qualification, you can always enrol to the following subjects: 

  • Business studies
  • Community and development studies 
  • Social policy and administration studies 
  • Sociology studies 
  • Voluntary sector management courses 
  • Youth work courses 

How much will you earn? 

As mentioned earlier, working in a charity organisation would not give you much money, however, it does not mean that you will work for free. Even for an unpaid volunteer, you can get some perks too such as getting living costs or pocket money by registering in an overseas volunteer program. Larger charities in particular often offer more generous salaries to attract the best candidates. Based on TotalJobs review, the average salary can reach up to £27,500 with the range between £21,000 to £37,500 annually. There are also some charities that pay hourly. 

Read also: Why & Some Tips for Volunteering Abroad

Why & Some Tips for Volunteering Abroad

Research found that volunteering can extend people’s lives because humans are hard-wired for the social connections they make when volunteering. Eye contact and smile during a volunteer job releases oxytocin, a hormone that helps handle stress better. Being a volunteer,  we can rediscover the joy of work while bringing out the positive energy within. 

Doing volunteer work right after graduation and/or during your job search can differentiate you from the large pool of candidates. Angela Copeland, the founder and head marketing at Copeland Marketing Services, said that volunteer experience can be beneficial in your resume or cover letter. They could play as additional information about your personal interest outside of work and allow potential employers to get a better sense of who you are as a person. 

Copeland advised that if you are in the early stage of your career, you can list leadership experience or other experiences that help you reach professionalism. Thus, it is always a good idea to join that volunteer program while you are still in university, after graduation, or during your job search. 

See also: Who Should be Your Professional Reference? 

Why volunteering abroad?

While there are so many volunteering opportunities around you, joining one abroad will give a huge plus to you, both personally and professionally. Not only can you connect with more diverse individuals, volunteering abroad can also broaden your view about the world.  

Volunteering abroad can also help you gain interesting experiences you could tell to a recruiter or the world. You can also become a big part of a community that actually helps better individuals’ life, make real differences, go see the world and gain new perspectives that might change your life. 

How to start? 

If you are ready to share your passion to the world by helping those in need, here are ways to start. 

  • Make sure you choose a volunteer abroad program of your interest 

There are a lot of volunteer programs, from environmental to human-focused programs. Make sure you involve yourself in the program that meets your passion and interest. By choosing the volunteer program you are passionate about, you are more likely to improve yourself personally and professionally. 

  • Register to volunteer abroad program 

Across the internet, there are many opportunities for individuals to volunteer abroad. Make sure you pick trustable organisations to help you access and gain visas for your arrival. You should also conduct research on the organisation or charity you are planning to join. Here are three trustable volunteer organisations you can try: UN Volunteer program, Volunteer World program, and UNICEF volunteer program

  • Familiarise yourself with the destination country 

Next step is to equip yourself with the needs and requirements to enter the destination country for a volunteer program you registered. Make sure to gain this information: entry requirements, local laws, and customs. Foreign Travel Advice can help you with the information you need. You can also connect with local people of your destination country and/or consult with the volunteer organisation you registered. 

Last but not least, go get the experience and have fun!

Read also: 3 Valuable Things TO DO When You are Unemployed That Can Make Your Life Better

Who Should be Your Professional Reference? 

Bad hires can cost a company a fortune. That’s why recruiters are being more careful when it comes to bringing in new talents to the team. In their approach to hire the most suitable candidates, recruiters will conduct background check and screening by asking a professional reference to potential candidates.

What is a professional reference? 

Professional reference, also referred to as a job reference, is someone who could provide an insight into your earlier working experiences. As fresh grads or students who are currently looking for a job, their professional reference can be lecturer, teacher, or professor. For those who have working experiences, professional reference can be former colleagues and/or supervisors who can attest to one’s skills and qualifications. 

See also: Are You a Boring Job Applicant? 

Why does an employer want a professional reference? 

When an employer sees you as a prospective hire, more often than not, they will ask for you to provide one or two job references in order to reaffirm all information you put on your resume or say during an interview regarding your skills, experiences, and suitability for the position you applied. 

Job reference also helps employers confirm that candidates are honest in their job applications and interview responses. Besides, references are also vital opportunities for employers to get a sense of candidates’ performance on the job and personal qualities. 

Who should you ask to be your job reference? 

For fresh job seekers a.k.a graduates with no working experience, finding the right job reference can be tricky. As graduates, however, it is likely that you are applying for an entry-level position, so recruiters will understand that you might not be able to provide professional references. Recruiter might as well not consider your lack of professional reference as a problem. 

Nevertheless, you might still need to provide job references in case your recruiter will ask you for that, advised Jessica Hernandez, the president and CEO of Great Resume Fast. In many cases, college grads will have their supervisors from internships or work-study jobs as a reference. Even if your past internship does not really align with your current job application, former supervisors could still provide insights into your character, dedication, and overall attitude. 

So what if you are a fresh grad who has no job experience, even an internship? In this case, Hernandez advised that you should turn to your professors, coaches, or any authority figure who has knowledge of how you work hard, grow, and deal with people. Parents or relatives are not great choices here, added Hernandez, because they might give biased answers to recruiters. 

Who is the most effective job reference? 

To provide the best professional reference, you should consider these points. These considerations will help you choose the most effective reference you can ever have. 

  • Do you have the list of who your job references are? 
  • If yes, choose the most recent person you work with/collaborate with. If you have graduated from university 2 years ago and ask for your professor reference, it is likely that your professor could not give updated information about you. 
  • If no, you might want to consider a colleague you are collaborating with, be it a volunteer colleague, project partner, or stranger you’ve been working with for some time. 
  • Consider their relevance to your job and/or their position/seniority. For example, if you are applying for a junior accountant and you have two reference choices who would be able to provide high praise. Refer to one who either has knowledge of an accountant or who is the most senior.
  • Lastly, ask your reference politely and tell them that you have included them in your resume/job search. To deliver your intention, it is always better via face-to-face communication. However, if you think your reference is a highly busy person, sending a chat or email first could be the best move. Always cite your intention earlier to avoid misunderstanding. 

Read also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview 

Are You a Boring Job Applicant? 

Wake up, have breakfast, open a laptop, find a job in an online job platform, click apply, eat lunch, go out, go home, maybe open social media for a while, sleep, REPEAT. You don’t even bother to rewrite your job resume for a different job application and, probably, you use a simple bullet writing technique in your resume. If this sounds pretty much like you, please stop. Why? Because employers are not willing to hire such sluggish, effortless job seekers. 

Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, said in an interview that the least a job seeker can do is to stop being “boring”. She explained that recruiters are often bored because people play safe. They (job seekers) commodify themselves into just a bullet-point list of skills and experience. This might look neat but it is one of the most boring things to read. 

See also: Most Important Networking Tips for Jobseekers

Here are other reasons why you can be a boring job applicant. You better avoid it! 

You do nothing besides job search 

It is understandable that you want to get a job as soon as possible, but sitting in front of your computer or smartphone all day searching for a job is a big no-no. Why? During an interview, you are going to be asked about your experience. While you can demonstrate that you are active leaders during your university, what will you answer when a recruiter asks, “What do you do in the meantime of your job search”? 

Therefore, go out. Talk to real people. Expand your circle and connection. Having meaningful activities during a job search can help you have an interesting discussion during your interview session which might catch recruiter’s attention and intention of hiring you. 

You focus too much on writing a boring resume

Crafting an interesting resume is important, especially if you know that the company you are applying to uses Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Resume with the right format and keywords will do the job. However, your resume can only contain your work experience, education, skills, or achievements – which tells so little about you, as a person. 

In this case, Lannert advised you to focus on the cover letter and not resume. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing someone who takes a chance to be incredibly human in cover letter or an outreach, to put themselves forward, she added. This will definitely catch recruiter’s attention as companies today need more empathetic and down-to-earth people. 

Tips: Use your own language. Use words that are not stiff or business jargon-y, especially words you usually find in the google site template. 

You do not go the extra mile 

Your cover letter and resume are top-notch so you are offered a job interview. You prepare for the interview and write some questions you want to ask a recruiter. However, during the interview, you are too focused on “selling” and “telling”. 

Telling and selling your skills are good, but showing them is extraordinary. Seeing your effort in preparing a presentation of how valuable your skills are or how great your ideas will improve the company’s business will be more appreciated. Besides, people are more convinced when you show them, instead of just telling them. 

Read also: 15 Minutes Before Interview : Absolutely Important For Job seekers!

Why and How to Make Industry Transition? 

Ameera loves reading and feels fortunate to have a job that actually engaged her interest. She works as a librarian in her town’s public library. She is passionate about doing her job as it allows her to do what she loves while contributing to the community by sharing and teaching people who visit the library.

However, over the last few years, the funding to the library has decreased, leading to its inability to afford new reading materials for readers. Ameera finds the job no longer makes her feel content because everything changes since the funding was cut. Then, she starts wondering if there is an opportunity to do similar works somewhere else, where resources are not so constrained. After thinking it over, Ameera decides to make an industry transition. 

What is and why industry transition? 

Industry transition, or industry switch, refers to going from your current industry to a new one. Industry transition is different from a career change that often requires you to gain new skills and adapt to a completely new environment. When you do an industry change, you will gain new skillsets and experience working in a new environment. 

Oftentimes, individuals will make industry transition to look for a new challenge that still requires their current skillset. Industry change can also be a perfect step to grow professionally as you are able to strengthen your current skills so you can hone your expertise. Industry change is also good to help keep your job satisfaction. 

See also: 10+ List of Jobs for Graduates with English Degree 

So are you interested in doing industry transition? If yes, you should know that the road to the transition is not easy. Albeit it is less dramatic than a career change, you still need a lot of to-dos. Here are NTUC tricks to help you achieve a successful industry transition. 

Trick 1 – Know your why(s) 

Look within yourself why you need to make an industry switch. Is it because your department has declined? Is it because you want to gain more experience by collaborating with a new team? Is it because your target industry has better career prospects? When you understand your why(s), you can better identify which industry is the best for you to grow professionally, and whether you really need the switch or not. Your reasons will also help you stay motivated throughout the change. 

Trick 2 – Research the target industry 

After that, learn about the industry you want to transition into. Does the industry have what you need and want? Does the industry suit your work style? Does the industry align with your long-term career goals? 

You can go to the industry website and search for skill framework. Or, you might ask the industry’s head to provide you with the framework. The skill framework can give you information on sectors, employment landscape, workforce profiles, career pathways, wage trends, desired skillset, and a list of training programmes. 

Trick 3 – Expand your network 

A transition is never easy, especially if this is your first industry transition. Thus, it is best for you to get a person who can guide you and know the in and out of an industry transition. Attending network events could help you meet industry insiders. When you have successfully built a relationship with the target industry insiders, it will be easier for you to find out what kind of projects they are working on, skills needed for the job, current challenges that are being faced in the industry, the lingo they use, and even hidden job opportunities. All of these can ensure your success when you decide to change between your current industry to another. 

Trick 4 – Maximise courses and support programmes available online or from current employer 

Generally, industry change will require you to gain up-to-date skills that align with the target industry. Thus, keep improving, upskilling, and attending classes or courses to gain your credibility. If possible, seek an opportunity which gives certification as it can play as a crucial proof for recruiters or hiring managers when you make the transition. 

Read also: 6 High Paying Jobs that Allow You to Work from Home

The Most Common Reasons Why Recruiters Don't Call You After a Job Application

“Hey Alex, how’s your job application? Do you get an interview offer?” 

‘Nah, it has been a week and there is no call from the company. I feel bad about this. I really want to get into that company.’

__

For many of us, getting no call after submitting a job application feels so much worse than a breakup. You might spend days or weeks wondering why your dream employer does not reach back to you. You already have a professionally crafted resume and still no response. Waiting is painful, so here you go, the most common reasons why recruiters do not call you back. 

You are not qualified for the job 

The most simple reason for not getting a call back from a recruiter is that you are not qualified enough for the position you are applying. It can be that skills written in your resume are not enough. This is especially true if you are applying for a senior position. 

For example, you are applying for a “key accounts manager” with a past work history as an accountant. You also cited that you are a graduate with marketing experience. Albeit it sounds great for you, don’t expect a call back from the recruiter. Why? Because “key account manager” is a senior position that requires a lot of relevant skills and experiences.   

The job ad does not hire external candidates  

Job openings on some platforms that you know are probably there only for formality. This is the reason why recruiter does not call you after your application. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, an executive resume writer at Career Trend, said that employers often have policies that require them to post job openings to the public. In reality, there is not effectively a position available because that job openings will be filled by internal employees. 

You apply to an old job ad

One of the most common mistake job seekers does is that they do not review the job posting date before applying. Some employers do not take down their job postings after being posted. The reason is simple because employers have posted many job ads and do not remember where their old job postings are. So, it is advisable for job seekers to see job ads date before applying. 

ATS does not recognise you 

Nowadays, hiring managers rely on robot ATS (application tracking system) to easily shortlist candidate’s resumes and CVs. And ATS is tricky for job seekers. You need to perfectly write your resume in order to get shortlisted by the machine. You need to mind your keywords richness and resume format. Read here for tips to pass this robot ATS. 

Unprofessionalism in your resume 

Another common thing recruiter prefers to hold the call is that you do not write your resume professionally. To illustrate, you are in need of a job and you apply for several jobs with the same resume. You forgot to change the employer’s name and you do not proofread your resume. What do you think recruiter’s think when they see this? There are 2 possibilities. First, recruiters might think that you are not serious applying. Second, recruiters might disqualify you for your fatal mistake like spelling wrong company name. 

That said, it is always good to write some resumes for different application, especially if you are applying for different roles. Second, always proofread your resume and ask someone to proofread it after you. 

Multiple applications 

You have applied to X company in the last three months but they did not hire you. X company puts a job opening again in a different role. Because you really want to work for the company, you apply for the second time. This time you are extra careful with your resume as to not make a mistake. However, they do not even call you for your second application. Why is that? 

The reason is your interview feedback from past applications is likely to be considered to determine whether you should be contacted or not. If you are flooding the same company with your resume, the employer will think that you are not serious in a specific role, leading to disqualification for your application. 

Changing of the hiring plan 

In the game of business, everything changes pretty fast. Projects get rebooted. Teams get cut. Or, recruitment gets postponed for the later date. When this happens and you apply from a recruitment agency, they might tell you about the cancellation. But oftentimes, an employer does not inform this to job applicants. 

To conclude, it is always better to move on after a week without a call from a recruiter. There might be many reasons and you cannot know which exactly why the employer you are applying doesn’t call you back. Another way, you can call the recruiter for clarification. Or, if you know that the company uses ATS, you better understand how their ATS works and create better resumes for the next application. 

Read also: How to Discuss a Gap Year in an Interview

4 Important Steps TO DO When Building Business Right After Graduation

There are many young generations who own small businesses today. In fact, CGK reported that 30 percent of millennials have already started their own small business and 49 percent others have plans to start a business within 3 years. 

Businesses owned by young generation, however, are likely to not stay longer than businesses built by middle-aged individuals. The most common reasons why younger generations often fail is due to a lack of confidence. According to Financial Times report, millennials do suffer from a lack of confidence, thus, making it no easy for building a business. This also explains why overcoming fear of failure tops the list of young-generation-founder-to-be. 

Other reasons for the failures are, said Jason Albanese, young generations often have no financial resources or don’t know how to get the funding. 42 percent of them cited that lack of money as the primary obstacle to starting their own startup. Lack of experience is also top of the list that contributes to business failure in young generations. 

See also: 3 Valuable Things TO DO When You are Unemployed That Can Make Your Life Better

If you are among those young individuals who are keen to start a business right after graduation but facing above hurdles, make sure to read these useful tips.   

Step #1 Know what business you are building 

There are various types of entrepreneurship and business. The most common types of business are as follows: 

  • service – it focuses on providing services to customers than giving tangible products.  
  • merchandising – it is a buy and sell business. For example, you buy products at wholesale price then sell them as is at retail price. 
  • manufacturing - a business that focuses on turning raw materials to final products, then you sell them. 
  • hybrid - business like restaurants and hospitality fall into this category. 

Meanwhile, there are 9 common types of entrepreneurship, including: 

  • big business entrepreneur aims to make profitable and new revenue every day. 
  • social entrepreneur with the ultimate goal to improve the environment and to make the world a better place to stay. 
  • buyable business entrepreneur aims to create products or something new with the aim to sell the business to a bigger tech company. 
  • scalable startup entrepreneur is also called tech startups as your goal is to establish a company that obtains financing from inventors.  
  • SME entrepreneur is the idea of gaining revenue by gathering potential people to join the startup. 
  • joint entrepreneur is when you own a profit from private and government businesses.
  • private entrepreneur is an individual who sets up a business enterprise alone. 
  • state entrepreneur means building a business in government of the public sector for public welfare. 
  • lifestyle entrepreneur is hobbyists who work on their real passion and generate money from in. 

Each type focus on different things. You might able to pursue all of them but the rate of failure is higher as you might not be able to focus on scaling one business. Therefore, it is advisable to focus on one type first, then, make is scalable and profitable. When you have succeeded in one business, you can consider running other businesses. But always remember that the more you own a business, the riskier it is for you. 

Step #2 Launching your business 

After you know your true business niche, it is time for you to go get some funding. Before that, you should launch your business to prove and showcase to investors that your business is promising. In launching your business you should have due diligence and strong motivation. Often times, entrepreneurs are associated with lonely feeling because they should leave everything behind to pursue their career. While this can be true, you can have some tricks to make the loneliness fun, such as making a documentary video, gathering with like-minded people, and getting in touch with nature. 

Launching your business also need plan and ideas to make the business works, thus, create your plan based on the business niche you are building. Recruit a friend or family to help you if you need to. You might also need to use your current finance to back-up your business before getting in touch with investors. Join a competition to know the market value about your business. Once you are able to showcase how valuable your business is, you can start presenting it to investors to get a fund to scale your business. 

Step #3 Focus on clients 

Project Manager advised that customer development is more than essential to your business plan – without loyal customers, your business might no longer run. So, of course, after you get the step 1 and 2 done, make sure to focus on your clients, especially in your early business. The manual to successful customer developments are, as follows: 

  • There are no facts inside the building, so go outside – speak to real people and prospective customers. 
  • Pair customer development with agile development 
  • Failure is an integral part of the search 
  • Make continuous iterations and pivots 
  • No business plan survives first contact with customers, so use a business model canvas to ease your job
  • Design experiments and test to validate your hypothesis 
  • Agree on market type, it changes everything. 
  • Startup metrics differ from those in existing companies 
  • Ensure fast decision-making, cycle time, speed and tempo. Customer’s today demand more speed and transparency. 
  • Preserve all cash until needed, then spend
  • Communicate and share learning 
  • Customer development success begins with buy-in
  • Have passion, it is all about passion. 

Step #4 Don’t forget your network 

Last but not least, you should always remember what you learn and implement what you are learning. No knowledge can go into waste. You can also target all those friends you have back in college to be your first customer. All the connection you have is valuable in your approach to success. 

Read also: Blogging Checklist: Things You Need to Know for Creating a Successful Business Blog

6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview 

Obviously, every job seeker’s ultimate goal is to land a job as soon as possible. Before getting employed, however, you will have to go through some stages, from resume screening to interview meetings to finally job contract signing. All the process could be daunting and tricky from time to time, especially when you come unprepared.

Therefore, be mindful when writing your resume and do your homework before coming to the job interview. What else to pay attention to? In this article, we share 6 phrases you need to avoid during a job search and interview. These phrases could downgrade your credibility as a potential candidate. Check it out!

1. Dear Sir/Madam

What’s wrong with this phrase? While this conventional opening phrase has always been widely used that it seems normal, the phrase might not be suitable to use especially when applying for a startup company. A startup company is a place where most of its workers are millennials and like a personal touch. Therefore, saying dear sir or madame just does not sound right. 

What to say instead? In addressing a person, it is better to say “Dear (founder’s name/recruiter’s name/startup name team)”. Or, to make it sound more personal, you can say Hello (startup name) team. 

2. This is a great opportunity for me or I have a great interest in this role

You would not consider applying for a job in the company if the role is not your interest or the opportunity does not align with your own needs. Thus, when the recruiter asks you why they should hire you, try to find another way to express your reasons. 

What to say instead? There is a better way to answer instead of just repeating the “great opportunity” which is “Here is why I am prepared for this role…” or “I am always prepared to be in this role with (demonstrate your achievement or skills)”. 

See also: Passion versus Skill: What Comes First in a Job Search?

3. Well, my last employer was kind of okay  

Saying “Well..” with a low tone or high tone might indicate something bad or laziness. Sure, you do not want the recruiter to perceive you as a negative chatter. Saying “kind of okay” does not demonstrate well why you quit your job. A recruiter wants to hear from you why you choose another employment albeit the recruiter can do a background check and call your past employer. This is done to measure your honesty. 

What to say instead? Avoid the “well” words and explain how your employer treats you in the past. As best as possible, do not mention the negative reason about your former employer and in the last statement you can add, “I believe I am better suited to work in an organisation that has a strong commitment to mentoring executives as well as fostering career development and growth.” 

4. Perfectionism 

Whether being a perfectionist is your greatest asset or weakness, it is better to avoid the word all at once. Why? Because the word tells a little about you and it is overly rehearsed cliche, wrote The Muse

What to say instead? There are some alternative, however, if you are a real perfectionist. For example, you could say, “I am too attached sometimes with little details which can distract me from the ultimate goal” or “I feel myself always caught up in trivia that hinder me to achieve more.” 

5. I want better work-life balance 

Work-life balance has always become employees’ dream. However, this will be a not-so-good impression if you are only applying to get a better work-life balance. Barry Dexler, an expert interview coach, told CNBC that companies really do not care about your work-life balance. Albeit it sounds cynical, all employer truly wants to hear that you are ready to work and that you will work around the clock if needed. 

What to say instead? Instead of emphasising your thirst for work-life balance, you can tell the recruiter, “I am ready for the challenges ahead.” In addition, show previous experience or challenges that you have overcome to support your statement. 

6. I have no question, thank you 

The “thank you” part is acceptable but the “I have no question” part is a big no-no. Not having any questions for the interviewer basically says that you are not interested enough to learn. This indicates that you are not prepared enough for the interview. 

What to say instead? Do not tell that you have plenty of questions too. Just utter “Yes, I have a question/questions” and ask. What to ask? Click here to find out smart and insightful questions to ask at the end of your interview. 

Read also: Should You Bring Notes to An Interview? Dos and Don’ts

Job Fair & Online Job Search Tips for Students and Graduates 

When you squeeze through a crowded auditorium in a career expo or compete with hundreds of other applicants on an online job platform, you want to be the centre of attention. Yet, standing out “in a positive way” is no easy task. There are a lot of things you should prepare to ensure that your first impression can catch recruiters’ attention. Only then, you will be one step closer to the job you always dream of. 

See also: Maximize Your Job Search with Matrix Decision

Bob Westerkamp said that attending a job fair is one of the great ways to bolster your job-seeking efforts. Albeit doing online job hunting can also be a good choice when you have limited time, meeting recruiters in person will boost your chance of getting hired. Yet again, both job fairs and online job search are a real bear. Therefore, make sure to follow these tricks to help you stand out in the crowd. 

Tricks for a job fair

  • Make sure you pre-register online to avoid the lines. 
  • Find out who will be in the job fair. You can look for or ask the committee who will be attending prior to the event. Knowing the list helps you make sure that you can talk to top companies, especially if you have limited time. If you have more time, however, make sure to connect with everyone to leverage your circle. 
  • Research companies that will be your priority choices. Read every important information available to help you prepare for an on-spot interview. Generally, if a recruiter puts attention to you, they will do pre-interview right in the job fair. 
  • Dress as though you are going on a job interview. First impression is always important whether it is for a formal or casual event. It helps boost confidence too. 
  • Take multiple copies of your resume. Make sure that you have packed everything you need in a small bag the day or night before the job fair, such as paper, resume, cv, pen, brochure, question list, etc. DON’T give the recruiter impression that you are unprofessional by forgetting something. 
  • Arrive early to get the complete list of jobs that recruiters are offering. Arriving early can also give a good impression to recruiters that you are a punctual individual. 

Tricks for an online job search 

  • Prepare your resume for the ATS. Different from offline job search, in online job search, you should put relevant keywords to your resume so the ATS machine can detect you. Read more for a quick start to begin your resume crafting. 
  • Get your social media ready. According to a Career Builder survey, over 70 percent of employers are snooping around social media platforms before inviting you for an interview. Employers will also consider your social media behaviour before making hiring decisions. Those who behave spitefully (posting harsh content or comments) will usually be disqualified from future opening. Read more for social media tips and tricks for job seekers. 
  • Secure your privacy. Set up a separate email account that will be used solely for professional purposes with proper name and address – not the hotshareen77@blabla.com or coolchick@hotmail.com. Talentvis suggested that you should be smart when making such email accounts, especially if your name is listed as the most familiar names and surname ever. A simple trick if your name is already taken, you can combine your name with your profession or degree – or you can change the email domain. 
  • Make sure your employer does not stumble onto your resume if you are still in employment because it will result in chaos into your current job, hence, use the blocking feature many sites have to restrict access. 

Read also: The Dos and Don’ts in Job Searching When You Are Still Employed