Steal the Show and Stand Out in your Job Search
How to Make Your Resume and Cover Letter Scream “I Got What You Need”
For many fashion industry job seekers, it is easy to find yourself frustrated when you apply for positions and tend to not get the response you want.
It is like you are standing in front of the doors of Vogue, unable to get through the crowd of times square. Your dream is so close to becoming a reality…but how do you make yourself stand out in the crowd? How can you steal the show?
The application process
It all starts here. You discover a position that not only suits your qualifications, but in essence it
the job of your dreams. To apply it is business protocol that your resume be accompanied by a cover letter. The reason being, your cover letter is your introduction. You must provide a compelling reason for the employer or recruiter to read on through to your resume.
You have approximately twenty-two seconds for your resume to grab the reader and guarantee you an interview. Your resume is a summary of your career highlights and history, but also needs to be your marketing material. To make sure your resume hits the mark.
Writing your cover letter
Make sure to personalize your cover letter. Cover letter templates are great for generating ideas on formatting etc. However, its use as a guide is as far as it should go. Take the time to start from scratch every time you write a cover letter as part of your application process. Make sure that you match your cover letter (format and font) with your resume for the consistency. This makes for the best presentation.
Research, Research and then a little more Research
Fully understand the position you are applying for. Highlight pertinent information and provide relevant data from your experience that may not be covered in your resume that directly relates to the position you are applying for. Research the company’s work philosophy or mission statement, as well as their recent financial data and use this information to correlate your experience.
Avoid using ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’
Go the extra mile and find out the person’s name, even if this means calling the company. There will be a few occasions where you will find no choice but to address the receiver in a generic form.
Do not make your cover letter a repeat of your resume
If your cover letter is exactly like your resume it makes it easy for the receiver to lose interest. Make this your opportunity to fill in the holes and better personify your experience.
Don’t sound like a robot
Remember that magazines are creative industries. Submitting a boring business formal letter does not show that you are a creative person. Always try to model your covering letter according to the magazine article. Write an interesting lead that will encourage the recruiter to read further.
Be brief while making a strong point
The individual reading your cover letter will scan, not study it. They will appreciate your ability to quickly identify what you can bring to the company/position. List your greatest attributes and what you can bring to the job.
Be positive and confident - You know you have what they need!
Let them know, without a doubt, that you will make a valuable contribution and will be a real asset to the company.
How and when to reach you
It is pertinent that you let them know how to reach you and that you are available. Make sure to include you phone number, email and address.
Make it clear that if you do not hear from them by a certain date you will take it upon yourself to follow up with a call or email to schedule an appointment.
Spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes are a major turn off for employers/recruiters.
Writing your resume
The days of mailing your resume have come and gone. It is even rare to find the option of emailing your resume. Today you will find that most companies require you to visit the career section of their website. In doing this, you are asked to submit your application through a computer program or job database. Though this might prove to be beneficial for employers as a way to process a large amount of applications, but this is not always beneficial to applicants. You can only imagine how easy it would be to get lost in the system. Do not let yourself fall to the wayside.
Research, Research and then a little more Research AGAIN
Employers are seeking someone who shows enthusiasm, and not just for fashion. Resumes that are directed to the needs and philosophy of the company, that convey exactly what it is about the company and/or position that appeals to the applicant, is what catches the eye. It is much more effective to send a very specific resume to five companies you really want to work for than 15 that you don’t really care about.
Many companies today use applicant-tracking systems. They follow a strict routine when scanning through each application. By looking for specific keywords, the computer is able to find matches directly linked to the position of interest. If those keywords are not included in your resume, there is a likely chance you will be over-looked. Be sure to list your keywords at the very end of your resume.
Do not put anything in your resume that could knock you out as a candidate
Leave off the “objective”; they tend to be too specific. Employers read resumes until they read something that doesn’t fit with the job posted, then it goes to the reject pile. Begin your resume with a summary of your qualifications. Give a brief overview of your skills in a few short sentences. Your resume should be concise and require no more than one page.
What have you accomplished over your career? All of your professional highlights must be quantifiable. The sort of items you list here (in bullet form) include:
- Increased sales by 38%
- Achieved “Employee of the Year” Award two years in a row
- Lowered scrap parts by 52%
- Developed program to shorten lead time by two weeks
List your work history chronologically with the most recent job first. Give the dates you worked for the company, the name of the company with their address, and your title.
You should list the name of the schools you attended and the degree you received. If you did not complete a degree, list the dates attended and the major emphasis of study. You can list your education first on your resume if you believe it is very important to the job for which you are applying. If it is not that important, or you think it could hurt your chances, list it in this section so the reader has time to get to know your other qualifications before reading your education.
List any professional organizations you belong to and your status in each. If you hold or have held a leadership position within an organization (Officer, Director, Board Member, etc.) make sure to include this in your list.
To Lie or not to Lie?
Is it ever okay to lie on your resume? Absolutely not! If you are not completely honest on your resume, the chance the employer will find out is very great. If you are honest and straight forward on your resume, it will impress the employer. If it does not, then you should move on to the next opportunity.