WFMY News 2 - You need a job, so what's the first thing you do? Write a cover letter and resume, right? You pack it with big words and complicated sentences, but it turns out, you might be doing too much.
WFMY News 2's Tracey McCain spoke with career expert and author Bill Van Steenis about resumes, cover letters and interview techniques Thursday on the Good Morning Show.
Most of us put our whole life story in a cover letter and resume because we think that's what the employer wants; but it's not.
Van Steenis says he never looks at cover letters and most other company managers don't either. Here's why. "Let's say I put an ad out and you've got 50 resumes and on top of that you're going to do cover letters, no. I would put a very simple paragraph together responding to the ad. This is who I am and I'm responding to this position and then get into the meat of the resume," said Van Steenis.
Van Steenis says it simply takes too long to read all of that. "A resume and cover letter is not a chronology of your work experience, but rather a marketing tool," he said.
You should put enough information to make the employer invite you to come in for an interview, but not too much that they know everything about you. Steenis warns you should, "Never lie on your resume and never put anything on there you can't back up." And lastly, put the experience on your resume that is only relative to that job.
Van Steenis also gave expert advice on how to stay in demand.
"Successful people know it's not about them. It's about solving the company's problem. That's the only reason why they'd hire you," said Van Steenis.
He says the only reason a company would hire you is to add value to their company. It all boils down to these three things. Can you solve the problem? Are you confident enough to get the job done? And can you produce results? If you can prove you are the go-to person, all of a sudden you're in demand and you'll get hired time and time again. But Van Steenis says it doesn't stop there.
"Successful people understand that you never stop learning. You're always in school, you're always learning. And what companies are looking for today is someone with hands on experience."
Career Expert Bill Van Steenis is the author of In-Demand: How to Get Hired, Develop a Career and Always be Successful.