… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Second Tier Candidates – Nowhere you want to be

When I start going through resumes for a new position, applicants tend to get separated into one of three groups: declined automatically, proceed with phone screen, or wait and see. You shouldn’t be falling into the decline automatically group, because you are not just applying for any old position whether you can do it or not, right? Oh, who am I kidding. Aside from that, though, your goal as a job seeker is not to be in the wait and see group.

The wait and see group is comprised of candidates who are not completely wrong for the position, but aren’t quite right either. I’m not necessarily talking about candidates who lack a couple of the qualifications. A great candidate that is lacking a couple things will more likely end up in the phone screen group than here. What I’m referring to are the candidates who seem to have the right background or skill sets, but something about them makes me hesitate. They have call center experience, but they’ve also had 3 different jobs in one year. Or they have an Associate’s degree in accounting, but they’ve been working at a bar since they graduated two years ago. Or their resume can hardly be called coherent.

Languishing in applicant limbo is not where you want to be. It means you are the second string, a “maybe”, and “maybe” pretty much always means no. This is where having a good resume and cover letter (if needed) can make all the difference in which group you end up in. I want to see resumes and cover letters that are professional, clear, position specific, and even explanatory of questionable job history. Admittedly, sometimes there is nothing you can do when there is a lot of competition out there and not enough jobs. There is one position with 76 applicants, and they are only going to meet with five people. But you want to do everything you can to be one of those five. So my suggestion to you is to make sure your resume and cover letters are not keeping you from getting past the first stage. Look online for advice, read books about it, seek professional help, whatever. Just make sure that your first impression is the best it could be, since it is the one that counts.

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