How to get through the first stage of the job interview process

CloudMade is hiring. We’re looking for Community Ambassadors, Product Managers and a Senior Director of Developer Outreach to join our growing team. The current job market favours employers – there are a lot of highly qualified people looking for work. So how can you make sure that your CV gets in front of the right person and you get your dream job? Here are five tips that will help you get through the first stage of an interview process and get a first interview at your future employer.

Professional

Around 10% of the CVs and applications I receive have spelling, grammar or formatting errors in them. No matter what role you are applying for, obvious errors like this are un-professional. The problem is not that you can’t spell. It’s that you have not taken the time or been resourceful enough to make sure that your work is produced to a professional standard. I consider a candidate’s CV to be their first assignment. If they don’t deliver a professional CV, they aren’t going to deliver professional work as an employee. Ask your friends and family to read over your CV and covering letter for you – a fresh set of eyes often spots unseen errors.

Pre-Emptive

Make the hiring manager’s life easy for them. If the job notice asks for CV as a PDF, send a PDF. Give your CV a sensible file name, like joe_blogs_cloudmade_cv.pdf and not jb_cm_cv.pdf. As an employee you wouldn’t want to make your manager’s life difficult, so don’t do it as a candidate.

Personal

Address the hiring manager and the company personally. “Dear Sir or Madam” is just lazy. Find out who the hiring manager is. If the job notice does not have this information, call the hiring manager’s PA or the company secretary and find out. Make contact with the hiring manager on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter.

Personalize

Find out what the company you are applying to does and what they want from the position. If you are applying for a position as a Developer Evangelist and your cover letter and CV do not mention developer evangelism activities you are not going to get through the first round.

Persistent

If you really, really believe you are right for the job, don’t give up. Maybe your CV or cover letter were not quite right. You’ll never know unless you keep on trying.

Consider your job application your first piece of work for your prospective employer. Really try to think about what they want to see in a candidate and make sure your CV and covering letter sells your unique qualities to your now employer.

The news is full of stories about lay-offs and job cuts – but lots of companies are still hiring. You have to compete with more candidates, so follow these tips and give yourself the edge.

April 4th, 2009 - Posted by Nick Black in jobs |