Nail the Interview

Get the Interview

By Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth
Program Director, Government Contracts and Acquisition at American Public University

** This article originally appeared on the blog ****

If your resume looks the same for each job application, stop it.

Make sure you research each job you apply for and rewrite your resume and cover letter for each job after a thorough study of the company or organization’s job site. This approach increases your chances of getting and interview, the first step in landing the job.

Developing the Custom Resume
Spend time at the employer website. Study the mission and goals and understand where the company is headed. Re-write your resume and cover letter using the same words that are part of the job posting and the organizations website. Make sure the words you use reflect the many talents you could bring to the job.

Will, a person I know, has had four job interviews where the companies paid him to fly to the interview. He is not special. He has a college degree. He was laid off four times from the four banks he worked for. He got nowhere for six months until he tried this process.

For each job you apply for, there are 100s or 1000s of others applying. Why should anyone want to talk to you? They do not have to hire you or me or anyone who has a great job experience record, great awards, and great education.

It is a game of matching what you can do to that company, but in an exacting and time consuming manner.  Will sent out 12 resumes in 2012 using this method. He got 14 job interviews.

His approach is to be laser-focused on every aspect of the company he is applying to. He drills down to understand the organization and reflects that knowledge on the resume he develops. It is really hard work. But it really pays off.

Convince the Organization that they Need You
I recently had my granddaughter do this. She was tired of her McDonald’s job. She wants to be a lawyer. She said she has no skills, experiences other than McDonalds, and does no volunteer work or after school stuff. We sat down together over the website of a law firm nearby her house

She studied the site. She studied the cases they represented. She wrote a letter to one of the lawyers.

She explained how she had seen their website, had been following one of their cases, was interested in being a lawyer, and would like to be in a position of an intern or some front or back office worker in his law firm. The lawyer, Steve, called her up and set up an interview. We bought her a professional looking suit for the meeting.

[Related: Strategies for Preparing for a Job Interview]

He created a job for her. She has now been there a month. She is getting paid, too.

This method works. Try it.

About the Author: Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth is the program director for Government Contracts and Acquisition at American Public University (APU). He is the former program director of Reverse Logistics Management and Transportation and Logistics Management. Prior to joining APU, Dr. Hedgepeth was a tenured associate professor of Logistics and chair of the Logistics Department at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His book, RFID Metrics, was published in 2007 by CRC Press and is in revision.
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