Picture of Lisa Jordan smiling at cameraLisa Jordan, the Board Chair of the National Employment Network Association (NENA), shares tips on what you can do to make your job applications and resume stand out to hiring managers. Read our guest blog post and follow her tips to land a job interview!

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Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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Increase Your Chances for a Job Interview

Sep 18, 2017

Picture of Lisa Jordan smiling at the cameraBy Lisa Jordan, President of Human Solutions LLC, Buena Park, CA

In today's job market, landing a job interview almost always ties back to an employer's initial connection with your cover letter and resume. Paying attention to how you present yourself in your resume and cover letter may help you stand out as a qualified candidate. Consider these tips, from an employer's perspective:

Send a cover letter

Unless an employer asks you not to send one, include a cover letter. If it is requested, be sure to follow the instructions provided carefully. Many employers will use this as a way to screen out candidates based on their ability to follow directions. You can also use it as an additional marketing tool to highlight your talents and share why you're a great fit for the position. In my experience as an employer, a limited number of job seekers actually use a cover letter in this way, and it always stands out.

Customize your resume and cover letters

Using standard language in the cover letter and resume for each position you're applying for won't compete in today's job market. If you are applying for an office assistant position, for example, and submit a full-page resume on a completely different skillset, an employer may skip over you in favor of someone who highlighted the skills needed. While it takes extra time, customizing your cover letter and resume to each job position will help employers focus on the skills you have that they're looking for.

Use language that's comfortable for you

It often sounds and feels very awkward to the reader when the language used is too formal. Eventually, everything starts sounding the same – especially when an employer may be reading hundreds of cover letters. Conversational cover letters often stand out to employers, as they speak more to the important qualities that they're looking for and show them how you can meet the needs of the employer. This isn't a suggestion to write too informally or to use slang. It's an invitation to be yourself!

Check spelling and grammar

Sending in a resume and cover letter with spelling and grammar errors won't get you to the top of the interview list. In fact, with the number of job seekers applying for jobs, this may move you immediately to the bottom. Documents with spelling and grammar errors are routinely submitted to employers, so be sure to check and double-check!

Use your real name

Whatever email you decide to use as a contact, it should be one that doesn't reflect your favorite activities, hobbies, love interests, age, nickname, etc. An employer may misinterpret the meaning, even if it's very innocent in nature. An easy solution is to create an email for job search and use some variation of your name (e.g. JaneDoe@email.com). First impressions do matter, and your email counts!

About the guest blogger

Lisa Jordan is President of Human Solutions LLC, a national Employment Network with the Ticket to Work program. Lisa holds an M.S. degree in Rehabilitation Psychology and has been passionate about providing workforce development and disability-related services to government, community-based organizations, and businesses for over 20 years. Lisa is the Board Chair of the National Employment Network Association (NENA) and proudly served in the United States Navy during Operation Desert Storm.

About Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work.
The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit www.ssa.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.