Anyone who knows me, knows that I love a good analogy. One of my favourite recruitment-based analogies is that preparing your job application should be like preparing your lure for fly fishing.
I’m no fisherman, but having fishing-obsessed family members and having seen enough episodes of “A River Somewhere”, there’s definitely a link between the art of preparing your lure and preparing your cover letter & resume.
An expert trout fisherman will not rock up to the river, chuck a net in and hope a trout jumps into it. Yet this is what I see time and time again with job applicants sending the same old cover letter and CV to the roles I advertise. It’s a disinterested, unfocussed and poor way to catch that elusive job. Quantity does not beat quality.
The best flies are specifically fashioned with hair, fur & feathers to catch a specific trout at a specific time – and you should take the same time to ‘fashion’ your resume to the role you are applying for and lure that elusive hiring manager .
Just a little but of care in fashioning your application can make a big difference. Here’s a few things to try:
- If the advertisement has the hiring manager’s name on it, use it in your cover letter! To see ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ when I’ve clearly stated my name on the ad is disappointing.
- Mimic the language used in the advertisement to that of your cover letter. If they’re looking for a Coordinator, make sure you mention that you coordinated, rather than organised.
- Look for specifics in the ad, such as the skills, job title, industry or location, and mention these. These are the hot items that the recruiter is looking for. And put them at the top! Don’t be too vague. If there’s a doubt, they’re more likely to leave you out.
- If you have a ‘Career Objective’ section at the top of your resume, make sure you tailor this to suit the company/role. If your objective is not aligned with the role/company, you’ll look as though you’re going for the wrong role.
Now to all of you avid fly fisherpeople out there, I know there’s a hole in my analogy – flies are supposed to fool the trout into thinking they’ve caught the real thing. This is true; however, if you’ve had to be untruthful to get the hiring manager to bite, he or she will find out sooner or later that you’re not the right person for the role.