Any mistake, misstatement or misstep can be magnified when competing for a job at a time when 10 percent of American workers are unemployed, area-hiring experts said.
For starters, spell the employer’s name right -- a surprising 50 percent of applicants to Gundersen Lutheran don’t, said Mason Quackenbush, human resources senior consultant. An “o” rather than “e” at the end of Gundersen could cost you a job, he said.
Employers can afford to be picky in this economy. Dairyland Power Cooperative receives triple the number of qualified applicants today -- about 90 per job opening – compared with 2007, said Jodi Roesler, Dairyland’s employment coordinator.
They were among the human resource professionals and staff from major La Crosse area employers offering job hunt advice Tuesday night during a panel discussion at Western Technical College.
Some of the finer points for job seekers included: Be accurate: Mistakes are red flags to employers that you don’t pay attention to detail. Have someone proof-read your application, resume and cover letter. Be sure to completely fill out an online application, even if it repeats what’s on your resume, Quackenbush said. Tailor your cover letter and resume to each position, said Tracy Schams, human resource professional for Logistics Health Inc. Be articulate: Employers recommend the STAR technique for answering interview questions – situation, task, action, result. Detail positive and negative situations from your work history and how you worked through them. Be prepared: Don’t be afraid to ask what the dress code is, Roesler said. Research the corporation on the Internet so you can ask good questions about the position you are applying for, she said. Make an impression early: “I can usually tell within the first 30 seconds how the interview will go and if they will be the right candidate for the job,” said Cinda Vingers, manager of administrative services for Dairyland Power. Use good eye contact and a firm handshake, she advised. And don’t bring a partner or child to the interview, Quackenbush said. References: Include professional references; don’t make them all personal, Schams said. And make sure your references know they will be contacted, Roesler said. Be ready to demonstrate needed skills: Polish up on basic math and reading skills -- Dairyland Power tests all applicants, Roesler said. Trane expects to see indications you can work on a team, staff engineer Dave Foye said. Gundersen Lutheran and Logistics Health prefers applicants have past experience working in a corporate environment, said Schams and Quackenbush. Be persistent and patient: The position might have hundreds of other applicants. Don’t just submit a resume and cover letter and assume the work is done, Schams said. Ask for feedback: If the rejection letters keep coming, it’s OK to ask the company what you might do differently, Quackenbush said. Gundersen Lutheran recruiters will meet with people about how to better present themselves, he said.
Copyright (c) 2010, La Crosse Tribune, Wis/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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