This is the final part of a five-part blog series on tailoring your cover letter and resume to any position so you will get noticed. A fictional position is used throughout the series to help you apply these tips. This part is dedicated to following application instructions. If you haven’t already, start the process off right with part one of this blog series!
By Bock Szymkowicz, Career Development Specialist
Now that you have the resume and cover letter set, all you need to do is apply for the position. While this seems easy enough, failing to properly review the job posting and its requirements can lead to wasted effort.
Many applicants may get to an interview but then find out they don’t qualify because they didn’t read that a driver’s license was required. Avoid these nightmare scenarios by using the techniques below.
- Review Minimum Requirements: These can include a certain education level, driver’s license, or security clearance. Sometimes they’re squeezed in the wall of text in some the job descriptions, so make sure to read it thoroughly. You don’t want to finish working on your application and then find out you don’t qualify!
- Note Specific Requests: Job postings will often give specific instructions for the application. YOU MUST FOLLOW THESE. If you do not, the recruiter will assume you cannot follow basic instructions and will immediately throw out your application. These requests may be to include your salary range, use a particular email subject line, or include certain documents, such as a reference letter.
Volunteer Coordinator Example
Let’s revisit the pretend Volunteer Coordinator posting one last time, this time focusing on specifics required for this particular position and the application guidelines. I have underlined them.
Company: Not Byte Back
Position Title: Volunteer Coordinator
Experience: 1-2 years administrative experience: clerical, data entry, and customer service
Skills: Organized, friendly phone demeanor, detail-oriented, and personable. Microsoft applications (Outlook, Word, and Excel) and experience with databases. Ability to handle multiple projects and deadlines. Driver’s License required.
- Collect and process NBI forms and international background checks for volunteers to be accepted upon receipt
- Ensure background check materials are complete. Follow up with volunteer applicants.
- Assist Associate Director with volunteer rescreening
- Schedule potential volunteers for volunteer training and manage training calendar
- Collaborate with Volunteer Care Coordinator and Intake Specialist to complete volunteer files in a timely manner
Application Guidelines: Please send a copy of your resume, cover letter, and three professional references to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title “Volunteer Coordinator.” Include your salary range in the cover letter.
So, before applying, I would need to ensure that I have one to two years of administrative experience and a driver’s license, otherwise I will not be accepted for the job.
Now, closely reviewing the job post, it’s noted that the cover letter needs to include your required salary range. So I would include a short paragraph before the closing paragraph in my cover letter stating my salary range. I would also mention that I have a valid driver’s license, as the position also requires that.
With both the cover letter and resume complete, we will then follow the application directions given in the description, otherwise all this effort will be for nothing. Take the resume, cover letter, three references, and send them to email@example.com and use the title “Volunteer Coordinator” in the subject line.
This step is arguably the most important in the job process. No matter how specifically I tailor my resume and cover letter, they will be thrown out if instructions are not followed.
But if you do meet the minimum requirements and follow the application guidelines, along with sending your tailored cover letter and resume, you will be head and shoulders above a majority of other applicants.
We hope you have found this series helpful and, if you have followed the instructions and steps to tailor your application, we know that you’ll get more callbacks for interviews! Happy job hunting! =)