How to Get More Responses From Your Job Applications
Let’s be real, applying to jobs can be tedious. There are so many details and no matter how many you complete; every new application can feel as intimidating as the last. Beyond that, you’re sometimes competing with dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of other job seekers, so how do you stand out?
Fortunately, our founder Alex Hopkin recently did an Ask Us Anything to chat with some of our Paraplanner Portal members about this exact topic. Alex offered lots of details about our Simply Paraplanner job board, as well as insights from her experience with paraplanner resumes and interview tips to help you shine during the application process. Here are her top 3 tips to get you started.
1. CUSTOMIZE YOUR RESUME
If you’ve ever searched for advice on writing your resume, you’ve probably stumbled across the recommendation that you should adjust your resume for every job listing. And if you’re like most of us, you probably wondered if it was really necessary. After all, you’re a busy person, and the job application process is time-consuming enough as it is. It can be tempting to simply skip over this step. But in today’s job market, it’s more important than ever to customize your resume based on your desired role.
Recruiters sift through a ton of job applications every day and they’re just as busy as you are. To save time, they sort through resumes as quickly as possible—or sometimes, they use software called applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter the resumes for them. Having the right resume during this quick screening can mean the difference between having a recruiter spot your qualifications…and having them simply toss your resume into the shredder. Both the human recruiters and the ATS will search for specific keywords and phrases, signals that you’re really qualified for the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying to work with a firm that specializes in estate planning; having words like “estate planning” or “wealth management” somewhere on your resume can help show that you actually read the job listing, and that you have the relevant expertise.
Being mindful of what the recruiter or employer is looking for and customizing your resume will help to showcase your skillset and potential value.
2. BE CONSISTENT & GENUINE
“Just be yourself”. It’s good advice for a reason. Seems reasonable and natural, right? However, just being yourself in an interview is sometime easier said than done. When applying and interviewing for a job, you are filled with different emotions. You’re excited, nervous and want to make a great lasting impression. You want to prove that you’re worthy of the job; that they should hire you. Unfortunately, this can get in the way of being your authentic self. A lot of people try to over-exaggerate who they are during the application process. Trying to be someone you’re not can come across as disingenuous at times, and it’s not the best way to start things off on the right foot if you’re trying to work with an advisor or company for the long term.
Instead, just try to be your authentic self. In your cover letter and interview, you should tell decision makers why you’re genuinely interested in the job posting. Share your story: what brought you to this company or advisor? What do you like about them or the clients they work with? Why did you decide to become a paraplanner in the first place? Showing them a little personality and authentic interest can go a long way in helping you stand out from the crowd.
As you get further into the application process and hopefully get hired, don’t forget to be consistent. There’s no better way to start off a new job than by outlining exactly what you can do as soon as you walk through the doors—and then delivering. You’ve already examined the job listing for every little detail, figuring out the employer’s key requirements to tailor your resume. Now it’s time to make it clear that you’re capable of being consistently accurate and productive in your role by being your true self.
3. BE CONFIDENT
This is hands down the biggest tip Alex shared—but it’s not always easy to do. Many of our paraplanners in the Portal or the Facebook group are there because they don’t have a ton of experience as a paraplanner yet, or because they’re hoping to sharpen their skills and gain the knowledge they need to advance their career. What’s more, sometimes we approach a job application while worrying that we may not have all the skills we need, or that we aren’t a 100% fit for the role. If this sounds like you, don‘t share this worry with any of the decision makers during the process. When you highlight your own reservations, you’ll make the employer uncertain as well—even if they wouldn’t have considered you to be anything less than a qualified candidate before.
Be confident in the skills, knowledge, and expertise you already have. The only way an employer will see that you have the potential to grow and shine within their firm is to broadcast confidence. If you’ve come this far in the job application process, chances are you have the ability to complete some tasks. Focus on these skills and show that you are capable and willing to learn things you are not as familiar with; there is always time to learn and grow once in a role.
Using Alex’s tips will help you stand out from the crowd—increasing your chances of getting to the interview phase and even landing the role! If you’d like to hear the rest of her Ask Us Anything, or if you’re interested in getting similar tips and tricks from our team, sign up for the Paraplanner Portal!