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Utah Business

The nine commandments of finding a job

Pre-Covid-19 the unemployment rate in Utah was the lowest in the nation at 2.5 percent. In the last three months, Utah’s unemployment has ballooned to more than 9.7 percent. With more job seekers and fewer jobs available, the competition is more intense than any other time since our last economic recession in 2008.

Now more than ever it’s important to differentiate yourself, especially when you consider the following statistics:

∙      According to Glassdoor the average recruiter spends 6 seconds reviewing a resume.

∙      The Ladders increases that estimate to a full 7.4 seconds.

∙      According to Glassdoor on average, each individual job posting receives 250 resumes. Of these 250 resumes 4-6 will be interviewed and only one will get on offer.


As a tech recruiter in the heart of Silicon Slopes, I’m passionate about helping people find jobs. One of the biggest tragedies I see is the right person getting passed over for a job because their resume or interview scared a hiring manager away. 

I’ve found that most people think they know how to write a resume and participate in an interview. Executing on both of these is critical to successfully landing a new job. I’ve also found that writing a resume and interviewing for a job are skills that not everybody possesses. The good news is that these skills can be taught and learned. With that in mind, here are nine tips to help land the job you want. 

1.     Adapt your resume to each individual job you apply for. Make sure you have the skills the employer is looking for on your resume. Most recruiters or HR professionals typically perform a quick “Control F” to search your resume for keywords/skills. If the key skills they want aren’t in your resume, it will quickly be discarded.

2.     KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. Keep your resume short and to the point. An easy formatting tip is to make it read like a book. When candidates put things in the margins it’s distracting and begins to look too much like Facebook or YouTube ads. Avoid jargon words like “expert” or “advanced” as you list specific skills. 


3.     Be honest. Nothing kills your chances as fast as being caught in a lie. Be prepared to speak to everything you list on your resume. A recent CareerBuilder report estimated that 75 percent of employers have caught lies on resumes. Furthermore, a study by The Ladders indicated that 80.4 percent of resumes errors come from mistakes in former job experience descriptions. You don’t want to be included in any of these statistics.

4.     When you do secure an interview, dress professionally. If you know the company has a casual dress code, try to match that. If you’re not sure though, err on the side of caution and dress up.  Your appearance demonstrates how important the job is to you and how serious you’re approaching the opportunity. 

5.     This sounds basic, but be on time for an interview. There is no excuse for being late. It screams indifference and a lack of commitment. Prepare in advance and make sure you know where you’re going and what entrance you’re going in. I recommend arriving early and walking into the interview 8-12 minutes early so you can relax and compose your thoughts before the interview. Also, bring a copy of your resume in case the interviewer doesn’t have a copy on hand.

6.  Be prepared to answer common interview questions that typically trip people up. First, “Tell me about yourself.” In my experience, a large percentage of job candidates hurt themselves because they don’t know how to respond to this simple request. This question is your opportunity to make a sales pitch about who you are and why you’re the best candidate for the job. From the moment you walk through the door the hiring manager has started to judge whether you’re a fit or not. It doesn’t take long before they’re thinking one of two things; one, I like this candidate or two, let’s get through this as quickly as possible so we can move on.  The tell me about yourself question is a great opportunity to make a good first impression. Your response should be about 60-90 seconds and include relevant background information about your past experience, why you’re interested in the job, and how you can help the company achieve its goals and objectives.

7. Second, “Why are you interested in working here?” Clearly you want a job and to be paid, but this is a chance for you to shine and differentiate yourself from other candidates. I advise the people I work with to do their research on the company and if possible, the manager they’ll be interviewing with. Most managers and companies are proud of who they are and where they work. Be prepared to speak about that company, what they do and why you want to be a part of the company. Most companies have a website, and many have Instagram and Twitter feeds. Use these outlets to educate yourself and understand their business. Doing your homework like this will help you know why you want to work for the company.

8. Last, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Five years is a long time in work years now. The average job tenure is 4.6 years and millennials are even less, at just under 3 years (Department of Labor 2018). Company’s spend a lot of money investing in new employees and want to know that they’re going to get a return on their investment (ROI).  They want to see a commitment and have confidence that you’re not going to jump ship before they’ve achieved that ROI.

9.  Ask questions. Most interviews will end with an opportunity for you to ask questions. Take advantage of this. An interview is a two-way street. You’re being interviewed to see if you’re a fit and you’re also interviewing the company to determine if the company is a fit for your wants and needs. If you don’t ask questions it’s often interpreted that you don’t care or aren’t interested. Good questions to ask are, “What are the next steps in the hiring process?” And, “How do you measure success for this position?”

There are no guarantees when looking for a job. These nine tips are proven to help you survive the seven seconds recruiters spend looking at your resume while putting you in a prime position to maximize an interview and land the job. 

Adam is a lead recruiter at TEKsystems, a premier technology staffing and services company best known for their ability to help businesses implement their technology.

Comments (1)

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    Ricardo Leon

    Great article Adam! I always struggle with the “tell me about yourself” question. After reading this I think I have a few ideas of things I could say.

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