As one of the fastest-growing resume and career coaching firms, we receive hundreds of questions each week from job candidates just like you!
While we can’t list every question that has ever been asked, we did ask our team to narrow down the top 10 most common questions asked this past month.
1. Do I need to include a cover letter every time?
The short answer is, it depends. In general, there are three scenarios candidates face when it to cover letters:
- The job posting asks for a cover letter. In this case, YES, you absolutely need to include a cover letter. If you don’t, chances are your submission will be ignored and/or deleted.
- The job posting does not specifically ask for a cover letter. This is the most common scenario and it’s really up to you if you want to include a cover letter or not. If you have one already written, and it will add value to your job application, then go ahead and send it. But you will not be penalized if you choose not to include one.
- The job posting specifically asks for the resume. This is starting to become more of a trend, especially with new companies. In this case, sending a cover letter will most likely be ignored and could potentially hurt your chances.
The best advice we can give is to always follow the instructions listed on the job posting.
2. Should I apply through a recruiter or directly to the company?
Similar to the previous question, this one depends on the situation. If the job is advertised through a recruiter, then it is strongly suggested you apply through the recruiter. If a company is using a recruiter to handle a job posting then respect their decision and go through the recruiter.
3. Will using LinkedIn’s quick apply feature hurt your chances?
When a job posting has the ”quick apply” option available, it is because the company opted to use that feature, so using it will not hurt your chances. Here are some things to keep in mind when using the quick apply feature:
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is absolutely on point when it comes to relevant skills and experience.
- Make sure you have an up-to-date resume already uploaded to LinkedIn, and that it matches the job posting.
- Be selective when using the quick apply feature.
We have seen candidates get carried away and apply to dozens of jobs in a matter of minutes. The end up applying for jobs where they may lack experience or may not be a great fit for. Remember, you always have the option of reaching out to the hiring manager directly and sending in your resume the “old-fashioned” way – email.
4. Should I use the same resume and cover letter to apply for various jobs?
As long as your resume is up to date, well written AND you are applying to SIMILAR roles, then using the same resume for multiple jobs should not be an issue. For example, if you are a customer support representative and you are interested in applying for the same type of roles only, then using the same resume for multiple (similar) roles should not be an issue.
However, if you are a customer support representative, but you would like to explore other roles such as marketing coordinator in ADDITION to a customer support role, then you will need to create a separate resume that focuses your skills and expertise on the marketing coordinate role.
5. Should I apply for multiple positions at the same company?
We get asked this question a lot. Especially from candidates that have the ability to work in several different roles, and are interested in working for larger companies. In general, there shouldn’t be a problem with this approach. Many companies encourage applicants that may not have been a great fit for one role to review and apply for other roles at the company.
6. Is there a difference between American and Canadian resume templates?
Other than ensuring your resume and cover letter is written in the correct spelling (American English versus British English) then there are no major differences between the two countries when it comes to resume formats or content.
7. How do you avoid discrimination during a job search?
We often receive this question from new immigrants looking to enter the US and Canadian job market, but it is also a relevant question for people in a recognized minority group or mature job seekers that may be worried about ageism.
The good news is that North America has numerous legislations and rules in place to prevent discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. Employers are strictly forbidden to ask applicants for any personal information.
Will this be one hundred percent effective in avoiding discrimination? Unfortunately not, but it will make it a much more even playing field.
As a job applicant, you can further protect yourself against discrimination by being mindful of the information you disclose. Here are examples of information not to disclose on your resume:
- don’t disclose your place of worship, religious beliefs, etc
- don’t disclose your birth date
- don’t disclose any information related to financial standing
- don’t disclose any medical treatment
Do keep in mind that some of these items might need to be disclosed as part of the final stages of the hiring process, however, they should not prevent you from the initial selection process.
Pro tip: Many foreign countries require job applicants to disclose personal information – such as gender, religion, age, marital status and even driver license number – on a resume.
8. How do I make a transition into a different career field?
This question often leads to more questions such as: Will my experience be wasted? Will I have to intern? Will I have to take a pay cut? Is it too late for me to make a career transition?
The good news is that changing your career is not nearly as scary as you think and for most people it will be the best decision they ever made. Take us for example – pretty much everyone at Resume Wiz decided to make a HUGE career shift, and we are loving it!
Our number one advice is to focus your resume on skills and experience that will overlap your current career with skills needed in your new career. These are also known as transferrable skills. Here are some examples:
- customer service
- hiring and managing a team
- managing a departmental budget
- project management
- designing a new product or service
- dealing with partners and vendors
These are just an example of experiences which you can confidently highlight in your resume and that are highly transferrable among many industries
9. How do I address a hiring manager’s name I cannot find?
The only thing worse than not addressing a hiring manager by name is by addressing them by the wrong name.
If after looking on LinkedIn, the job posting and the company’s website, you are still unsure who the hiring manager is, play it safe and use a generic greeting such as “Dear Hiring Manager,”
10. How long after sending my resume should I wait to follow up?
Sending a follow up email (letter) used to be a thing a decade or two ago, but we typically don’t recommend it. The reality is, if the company thinks you are the right candidate, they won’t waste any time getting in touch with you. Sending a follow-up email will do little to change that.
Pro tip: Never include gender when addressing a hiring manager. For example, avoid saying, Dear Sir, Madame, Miss, Mr. Ms. etc.