How Do I Get In?

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That might be a question you’ve asked yourself about a role you’d like.  Or maybe you’ve heard it from friends and family members who want to work at McMaster.  In either case, you might wish that you had some insider information about the hiring process.

Well, now you do.  In this post, you’ll find three common myths and their corresponding realities.

Myth: I’ve applied to too many jobs, so they’ll never hire me now.

Reality: Hiring at McMaster is decentralized.  So, if you’ve applied to 10 different jobs in the past month, you might be reassured to know that 10 different people may have read your applications.

That said, taking a scattershot approach to applying might not be in your best interests.  Lots of applicants will submit generic resumes, just hoping to “get in.”  But when a hiring manager has a choice between generic resumes and those that are targeted to the job, it’s so much easier to sort the latter into the “yes” pile.  Which leads to the next myth…

Myth: Nobody reads resumes or cover letters, anyway.

Reality: Your application documents are very important, and they should address the job requirements as clearly as possible.  In fact, for UNIFOR jobs, hiring managers must assign numerical scores to each candidate for the job’s key capabilities.  Because hiring managers must be able to explain how they arrived at those scores, they can’t give points for what’s “between the lines.”  So, make it easy for hiring managers to give your experience the credit it deserves; use a fit/gap review to prepare, and draw on all three columns in your fit/gap review when you write your resume and cover letter content.  That will show – not just imply – how you can meet the employer’s needs.

Again, for UNIFOR jobs, you’ll even get an extra clue about what’s most important to the hiring manager.  If there’s additional information in the part of the job posting that’s “for departmental use,” take note.  That section of the posting is entirely customizable, so it can give you clues about unique elements of the job, or the hiring manager’s key priorities.

Myth: I should have heard back by now!

Reality: No one ever offers to take work off a hiring manager’s plate in order to make time for hiring.  Chances are excellent that the hiring committee is reading applications, scheduling and holding interviews, and discussing candidate fit on top of their normal workload.  In addition, unrelated priorities come up that delay hiring decisions, the proper process must be followed, and other factors can make the hiring process feel slow, especially to an eager applicant.  In interviews, you can always ask, at the end, when the committee plans on making a decision.  That will give you an idea of when it’s appropriate to follow up with the hiring manager.  If you feel you’re not a natural networker and wonder if you should follow up right after submitting your resume and cover letter, have no fear.  Your HR Advisor actually can’t disclose the name of the hiring manager to applicants in advance of interviews.

So please, stay eager and target your applications, so they get into the “yes” pile.

The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.

Oprah Winfrey