Good news—unemployment is down and recruiters are hiring! But how do you get your resumé to the top of the pile? And if you do land an interview, what should you do to prepare?

Two top Hudson Valley recruiters offered great advice recently to Jobs Waiting graduates.

Susan Hynson, a talent executive at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where she oversees a team of recruiters dedicated to interviewing, hiring, onboarding and retaining employees at Memorial Hospital; and Iris Groen, the talent acquisition manager at The Jewish Board, the largest human services agency in New York City which serves over 43,000 New Yorkers annually, shared the following tips:

1. Be able to explain why you want to work for this organization, and why in this role.

Susan Hynson (SH): Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) wants good people who are inspired by the work we do. Most everyone has had their lives touched by cancer. In an interview, I would want to know, what is it about Memorial Sloan Kettering’s mission that excites you? Further, what is it about this particular job what excites you? What will the job enable you to do? What will you bring to this specific role? You should be prepared to talk about this with recruiters.

2. Show passion.

Iris Groen (IG): We’re not looking for a warm body; we want people who are passionate about our organization. The Jewish Board is a service organization providing direct care. Our employees are in a position to help others and have a positive impact on someone’s life. So, we want people who are passionate about that subject. You can show that you are passionate if you’ve done your homework about us, and you bring energy to the interview.

3. Preparation is key.

IG: I prepare every day for my work. I study resumés, I learn the key accomplishments of each candidate before I meet them. If I can take the time to prepare to meet you, you can do the same about us. Learn about the organization and the person who is interviewing you. Have questions ready. If you can, practice mock interviews with your career coaches or colleagues.

SH: I couldn’t agree more. You might use an online resource like Glass Door, which posts great interview “behavioral interview” questions (such as give an example of a goal you reached and how you achieved it). This site is also a valuable tool to research organizations because it has unbiased company reviews from employees who have worked there, so you can get a feel for whether the organization is a good fit for you.

4. Know the latest industry news.

SH: Your research shouldn’t stop with the organization. Know what is happening in the industry, especially if you are making the transition to a new sector such as healthcare. Set up Google Alerts on relevant topics (for example, cancer care) and on the employers you are interested in. In your interview, show that you are up on the latest developments.

IG: If you’re interested in working for a nonprofit organization, you should also learn something about the oversight agencies for that organization and how they affect the nonprofit’s operations.

5. Be prepared for salary discussions.

IG: Think about what your standard of living is and what salary you require to meet that standard. Keep in mind that working for a nonprofit may not offer as high a salary as a for-profit healthcare organization, but there are other positives—in many cases, more time off, a pension, and generous benefits.

SH: Be thoughtful in your salary discussion with a recruiter. We ask you what your desired salary is early on in the process because if it is not in the range we are offering, we don’t want to pursue you. If you are transitioning back to work or to a new industry, you may need to consider a pay cut from your last job.

6. Avoid the “Chicken Soup” resume.

SH: How can you stand out in a sea of resumes? You really need to customize your resumé for every single position you apply for. For example, you may have a long list of accomplishments from your past ten jobs, but you don’t need to list them all. Avoid the “chicken soup” resumé. Don’t include statements like “Seeking an executive level job in healthcare.” Create a resumé targeted for the specific job opening you are applying for.

IG: Your resumé is the first chance to make an impression on a recruiter. Make sure it’s polished and meaningful for the interviewer. It’s more important to highlight your relevant achievements than include generic statements about your career goals. Also, you should avoid borders or graphics or design elements on your resume. They may not be compatible with today’s electronic Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).



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