Okay ... almost all of us have been job hunting at one time or another. Many of us on the forums may currently be hunting for a new job. Right now, I'm frustrated as hell because I'm trying to FILL a vacancy. Well, actually, we're just building a "hiring list" (list of good candidates) for when one of our dispatchers leave in the next month or two. The thing is, our job posting lists some pretty specific requirements. MOST PEOPLE DO NOT ADDRESS THESE IN THEIR RESUMÉS OR APPLICATIONS. As a supervisor who is directly involved in the hiring process, I want to offer some tips for when you are looking for a job (I'm making the assumption that you actually want
to get the job).
#1) READ THE BLOODY JOB DESCRIPTION!
I am constantly amazed (and somewhat irritated) by the fact that, apparently, many people who apply for a job don't do this very basic thing. I'm a Police Dispatcher ... the position requires us to work all sorts of hours. We have actually had people turn us down during the interview because they suddenly "discovered" that they'll be working night shifts.
#2) Address points from the job description in your resumé.
Our job description very clearly states a couple of "preferred qualifications" - one is the ability to type 40 wpm. I have 39 applications in front of me. Only TWO of them mention their typing speed! One other mentions that typing is a skill they have. Only 3 out 39 mention this preferred qualification, yet many of them have had jobs in the past where I would bet they had to type. But I can not make such an assumption ... I have to go by what they actually tell
#3) Make a resumé that will make you stand out from the crowd.
And by this I do not
mean a lot of flashy colors and fancy fonts. Two fonts MAX. Black text. You can highlight a section (such as your name and address) with a light
and moderate color (like a pale cadet blue background). INCLUDE THE THINGS THAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE JOB YOU ARE APPLYING FOR (see #1 & 2 above). Keep it fairly short, but informative. For example, if I were applying for a dispatch job, I would include in my work history; "1985-present: Police Dispatcher - Operates phone console with multiple lines, Intergraph CAD and RMS, ACJIS certified, 800MHz radio with numerous talk groups ... " etc. Do not expect that the person reading your application and/or resume will make the correct assumptions for what your skills are. Be sure to include a section where you summarize the skills that you bring to the table. Again, don't assume they'll know - tell them
that you can operate MS Office, CAD, RMS, and so on. Tell them you can type. Tell them you have acquired excellent customer service skills. (I actually have a resumé in the stack where the person says they were a deputy and covered dispatch ... and that's all they say. The don't tell me what kind of phones, CAD, or anything they used.)
#4) Use correct spelling and proper English!
This is a huge pet peeve for me. I'm trying to hire someone for a job communicating not only with Police Officers, but with other Police Agencies and the public as well. Some of that communication will be in writing or type-written. I do not want to hire someone who will make the department look stupid because they can't speak or type. When I am looking at a resumé
, I want to see that the person is intelligent and will be a good fit for the job. Your resumé should reflect you at your best. We don't require a college degree, but I don't want to hire idiots either. When you create your resumé, proof read it! Proof read it, then have someone else proof read it ... preferably someone who can spell.
#5) Make sure your resumé and/or cover letter are for the right job!
I have two resumés which mention in their "goal" section that they want to get a job at another place (one is a hospital, the other is for a business in Phoenix). Either make your "goal" section a little more generic, or change it when you're submitting it to different jobs.
These things can help you get noticed in a more favorable light when you're applying for a job. I know that tailoring your resumé to an individual job that you're applying for will be a little bit of extra work, but may pay off in the long run. When you create your basic resumé, include as much as you can while still keeping it as short as possible. But don't be afraid to make changes when you're applying for a specific job.
Jobs are getting harder to find and there are a LOT of people looking for them. Ten, even just five years ago, when we posted Dispatch openings, we might get 10 to 20 applications max. The last opening we had, there were almost 80 applications. This job, so far, we have 39 and there are more waiting for us to print out and go through. I really have no idea how many we'll end up with. But when I'm looking at these applications and resumés, I want to be able to tell that the person has the skills I'm looking for ... and they are going to have to TELL me.
Now, if anyone there is thinking of relocating to the area of Northern Arizona, and you think you could make a good dispatcher, IM me and I'll send you a link to our jobs page. The application is filled out on-line and you can attach your resumé to the application.
And no ... you do NOT get to make fun of any spelling errors in this post!