The No. 1 piece of job search advice, from 28 employers who are actually hiring right now

The No. 1 piece of job search advice, from 28 employers who are actually hiring right now
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We reached out to employers who have recently posted on the Agenda Job Board and asked, “What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for job seekers right now?”

Below are 28 of the most instructive responses, lightly edited for clarity. Common themes include customizing your resume to fit the position, investing time into your cover letter, and showcasing a passion for the specific employer.


“Focus your application on the value you can bring to the prospective employer. So many candidates spend their entire cover letter describing why THEY want the job and why it would be such a dream for them if they were hired. That’s nice, but the applications that really stand out are the ones where the candidate has clearly read the job description and can articulate why their skills and qualifications are a perfect fit for us. Sell what the employer has already told you they are buying.”

Bill DAlessandro, CEO at Elements Brands

Open jobs include: Social Media Coordinator, Customer Experience Manager, Inventory Analyst, Manufacturing Manager, and Warehouse Coordinator

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Bill DAlessandro, CEO at Elements Brands and the Agenda’s recent 2019 Small Businessperson of the Year


“Finding the right job is, in and of itself, a full-time job; be sure to set realistic expectations that it might take some time. Don’t get down on yourself when you hear ‘no’ (or don’t hear a response) and never stop networking and reaching out to people. Chances are, your next great job will come via another way than just applying online.”

Robert Daugherty, VP of Talent Acquisition at Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Open Lowe’s jobs include 11 technology jobs like Lead Product Manager. View all of Lowe’s open jobs.


“Be flexible and adaptable. Ways of work are changing daily and the traditional model of coming into a role with a solid understanding of expectations is challenging for even the most organized of hiring managers. Have a little grace in light of the current environment and be willing to travel an ever-evolving path to land at your destination as we all seek to find a stable footing in the new normal.”

Meaghan Hamilton, Director of Staffing & Recruitment at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte

Open jobs include: School Age Counselors


“Keep your resume to one page, even if that means excluding older and/or less relevant experience. Often companies receive multiple resumes, so keeping it brief will ensure your best qualities and accomplishments stand out in a crowd. And don’t be afraid to brag! Often a resume is the first thing an employer may see about you, so it’s important to highlight your accomplishments. Be sure to also showcase leadership, community involvement, and your outside interests as well – those are as important as specific relevant work experience.”

Lizzy Schoentube, Head of Global Campus Recruitment and Programs at Bank of America

View all Bank of America open jobs

[Agenda related story: Top 12 employers that people want to work for in Charlotte]


“As simple as it sounds, be sure to do a dress rehearsal using the video platform that will be used for your interview, whether it is Zoom, Google, Microsoft Teams, Slack, or something else. Make sure you are familiar with the technology and that it functions properly on your device of choice, before the interview.”

Peter Smul, Chief Operating Officer Varda Partners

Open jobs include: Operations Associate, Sales Associate, and HR Generalist and Recruiter


“It’s a competitive market right now with more qualified candidates than a year ago. Many companies have opened up their candidate pool outside of their corporate headquarters due to the increase in remote capabilities attracting quality talent. When you land that initial interview, ask those penetrating questions to understand how Covid-19 may have impacted how their company is structured and the skills that may make a bigger impact now more than ever.”

Angela Fumo SVP of Human Capital at Wyndham Capital Mortgage

Open jobs include: Mortgage Servicing Manager. View all Wyndham jobs.


“Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written cover letter. I suggest composing a unique letter for each role you apply for and tailor it to the specifics of the job description. This is your chance to highlight what might not be obvious on your resume and how your aspirations match the companies culture and beliefs.”

Ted Prendergast, Manager of Talent Sourcing and Operations at Red Ventures

View all Red Ventures jobs


“The best advice I can give is to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. A strong ‘Professional Summary’ section will make you stand out by letting us know that you have read the job description and have taken the time to be sure you are noticed. Likewise, tailoring the bullet points under your experience to highlight the similarities to the job you’re applying for will help get you a phone interview.”

–  Chelsea Presnell, Talent Acquisition Partner at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. (CEENTA)

Open jobs include: Manager of Imaging and Radiology Services, Allergy Technician SouthPark, Epic Trainer, and Allergy Technician Fort Mill


“Make sure your resume showcases relevant work experience for the job you are applying for. In a time where there are many applicants for a single position, having a concise resume that accurately states your qualifications will get you recognized. Lastly, do a good search to find positions that could be a good fit for you, resisting the temptation to apply for any and all jobs you see posted.”

Maryann Martinez, Director of Operations & Human Resources at Burke

Open jobs include: Account Executive and PPC Specialist


“Be persistent. Don’t just email your resume and wait for a response. Follow up, make a call, send more info. Show how and why you are interested in that company specifically. And please — proof what you write. Good Lord. :)”

Leslie Kraemer, Principal and Creative Director at Birdsong Gregory

Open jobs include: Designer


“Attention to detail is everything. My team has to maintain health standards that are more important than ever before — if you can’t follow application instructions to a T, how can I trust that you’ll follow our safety protocols to a T?”

Cristina Wilson, Founder & CEO at Mood House

Open jobs include: Massage Therapist

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Cristina Wilson, founder of Mood House, opening this fall in Dilworth


“My one piece of advice for job seekers right now is to speak to gaps in employment or short stints with companies. When I am looking at resumes, I want to interview candidates who are going to stick around for a while. If you have had a lot of contract work, or your job was eliminated due to Covid, call that out immediately in your cover letter.”

Andrea Williams, Director of Marketing & Communications at GoCollect

Open jobs include: Graphic Designer


“If you are looking to make a career change, make sure to review the job duties thoroughly, and highlight your experience by including bullet points that align with the duties of the job to which you are applying. Companies like ours are looking for candidates that not only have direct experience, but have relevant skills for the job to which they are applying and can pick up on things quickly.”

Melissa M Needham,  Talent Acquisition Specialist at Grubb Properties

Open jobs include: Corporate Brand Marketing Director, Property Manager, and Assistant Property Manager


“When asked ‘What have you been doing during the shutdown?’ you answer should not be, ‘I just took time for myself.’ Show you have stayed busy in some form of work along your career path.”

Dawn Cole, Office Manager at Zeal Concepts

Open jobs include: Pre-Press/Production Designer


“Focus on communicating your values and abilities, not just emphasizing your skills based on what you think the employer might be looking for. As a company currently hiring 300+ roles in Charlotte, we’re more interested in understanding your desire and capability to learn than in knowing what someone else might have expected of you before. For example, on your resume when you are describing your previous work experience you should be highlighting a problem/goal, the solution, and its result.”

Arthur Matuszewski, VP or Talent at Better.com

View all Better.com open jobs


“When looking for a position, focus on finding an organization where you will thrive and be inspired to do work you are proud of. Pay attention to the culture and seek out opportunities where you can grow while contributing to the success of the organization. An authentic fit is a valuable asset.”

Andy Cuykendall, Managing Partner at Leaderboard Branding

Open jobs include: Project Coordinator


“As a nonprofit, we want candidates who show that they are interested in our mission. A candidate with less experience or fewer qualifications will stick out if they put something specific to my organization in their application and proactively respond, follow up to emails, and makes it clear that they are interested in this specific position.”

Niko Petrogeorge, Executive Director Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry

Open jobs include: Executive Assistant & Bookkeeper


“Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your cover letter, especially if it is for a position in a creative industry. If an email address is provided, make sure you include a full cover letter in the body of the email. Just writing ‘resume attached’ will not get you far.”

Elizabeth Stacks, Marketing Manager at Ginger Griffin Marketing & Design

Open jobs include: Graphic Designer


“When applying for a position within a small, independently owned company, it’s certainly advantageous to open your resume with traits/skills such as: dependability, multitasking, and able to work unsupervised. As a small business owner, often staff numbers are small and it’s crucial to a small business to have staff that are reliable. Willingness to be a team player will always work in an applicant’s favor”

– Daniella Urbina, Staff Recruiter for Carolinas Skin Center

Open jobs include: Medical Assistant


“Make sure your information is up to date, accurate, and showcases that you are ready to work, reliable, energetic, a self-starter, and trainable. These days, companies like ours are looking for individuals that can be relied upon, perform well, and add value.”

– John Quirin, Managing Owner at Ferrucci’s Old Tyme Italian Market

Open jobs include: Customer Service Lead


“The world is full of a lot of unknown right now and there is no question that things are hard and scary. If things aren’t working out doing what you know how to do, now is a good time to look at reinventing or reskilling yourself into what you want to do. Things are going to be hard either way, you get to choose what kind of hard gets you closer to where you want to be.”

Betsy Hauser, Founder & CEO at Tech Talent South

Recent hires include: Talent Success Manager (hired)


“Work your network for warm leads. I recently hired four new colleagues, and three of them came through a degree or two of separation within my network. I think most hiring managers are looking for third parties to help recommend and verify excellent candidates.”

Austin Tate, Silver Falcon Capital

Recent hires include a Brand Strategy Manager (hired) and Senior Associate / VP (hired)


“Responsiveness, human touch, and trying to be conversational are things I would focus on. Aside from that, I would try to think critically about the company, the space they are in, and come up with a couple of meaningful questions or thoughts to share. In a recent round of reviewing candidates for a job opening, I received one handwritten note from a candidate letting me know they applied. This was an incredibly thoughtful gesture and while I recognize it’s not easy or necessary, I immediately wanted to turn around and help this person. Last, interviewing is a two-way conversation and engagement. I want the candidate to interview me as well. If they have no questions it’s not a great sign.”

Mike Murphy, CEO at ProctorFree

Recent hires include a Sales Development Rep/Customer Advocate (hired)


“Keep an open mind to the type of job you are looking for as career journeys often take a winding route. In addition, you should read through the entire job description post, and seek to understand what type of role the employer is looking to fill. This will help you prepare for the interview as you will be able to answer why your past work experiences relate to the open position.”

Rachel Guzman, Director of Recruiting-Mid-Atlantic Region at Allied Universal

Recent hires include: Security Officers (hired)


“Know your audience. The biggest turn off for employers is when you can tell that the applicant doesn’t know anything about your organization or hasn’t read the job description. This lack of understanding can be evident in your cover letter, your resume, or your interview. Do your homework and figure out what you should highlight in your experience or your interests to resonate with that specific employer.”

Michele Miller Houck, Customer Engagement Director at Carolina Raptor Center

Recent hires include: Finance Manager (hired)


“Do your research on the company and people, and follow up with thoughtfulness. Be assertive without being overly intrusive. View your job search as also building a relationship for the future in your industry or market. This takes more work of course but distances you from your ‘click and apply’ competition.”

Aaron Petrosky,  President at Rapidops Inc.

Recent hires include: Customer Success Associate (hired)


“Build your online presence and be an active participant in your career and industry on LinkedIn. The online community is now every recruiter, job hunter, hiring manager, and person who has an internship available or needs help. Just like the squeaky wheel gets the grease — the person who is out there gets seen.”

Sydney Stern Miller, Marketing Leader at Tech Talent South & Healthtech Women

Recent hires include: Talent Success Manager (hired)


“Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for (have multiple versions ready to go at all times). Most of all, be punctual, confident, and friendly when you’re in the interview process. Those traits can separate you from the crowd in a cluttered job pool.”

Brian Baltosiewich, Founder at Queen City Podcast Network and Director at Carolina School of Broadcasting

Recent hires include: Freelance Editor (hired)


Job hunting? Here’s a full list of 150+ open Charlotte jobs on the Agenda Job Board right now.

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