In today's economy, having the edge is vital. Whereas in better times you may have been competing against twenty or thirty other applicants, today you will likely have to contend with twice that number, many of whom are equally - if not more - qualified than you. One way to get that edge is to have an insider track on what Human Resource (HR) departments are seeking in their employees; you can learn some of these important features by taking HR classes online.
As a former Human Resource Assistant with a large corporation I am here to offer you a few insider "Do's and Don'ts":
Never send in a blanket resume hoping that HR will find the position which fits your qualifications. HR departments receive hundreds of resumes a week and the "whatever you have open" resumes go straight into the Miscellaneous file. I have never known even one person to be hired from that file. Always, always, always list the job you are applying for.
If you are interested in and qualified for several open positions, apply for each one separately. HR departments separate incoming resumes by position and forward the applications to the appropriate manager for review. If you apply for three positions your application will be sent to each of those managers; this is completely acceptable, and increases your chance of getting a job. We also print a copy, which will be filed under the name of the position, i.e., general office, accounting clerk, CNA, etc. Ideally these files will be reviewed by department when a new position opens up; in reality, this rarely happens - so if you see another position open, apply again.
When applying in person, come prepared to interview.
Most of the time you will be asked to leave your resume or complete the application to be given to the applicable department head. However, if that manager is need of someone immediately they will leave instructions with HR to be contacted when someone applies and you may very well be interviewed (and hired) on the spot.
Being prepared to interview means being dressed appropriately; having all of your pertinent paperwork with you, social security card, identification, licenses, resume and references; and being available to interview. The "drop and dash" application may cost you the job. Turn your cell phone off and leave your children, friends, mother, and so on at home. Never ask HR to watch your children. If you cannot find someone to care for them while you interview, chances are this will become an issue on the job as well.
Be polite and friendly.
The Human Resources person is the gatekeeper for the company. If she likes you, she will remember you when something else opens up. You can also help yourself by taking a few online HR classes so you can be sure you're able to talk to her on her level.