Picking a Winner


“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
– Henry Ford


How to Win Over Top Talent

These days, job seekers from all over the country are applying for jobs in the Chattanooga area thanks to our city’s great amenities and the increasing prevalence of remote and hybrid work. As a result, hiring teams are often left wading through a sea of applicants to find the right person for the job – but what exactly are they looking for? Whether you’re a job seeker looking for ways to stand out from the pack or an employer hoping to narrow down your choices, read on to learn more from our local HR leaders.

jennifer wilhot

Jennifer Wilhot

Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Southern Champion Tray

My best advice for completing job applications is to be well-organized. Use clear language and short, concise paragraphs that make it easy for recruiters to grasp key information. To be safe, always include a resume. Tailor your resume to highlight the most relevant aspects of your background and showcase how your skills align with the role requirements. Instead of simply listing your responsibilities, emphasize your achievements and the impact you made in previous roles. Showing your accomplishments will provide specific examples of your abilities and contributions. Be sure to add any extra-curricular activities that showcase your initiative, leadership, or relevant skills. Also, pay close attention to grammar, spelling, and formatting. These mistakes can make a negative impression on the hiring team. Always proofread your documents and consider asking someone else to review them as well. Show genuine enthusiasm for the role and organization. Research the company and be able to articulate why you want the position and how your values align with the company’s mission and culture.

First Horizon Bank ad

brenda flores-lopez

Brenda Flores-Lopez

Associate Vice President for HR, Southern Adventist University

A hiring manager may process numerous applications and resumes when filling a job opening, but there are ways that candidates can increase their chances of being noticed and selected for the next step. First, carefully complete the entire application process and fill in all required information. Missing or omitting necessary details can harm your chances. Next, demonstrate how you align with the organization. Research the job thoroughly and clearly articulate how your skills, experiences, and education meet the requirements stated in the vacancy. Tailor your application and resume to the specific job, focusing on relevant qualifications and experiences. Keep your resume concise and free of unnecessary clutter, such as pictures, fancy fonts, and long objective statements. If selected for the next steps, show confidence, be prepared, ask questions, and demonstrate curiosity and interest. Finally, consider sending a follow-up communication after completing a step if it’s appropriate. These tips will enhance your chances of standing out as a strong candidate.

The Robinson Team ad

michelle bosworth

Michelle Bosworth

Vice-President Human Resources, Parkridge Health System

When reviewing applicants, we look for experience relevant to the role applied for, accuracy and completeness of the application, achievements with quantitative examples from previous job roles, and how well the applicant can articulate experiences relevant to our mission. Candidates who best meet the role requirements and have tailored their application specifically to our facilities rise to the top. If any job seeker wants to stand out, they should research the company and add personality to their application. Those who take the time to share what they know about the business, themselves, and how they can positively impact the role they are applying for demonstrate thoughtfulness and creativity.

Lawson Electric ad

marie webb

Marie Webb

Senior VP & Chief Talent & Inclusion Officer, EPB

At EPB, we’re proud of our strong organizational culture where smart, enterprising people can work in service to others and belong to something bigger. In addition to having the skills and experience required for the job, we seek candidates who share EPB’s community-focused mission and values. The most memorable applicants submit resumes and cover letters so compelling that the people reviewing them think, “I have to talk to that person.” Candidates often emphasize their experience through job titles, but we have found that clear definitions of previous roles and responsibilities are more valuable. We encourage candidates to focus on advertising their skills, values, and experience to stand out and secure interviews.

Todd Henon ad

rachel allen

Rachel Allen

Talent Acquisition Leader, McKee Foods Corporation

I look for a strong fit between the applicant’s qualifications and the requirements of the position, analyzing their technical skills and soft skills and looking for any inconsistencies or major gaps in their work history. I also look for any significant accomplishments, certifications, or training they have had to gauge their potential for success and interest in learning. I pay special attention to candidates who go the extra mile in the application process, such as providing detailed answers and those who have a thorough resume with solid work history and a pattern of achieving results. In order to stand out from other applicants, I recommend tailoring your resume and cover letter to align your qualifications with the position you are applying for and quantifying the results you’ve achieved; showing tangible evidence of your contributions in each role. Take time to research the company and articulate why you are the best fit for their organization.

CHI Memorial Web Ad

brianda ayala

Brianda Ayala

HR Supervisor, M&M Industries

During the hiring process, the first thing I look at is an applicant’s education and work history to gauge their level of experience and knowledge in the relevant field. In addition to making sure an applicant has work experience that is comparable to the position they’re hoping to fill, I consider the duration of employment for previous positions as well as signs of growth within each position. In my opinion, candidates who share details about their accomplishments rather than restating their previous job descriptions make a better impression by showing their expertise. I think it’s important for applicants to communicate their work ethic and overall attitude. I recommend keeping your resume short and direct, creating an original resume template, and thinking beyond job duties. You should take the time to understand what the employer is looking for, but you should also have a clear understanding of the kind of work culture you’re looking for in your next job.

HHM Web Ad

julie hoover

Julie Hoover

Corporate Director of Human Resources, Miller Industries Towing Equipment, Inc.

I’m impressed by candidates who showcase their capacity for learning, adapting, and personal growth, and provide concrete examples of these qualities. For instance, mention how you learned a new software program or took on a project outside of your usual responsibilities. Your application or resume should also highlight your achievements and contributions to previous organizations, including any challenges you’ve successfully overcome, such as tight project deadlines or limited resources. Conduct research to understand a company’s current objectives and culture by speaking to current employees. This will give you a sense of whether the company is a good fit for you and help you tailor your application to their specific needs. Connect with a recruiter or hiring manager on LinkedIn, emphasizing your interest in the company and how your skills align with the job requirements. This will show that you’re serious about the position and differentiate you from other applicants.

Mauldin & Jenkins ad

guru shah

Guru Shah

CEO, Shah Logistics

Whether it be Indeed, Zip Recruiter, or LinkedIn, the volume of applications we receive for open job opportunities is overwhelming on a day-to-day basis. Due to our dedication to loyalty with our existing team, I value an application that shows longer tenures in each role because it showcases an applicant’s stability. In tandem, references are a major differentiator. If previous employers are willing to put their name behind a candidate, their stock rises exponentially in my book. At the end of the day, job change is a product of advancing in a career, and if a candidate has a history of healthy working relationships throughout their professional life it will be apparent in a resume to future employers.

Linda Brock Web Ad

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