Posts Tagged ‘job search’
Are you sending out dozens of resumes each week but getting no response? Do you feel discouraged by a tough job market and your competition?
In your efforts to get noticed, you should keep one thing in mind: Put yourself in the hiring manager’s place. Ask yourself, “What would the employer think of my resume in the initial few seconds she takes to read it?” Even if you’re exactly right for the job, you may never be asked to interview unless you make the proper first impression with a well-written resume and cover letter. Use these tips to guide you:
- Manage the content and format effectively. The content and format of your resume are very important. A resume that employs a tiny font and has too much information will be quickly passed over by a hiring manager in favor of a clean, easy-to-read, well-spaced document. Use bullet points and even-spaced margins. Don’t make the mistake of including every single thing you did at a previous job. Instead, list key accomplishments and major, progressive responsibilities that highlight your skills. You can then expand on your previous responsibilities in a cover letter and during the first interview.
- Make the content of your resume reflect transferable skills related to the position for which you’re applying. Hiring managers often glance at a resume looking for key phrases and buzz words that they want in their ideal next employee. Take the time to tailor your resume specifically to a job description. Including key phrases from the description may get you past the employers’ web-based application filter as well as generate enough interest for a first interview.
- Keep your resume free of spelling and grammatical errors. You want to convey that you are professional and detail-oriented, can write well, and take your work seriously. One glance at a resume with spelling and grammatical errors might cause an employer to think you are sloppy, make mistakes, and are wasting his or her time. Take the time to proofread your resume. (Don’t depend on the computer spell checker) Then have someone you trust review it for you.
- Your cover letter should always express your interest in the specific job. Does the position give you an opportunity to expand your skill set? Is the company dynamic and progressive? Clearly convey your strong interest in the company and position, and then explain why you’re the ideal candidate. This shows you have done your homework on the company and truly want to work there.
Putting the employer first by having a tailored cover letter and well-written resume will ensure you have submitted the best possible representation of yourself, bringing you a step closer to getting that interview and job offer.
As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, I am often approached by highly qualified job seekers frustrated by weeks and often months of costly unemployment. Job seekers who have sent hundreds of resumes yet never hear back from the employer.
I’ve found that the majority of my clients attempt to write their own resume and only seek the help of a professional after weeks of failure. There are many reasons they fail, but most tend to be associated with ineffective resume templates designed in the 1990s which are not compatible with today’s keyword searches done by recruiters and hiring managers. I am dismayed to think of the number of opportunities that highly qualified candidates have lost to those less qualified but have a better understanding of today’s job search process.
The Top 5 Reasons Resumes Fail
Lack of Industry Specific Keywords — Due to the sheer volume of resumes that employers receive, only a handful are ever printed and will reach the hands of the hiring manager. Employers today often use software programs to search for keywords specific to the position. The more hits that they find, the more likely it is that your resume will be read. This is the process that most often eliminates even the most qualified candidates from consideration.
Resume Format — There are a variety of formats available to better market your skills and experience including: chronological, functional, hybrid, Curriculum Vitae (CV), Federal Resume format, etc. Choosing the wrong format for your situation can quickly eliminate you from consideration. A well-written resume will match your skills and experience to the hiring managers’ needs.
Objective or Qualifications Summary? — I personally believe that an old-fashioned objective is a waste of the most valuable real estate on the resume. It would be nice if employers really cared what you wanted in a job, but in actuality they are only concerned with what you can do for them. Why not use this area to market the skills and experience to position you as the best candidate for the position?
Task-Focused vs. Accomplishment Based Resume Unfortunately, the majority of resumes that I review are more of a chronological history than a true marketing document. Imagine a hiring manager with one position to fill and 100 equally qualified candidates applying for the position and each candidate has a similar educational and professional background. It’s easy to see that the candidate who contributed the most in previous positions is likely to get the job.
A One-Size-Fits-All Resume — In today’s highly competitive job market a one-size-fits-all resume really fits none. An employer searching for an accountant is going to be searching for different keywords than an employer searching for a sales representative. If you don’t know what type of position that you’re looking for, how will the employer know?
In today’s highly competitive job market it is imperative that you quickly and concisely provide the hiring manager with the information that they seek. A well formatted resume will allow the employer to quickly glance at the resume and find the skills and experience that they are looking for in the first 1/3 of the first page. Only after capturing their attention will they bother to read your resume from top to bottom.
When seeking the help of a professional it is important to seek a certified resume writer. With today’s economic conditions many claim to be professional resume writers, however, they often do not have the training necessary to help you get through the screening process.
Choose carefully; ask for and compare samples of their work. Your writer should do much more than simply type a resume. They will analyze your career and help you determine your career direction, develop a format that’s most suitable to your specific situation, and then craft a strong and compelling marketing document that targets your career objective and positions you as the best candidate for the position. A professionally written resume can help you get the job that you want and the pay you deserve.
If you are unsure of how exactly to go about making these resume edits you can check out samples of other similar resumes online at sites like resumeindex.
Today’s economic news may be gloom and doom but it needn’t derail your job hunt. You can still win a great job, even in a lousy economy. You WILL have to get smarter in your job search strategy, though.
Here are 5 tips to incorporate into your job search approach during the recession:
1. Research Your Options
Does your industry or line of work offer little promise of employment in the coming months? If so, now is a good time to step back to identify the projected top performing industries and jobs. The best place to find this info is on the web through Google or Yahoo. Start with “best industries work recession” or “recession jobs 2008″ to uncover articles describing some of the more recession-proof sectors to target.
2. Change Your Focus
Start asking yourself the question, “What’s in it for them?” as opposed to, “What’s in it for me?” Especially in an economic downturn, you’ll want to stay focused on what you can accomplish for your next employer. Show them that you understand the macroeconomic “bigger picture” of the role you play in moving the company forward.
3. Sell Results, Not Skills
Leave behind that old mindset that your job-related skills or length of service are selling factors. The new mindset is to think of yourself as a mini profit-and-loss center rather than just an employee. Employers today buy results and are less impressed with candidates promoting a long laundry list of skills. You’ll want to define the many ways your past and present job performance are assets to your next employer.
4. Start Talking Money
The recession has made the private sector economy even more bottom-line oriented than ever. Hiring managers categorize employees into one of two distinct groups:
a.) those who help make money
b.) those who help save money.
Which one are you?
For example, Barry worked as the human resources manager of a mid-sized company. While much of his work focused on compliance issues, he noticed that the company was paying many thousands of dollars to locate and hire good employees. As a result, Barry developed and implemented an in-house employee referral program that netted three quality hires in a six-month period. This saved the company almost $70,000 that the company would have paid for recruiters and advertising costs.
Barry saves money for his company and this is an accomplishment future employers will want to hear about.
Rethink your current or past job to understand your position in the bigger corporate P&L picture. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How did my work improve the performance of my department or company?
- How many roles did I perform that saved the company the expense of added employees or contractors?
- How has my work made the work of others (employees and managers) easier, faster and more effective?
Collect specific examples of the benefits that your company gained from the work you’ve already performed. Clarify the specific benefit your company received by making money or saving money, and write them down.
5. Add Achievements to Your Resume
Employers don’t hire employees, they hire problem-solvers. Your new resume should be a hard-hitting sales tool designed to accomplish one goal: get the interview. To demonstrate this, add a specific achievements list to your resume. Take the list that you developed in the previous section and hone it down to your biggest and most notable accomplishments. Now, describe the benefit that your employer gained from each example. This will put you several steps ahead of your job-seeking competitors. Plus, you’ll now have some talking points ready for that next phone interview.