22 April 2009

Calling All Recruiters—Is Anyone Out There?

Online job services were meant to automate the job search process, getting jobseekers in front of prospective new employers faster. How well is it working for you? If you've sent out dozens of resumes and gotten little or no response, it probably feels like you're sending your resume into a vast black hole. Do you feel like shouting "Hey, is anyone out there?"

To better the odds that your resume is being seen by a real person who can offer you a real job, here are three guidelines to make your resume more effective.

1. Include Key Words

With paper resumes a thing of the past, employers use candidate tracking databases to store resumes. Recruiters and hiring managers use key words to query and find the candidate resumes that match the job. If you aren't using the right words to describe your employment experiences, then your resume might be rejected before it's ever seen. Review the key words your resume uses to:

* Describe your current career objective. Do your qualifications match the job description? Look closely at areas listing your technical skills, job responsibilities, and core competencies.

* Attract your industry. Are you using your industry's current buzzwords? Avoid obsolete terms and phases that may label you as behind the times.

* Attract your occupational field. Does your resume give the impression that you're cutting edge or over the hill? Make sure your resume shows why you're a good choice for the job.

2. Use the Correct Electronic Version

If your resume can't be opened as an attachment, then it can't be seen. Because of the threat of computer viruses, many companies only accept resumes through their own online forms which ask you to cut and paste (rather than attach) your resume. Make sure you are sending your resume in a format that will work for the recipient.

* If a resume attachment is requested: Save your resume as a Word document (.doc or .rtf). This is the standard that most companies use. It should retain the formatting that you used for your resume. Avoid fancy formatting options such as columns, boxes, and tables.

* If an email or online form is used: Use ASCII, plain text, or text only (.txt). This removes formatting, but the information is preserved. Be sure to review your resume before sending it so that it is still easy to read and user friendly. 3. Make Your Resume Stand Out from the Crowd

With hundreds of candidates to choose from, what makes your resume shout "Pick me!"? If your qualifications are similar or equal to the vast majority of other candidates, employers will need a compelling reason to select you out of the crowd. You need a differentiating edge, or you'll be ignored.

The best way to differentiate your resume from others is with accomplishments. And those accomplishments really stand out when:

* They are quantified or measurable. Can you define how much you accomplished in dollars saved, contracts won, or percent changed?

* They highlight your transferable skills. Can your skills be used by this company, even if your job experience is in a different industry? Transferable skills help employers visualize you in their organization.

* They show corporate impact. How can you help them save time, save money, increase their profit margin, improve sales, or increase revenue?

While the Internet is still a great tool to connect quickly with employers, you need to take steps to ensure your resume won't be ignored. Before you apply online again, use these three tips to make sure your resume gets the attention it deserves!


Deborah Walker, Certified Career Management Coach, helps jobseekers coast to coast navigate the Internet by staying abreast of the significant technical changes that affect online job-search strategies. Visit Deb on the web at http://www.AlphaAdvantage.com


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