If you’ve had a job, chances are good that you’ve written a resume. They are pretty much mandatory these days, and have been since about the 1940’s, when they often included information that is now taboo such as marital status, religion and weight. The first resume? Leonardo Da Vinci is usually credited as having created it in 1482. Surprised? He invented just about everything else so why not the resume!Read More
You are a busy IT professional. You may be happy in your current position or you may not, but either way, it is likely that the thought of what else lies out there for you professionally has crossed your mind. Could I make more money? Find a great place to work that is closer to home? Or perhaps in a new state? A position with more responsibility?
Times are changing. And these days, the first person to review your resume is very likely not a person at all. It’s most likely an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS is a software application designed to help a company recruit employees more effectively. An ATS can be used for a variety of things including screening resumes and generating interview requests to potential candidates through e-mail. It is estimated that 50% of mid-sized companies and almost 100% of large corporations use some form of ATS. Here are some tips for optimizing a resume for an ATS.
I read a provocative article the other day, Why We Should Banish Job Descriptions and Resumes, on ere.net. This sounds like a crazy idea (particularly to someone in the staffing industry!) but the author, Lou Adler, makes some interesting points. He believes that the traditional description, what he refers to as a “skills-infested job description,” “prevents companies from hiring the best talent available. By default they wind up hiring the best person who applies.”
It’s a new year and hope springs eternal. Hope for health, happiness, and perhaps a new job. Finding that new job, however, can be a daunting task. But nail down the fundamentals of a good job search and your pursuit will be easier and more productive.
The foundation of any job search is a good resume. Be sure to customize it for each and every job you apply to. Use the job description as a guide as you customize. It is important to address every requirement listed in the job description. By doing this you can make it impossible for the hiring manager to pass you over for an interview.
Line them up right away. A variety of individuals can include managers, past co-workers, vendors you have worked with, individuals that have reported to you, etc. Then, when asked, provide the types of references required. Also, be sure to notify your references any time you pass their contact information along to a hiring manager. You can also coach them on what will be asked and how to answer if they are called.
3. Subscribe to Indeed or Simply Hired
Indeed and Simply Hired are vertical search engines focused on job postings. They crawl the internet and pull every posting from every site to one location, their search results. They also offer daily emails with jobs that match predesignated criteria. A great resource for any job hunter.
Any reputable company will look at the LinkedIn profiles for all of the applicants. Make sure yours is optimized for your job search. Social media consultant Jorgen Sundberg offers 12 great tips on how to do this.
5. Reach Out
Communicate with everyone in your network. Be sure to explain exactly what you are looking for and encourage them to connect you with anyone that can benefit from your experience.
6. Practice Interviewing
It’s never too early to start practicing your answers to some the most popular interview questions. As Confucius once said, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without
such preparation there is sure to be failure.” Paul Michael of WiseBread offers some great advice in How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions
7. Follow Up
Follow up with each and every contact you make. Chances are, they forgot all about you within a few days. Stay top of mind through short, polite follow up emails, messages, texts, or phone calls.
8. Be Creative
And lastly, be creative in your approach. Applying at restaurants? Make your resume look like their menu. Applying at ad agencies? Use digital media to grab their attention. There are many ways to separate yourself from the pack. Get creative.
Thirty years ago we used cassette tapes, pay phones, giant camcorders, paper resumes, VCRs, and we watched ALF. All of these things were an important part of daily life in the 1980’s. Only one is still around thirty years later. And unfortunately, it's not ALF.
The standard paper resume doesn't work in a digital world. Human resources, recruiters, and hiring managers still sort through stacks of resumes, trying their best to whittle down the numbers to manageable level for conducting interviews. And even then, most people that do the whittling hope they haven’t overlooked someone because the candidate’s resume didn’t accurately portray who they really are. Software like Microsoft Word and resume parsers may have moved some of this activity to the computer, but it’s basically the same process. Volume of resumes in, whittle down, and conduct interviews. In a world of rovers on Mars, driverless cars, and iPhones, one would think we’d have come up with a better approach. Here are some companies that are trying.
You’ve heard it said that content is king. And that may be true in most situations. But when it comes to resumes, formatting and layout are just as important.
According to a recent study by TheLadders.com, recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking over a resume. And during those 6 seconds they make a decision on whether the candidate is a possible fit or not. That’s right, you spent hours on your resume for 6 seconds in the spotlight. 6 seconds that determines whether you get an interview or not. With so much relying on such a short amount of time, it’s imperative that you make the most relevant information easy to find.
Below is a heat map that tracked the eyes of the 30 recruiters that were included in the study. As you can see, the resume on the right, which has better formatting, was more thoroughly reviewed then the resume on the left. A more thoroughly reviewed resume means the recruiter will be able to find the information they are looking for. And if a recruiter is able to find the information they are looking for, they are more likely to call the candidate in for a interview. Content may be king, but formatting is a close second, especially during your job search.