It’s not an easy task to get a job. Even now, with a booming economy, low unemployment and job growth on the rise, it’s not a slam-dunk. Competition among candidates is just as prevalent as it was when the job market wasn’t as robust. Candidates are getting smarter, technology is getting better and employers are just as picky as ever. So how can you set yourself apart from the masses?
Target your resume.
When it comes to resumes, words matter. This seems obvious. But what isn’t obvious is, behind this very simple phrase, there are several technological reasons that highlight just how much words matter.
I will share the top three reasons why keywords will make or break your resume.
Each new year gives the career-minded individual an opportunity to take stock of their current employment and reflect on opportunities to enhance their position, salary or both. With unemployment rates at all-time lows and employers taking previously unprecedented steps to entice qualified candidates, it would seem getting a better job is at its easiest point in a very long time.
But, that’s not necessarily the case. Candidates are getting more and more sophisticated, due in large part to the vast and deep pool of resources the internet has to offer. The candidate that ends up on top is the one who can navigate, filter and select the best of these resources and leverage them.
All of us have faced unemployment at one time or other. Whether self-imposed or involuntary, it can be a harrowing time. When our source of income is cut-off, fear of poverty and homelessness can overcome even the more seasoned professional.
After the initial jolt, we begin the job search process. This isn’t the most warm, fuzzy feeling either. As we submit resumes and do not receive a reply, our initial fear intensifies. It’s an emotional time.
As time goes on without an interview, we start loosening our hard-fast rules. In the beginning we said we wouldn’t ask our friends if they have openings at their job. Now we do. We said we’d only apply for a certain level job. We began applying for lower-level ones. And so, it begins. The downward spiral of desperation.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help.
Resume writing is a hassle. It’s loaded with stress, it’s time consuming and a lot is riding on it. And rightly so. This single document directly influences the future of an individual and families. Successful resumes provide the means to increase opportunities, propel careers and gain financial freedom. Poorly written ones can doom an individual toward a dismal job outlook, limited choices and socioeconomic decline.
I’ve used two job search strategies in my career. The first is scorched earth. This is where I create one resume and spray it about like a pressurized garden hose being whipped around in a frenzy of water and motion. With this strategy, I use the same resume for all the jobs I apply to. And the jobs I select are not targeted. They are ones I hope to get and even sometimes the ones I want. My second approach has been for the jobs I specifically want. With this strategy, I scrub my resume and the job posting line-by-line, word-for-word, to craft a perfect resume.
Thanks to today’s technology, I can use a little bit of both strategies.
Today is Sue’s first day at her new job. She recently graduated from college with a Communications degree and was hired as a Human Resources Generalist at a manufacturing plant. She’s a little nervous because she’s only one of a three people in the department. For a company with over 500 employees, she’s worried she’s joined a team that is understaffed, given the size of the company. She’s been told her primary responsibility will be managing the hiring process. This feels overwhelming to her because during the interview process her now-boss said they received on average 80 resumes a week.
When Sue applied for this job, she knew her inexperience could be a roadblock in getting hired. An avid learner and technically savvy, she researched best practices in creating a resume with little to no experience. That’s when she learned about targeted resumes.
If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, boy are you in for a shock. Long gone are the days of your paper resume sitting on the desk of a hiring manager. With the ever-evolving use of technology to assist humans in all endeavors, the hiring process is no different. Automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science and analytics have changed the face of this once very human process.
If you’re currently looking for a job, this isn’t just interesting reading material. It is vital to understand exactly what’s going on behind the curtain in order to have a chance at being hired. You risk your resume never seeing the light of day otherwise. Amazingly, this holds true even if you are the perfect match for a job.
But don’t worry, you’re in luck. Half the battle is knowing the game. This levels the playing field. The other half is having the tools to play. This gives you the edge you need to win.
We’ll start from the beginning.