Optimize Your Job Search and Resume

Before you push SEND, consider these three tips.
Before you push SEND, consider these three tips.

Job hunters not getting traction in their searches must think through a lot of potential issues—including the possibility they are applying for jobs for which they aren’t entirely qualified or resumes that don’t sync up with what employers are seeking.

With agencies receiving up to 700 resumes for some openings, recruiters tell me the vast majority of resumes don’t even remotely meet the qualifications necessary for the jobs. One recruiter who wants to remain anonymous said the vast number of resumes is moving the firm to adopting a system that scans resumes for key words. She hopes the system will free up valuable HR time that has been increasingly challenged by the volume of resumes for certain jobs.

So how do you make it through the resume maze at most agencies? Three tips:

  1. Apply for the right jobs. Avoid the temptation of saying “Oh, I can do that” when, in fact, the job is an obvious stretch. Recruiters won’t bite, no matter how compelling your resume might be. Realize that your resume is being screened against others who meet or exceed qualifications required in the position description.
  2. Network. “Who do you know?” A majority of jobs are filled by candidates who know someone within the agency. Don’t just rely on online relations–get out and meet as many individuals as possible. Julie Bauke’s guest post from seven years ago provides valuable insights about why you must network, and how to do it.
  3. Resume Optimization. Carefully read the position description and insert key words in your resume—if they accurately describe your qualifications. These key words are the ones that both human and computer scans quickly identify.

A friend reported sending out an average of 50 resumes a day until he realized he was only receiving more-than-automated responses from the two or three people he had met through networking. So, he shifted his outreach to a more targeted approach that focused on leads from his network, while editing individualized resumes that more clearly tied his experience to position descriptions. While his daily resume output dropped to two or three, he’s now hearing from more than half of those he’s contacting.

For additional insight into the value of optimizing your resume, check out The New York Times’ Workologist column on how to create a resume that grabs digital eyes. This blog also has discussed resumes in several prior posts, including Entry Level Resumes Should Be One Pag Only, Avoid ‘To Whom It May Concern’ and Resume Tweaking Season is Here.

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