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Deborah Walker

Calling All Recruiters — Is Anyone Out There?

You’ve applied to dozens of job opportunities online and no one is responding. Is it your timing? Your résumé? Read on.

January 17, 2008
by Deborah Walker, CCMC

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 résumés and gotten little or no response, it probably feels like you’re sending your résumé into vast black holes. Do you feel like shouting, “Hey, is anyone out there?”

If so, here are three tips to help you improve the odds of having your résumé seen by a real person who can offer you a real job:

  1. Include Key Words

With the paper résumé a thing of the past, employers use “candidate tracking databases” to store your résumé. Recruiters and hiring managers use key words to query and find the candidate résumés that match the job. If you aren’t using the right words to describe your employment experiences, then your résumé might be rejected before it’s ever seen. Review the key words your résumé 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 phrases that may label you as behind the times.

  • Attract your occupational field. Does your résumé give the impression that you are cutting-edge or over-the-hill? Make sure your résumé shows why you’re a good choice for the job.

  1. Use the Correct Electronic Version

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

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

  • If an e-mail 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 résumé before sending it so that it is still easy to read and user-friendly.
  1. Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd

With hundreds of candidates to choose from, what makes your résumé shout Pick me!? If your qualifications are similar to 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 résumé 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 résumé won’t be ignored. Before you apply online again, use these three tips to make sure your résumé gets the attention it deserves!

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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.