If you’ve been out of work for some time or recently fired/laid off then this post is for you. As the time goes by and job fairs are posted it seems as though they can’t get here fast enough. You focus so much energy on shooting out as many resumes as you can in hopes that one recruiter bites. Well, not so fast, you’re literally competing with thousands of other people out of work with the same or better qualifications. So how do you get back in the game? How long will it take you to get back into work? Reader’s Digest gives us the following tips and pointers:
How Long Before you Get Back To Work?
You may need three months to get an entry-level position, but landing an executive spot may require a six- to twelve-month search, says Cheryl Lynch Simpson. In fact, one popular rule of thumb suggests you should expect to search one to two months for every $10,000 in salary you want (a $50,000 job could mean a five- to ten-month hunt). Employers are taking their time. In past years, they were willing to fast-track hiring before competitors could snatch up the best candidates, says Michael Erwin of career builder.com. But now employers scrutinize applicants in several rounds of interviews before investing money and manpower to train them.
This makes sense from a practical standpoint. Employers are getting more applications and resumes for one position and want to make sure they get it right the first time. This is also where making sure that your first impression counts. You have once chance- stand out from the crowd.
How To Stand Out
How do you stand out when you’re competing with literally thousands of other applicants? You’ll need to catch the recruiter’s eye and use the same buzzwords as the job posting. If a recruiter spends 30 seconds looking over your resume, that’s generous, the average is more like 3-5 seconds. If you don’t give them what they’re looking for in that space of time then your resume gets tossed. Same for the scanners that scan your resume for keywords, give them what they want!
- Place your objective and education at the top of your resume if you have a relevant degree or if one is required for the position. Please ditch the summary AND objective, takes up too much screen space. One or the other please.
- If you don’t have a degree and the job requires one but your experience and training fit the bill, then place your education (or lack thereof) on the bottom of the resume and highlight your accomplishments starting off with a summary. Then you can launch into your present/past positions making sure that you quantify each one. You’ll see this through the article, stay away from regurgitating your job description. Show them how you went above and beyond and what you’ve done that made a difference in your organization.
- Send your resume as part of the email and not as an attachment. This way recruiters see your resume without having to open an attachment. You can send as an attachment but be sure to paste within the email as well for optimum exposure.
- Look at your resume and scan the job post, how can you honestly and ethically marry up what they are looking for and what you have to offer. Describe your accomplishments, please don’t write your job description. Quantify your experience by giving the person reviewing your resume an idea of who you are within the scope of your position and not your job description.
- Flaunt Your Personal Brand.
Thanks to hosting sites like visualcv.com, coroflot .com, and carbonmade.com, you don’t have to be tech-savvy to create a digital résumé or e-portfolio. And you control access, unlike with a personal website. Start with your résumé, then add supporting information-examples of your work, sales charts, published articles, letters of recommendation, images, or videos. “It’s an opportunity to build your personal brand,” says Pierce Resler of VisualCV.
- Rev Up Your Resume and Quantify Your Experience
So What Test
If you say, ‘I managed six people,’ ask yourself, ‘So what?’ But saying ‘I managed six people with no turnover’ does answer the question. Résumés are all about results.”
You’ll also want to use strong, specific action verbs to highlight your results. “Worked, for instance, is a weak and overused word,” says Randall Hansen. “Use collaborated or led.” Here are a few more verbs that can help put the action back into your job search:
Check back this week for 9 Recession Proof Careers.