Get Job Application Feedback Online

Some job search engines offer features that give feedback to job applicants who use their online services to apply for jobs. This offers you the opportunity to see how you compare to other applicants who use those services. It won’t help you learn anything about people who don’t go through the same service. Still, this could net some valuable information. Just keep in mind that you need to use these services judiciously and correctly. Read the article linked to this post for more details and good tips.

Online job searches are best done with an organized plan and with resumes customized for the job and set up specifically for electronic processing. Using appropriate key words and a bit of SEO work can help your resume make it to the top of the pile too. Don’t overdo it, but don’t try to use a one-size-fits-all form either. If you need help, it’s worth a few dollars to get it done right. There’s a reason job coaching and resume services stay in business. It’s gotten much more complicated due to all of the automation.

People with higher-level technical and executive searches, who want to manage their own search, can still benefit from having someone help with the writing and planning and tracking.  The new features on Career Builder and Monster may, or may not, be of benefit. It depends on the industry and type of search. Today, electronic searches are waged all the way up the line. Networking is great, but a good search can find unexpected opportunities too. The people I talk to tend to use both.

Does SEO help your resume?

There’s a lot of talk about the electronic resume screening systems.

Some people feel they are unfair because it allows the employer to disregard experienced candidates based on specific factors that may not really determine their ability to do the job. It is viewed by some as a way to narrow the applicant pool when companies receive 200-500 applications per job. That may be true in some cases.  However, if you are constantly finding yourself lacking a specific requirement, you either need to upgrade your skills or you are not looking for jobs that match your skills

Other people feel that these systems give technically literate folks a distinct advantage. It might in some ways. However, it’s a reality of our world that technical skills are required to work some of the most basic jobs. Many states have training programs for people who need to upgrade their skills to remain competitive. Ask at your state unemployment office.

If you have the technical skills and the job requirements in terms of education and experience, how can you help your resume move to the top of the pile? One way is to add SEO to your resume and cover letter. This doesn’t mean to go crazy stuffing your application materials with words. It does mean that properly phrasing and describing your experience can help. Getting past the automated screening tools and landing an interview may well be worth the cost of hiring a good resume writer and/or job coach.

How to format a resume

School graduation now happens all year long, and I get more questions than ever about resumes. I also get more complaints that it costs too much to get one done for new graduates.

Graduation puts new emphasis on the quality of students’ resumes. On the other hand, it also means more competition for the jobs that are available. A whole herd of people with similar skills hit the market all at the same time. That creates intense competition for some jobs.

Adults can’t afford to have a substandard resume either. Remember, your resume is the first impression a potential employer sees. If you wouldn’t go to an interview wearing your oldest sneakers, don’t go with a worn-out resume.

There are many ways to format resumes. However, most recruiters and employers prefer a basic, well-organized, simple document that is easy to read. Older adaptations, designed to minimize time out of the workforce or job gaps and frequent changes, don’t work well in the new electronic systems. Your goal is to get selected by that system and get to talk to someone who can hire you.  Don’t get overly creative.

Many people use templates on MSWord. That doesn’t mean you don’t need my services or that I can’t find ways to make it better. Do you know a simple thing like putting your name and address in the header can confuse the machines and get your resume discarded? It does mean you can get a presentable looking resume without help. I respect the fact some people don’t have any other option.

What job is best for students?

The Wall Street Journal ran an excellent article for students and parents. If you are helping a student find work or if you are a student seeking work, read this article. Things have changed, and the rules and ideas most parents grew up with no longer apply. You’ll come away with a new perspective and an better understanding of the market for underage workers.

Students, if you parents don’t get it, take a look at this article. It may help you validate your opinions when you talk to your parents. If they don’t think it’s still valid, check the employment statistics for people 18-30. In 2014, only 54% of the people in that age range were able to find work.

When You’re Unemployed and Underage

How to write a teenager’s resume

Teens and tweens don’t have traditional resume information. Some college students still lack a traditional employment history too. It’s the old story “you have to start somewhere.” That means it’s up to you to convince an employer to give you an opportunity. The first challenge is to create a meaningful resume without being so nontraditional that it means nothing to a potential employer.

Start by making a list of things that you’ve done throughout school. Include special school projects, awards, summer camps, workshops, clubs, small jobs, elective subjects studied. If you have an exceptionally high grade point average overall or in a particular topic, especially if that topic applies to the job you seek, list it.

Next, sort the list out chronologically (in order of dates). Look at each item and try to think of skills that are used and how those skills might apply to a job.  For example, a school crossing-guard or campus host for special events must be reliable, punctual, observant, follow the rules, and be polite. He or she deals with parents, teachers, and students every day. A student council member most often develops good listening and public speaking skills, follows meeting procedures, deals well with people, and is well organized.

If possible, avoid listing organizations with religions, sexual, or political attachment.  If you have nothing else or that’s the majority of your experience, use it–especially if you are under 18. In my personal opinion, employers are less influenced by these things when hiring students or part-time help. You can worry about being politically correct after you have a real job long enough to prove yourself.

Now, create the first draft of your resume from the information that is relevant to your job search by putting the information in reverse chronological order. That means you need to list the most recent experience first and work backward. Be sure to include start and end dates and the location, which includes school or business name, city, state, and person who supervised or taught you.

Make a list of potential references and their phone numbers. Don’t put the references on your resume. Just have them available on a separate sheet. Don’t list your MySpace or Facebook page either, unless it is totally clean and scholastic in appearance. If you have anything on your pages that is weird, wonky, funky, or possibly illegal, take it down before you look for a job. I’m serious.  Over 50% of employers really check social media and are influenced by what they find.

Read Resumes for Students for more tips. Most of the resume tips on my website also apply to students.