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 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.

Interview Tips for Older Workers

Today, I’m adding a couple of quick interview tips to help you get through that rough re-enty when you’ve been out of the job market.

Interview Tips

Older workers, who are going back to work, may not know that many interview questions that used to be routine are now illegal. This also applies to job applicants of any age. Don’t volunteer information about family, age, or health.

If those questions come up, it can be awkward because you know you probably won’t get the job if you tell the interviewer his questions are illegal. There are several ways to handle it. You may nicely respond that you prefer not to discuss information that’s unrelated to the job. If you are not comfortable doing that, use a friendly, positive tone and say, “I’m sure I won’t have any problem meeting your expectations”, or “I’m totally prepared to devote my time to my job.” Above all, don’t volunteer information on these topics.

Resume Distribution Services

Don’t blast resumes to hundreds of companies that may not have an opening for someone with your skills. I’m sure there may be a success story someplace from someone doing that, but there are a lot more failures. The automated screening systems accept specific types of documents and formats, along with information completed by the applicant or someone acting on their behalf. Any system or service offering to distribute your resume for a low cost is not investing the time to complete individual applications. They don’t even care whether your resume gets to the companies. This type of thing seems to be dead. Still, sometimes old scams resurface. Don’t fall for it.

Posting Your Resume Online

If you want to post your resume on Indeed or Monster, that’s fine. Just be sure you take care to be sure you set all the privacy controls. It’s dangerous to have too much personal information visible. It’s not only a safety risk, it’s a risk for identity theft. Proceed with caution or get help from someone who knows how to manage those postings.

Six No-No’s During A Holiday Job Search

Keep up your job search over the holidays. Although you may be busy and want to forget the problems for a while, so does everyone else. Take advantage of the holiday season and keep actively looking for the right position. Be willing to schedule an interview the day before or the day after a holiday. Be available and demonstrate that your job search still has priority. If you are there, while someone else is out of town, you may end up on the short list in a hurry.  While this is the season to be jolly, there are some things you should not do.

  1. Don’t wear the Santa socks and a reindeer tie to the interview. Save the humor to entertain others after you are hired and know whether this company is a fit for your brand of humor.
  2. Don’t talk come to an interview obviously suffering from last night’s party.  If you can’t function at your peak, don’t party before an interview.
  3. Don’t bring gifts or food to an interview. Your heart may be in the right place, but those things may be against company policy.  Drop the food gifts on your friends, family, veterinarian, beautician, barber, doctor, and others.
  4. Don’t serve liquor, if you arrange a networking party during the holidays. You won’t have to worry about everyone getting home safe (there’s liability for hosts in some states). You also won’t have to worry about anyone misbehaving from over indulging.
  5. Don’t be late due to traffic or weather. Promptness demonstrates your ability to plan and control your schedule. Check the weather reports and allow enough time. If you are early, you can review your notes or take a few moments to visit the restroom and relax a bit. Of course, you don’t have control over flight cancellations or delays, but you do control your personal schedule and transportation.
  6. Don’t decorate your resume for the holidays. It will stand out, but not in the way you intend. Save your creative talents to help decorate at home.

Now, enjoy your holidays and keep looking for that perfect job. You could end up with a lot more reasons to celebrate!