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 is a master resume?

Do you know what I mean when I say you need a master resume? I mean you need one solid document that spells out every detail of your career life from day one. It should include the dates of employment, names and addresses of employers, job descriptions, college jobs and job gaps, salary history, promotions, key words, key accomplishments, training, several close coworkers names and contact information (personal, as well as business, because people change jobs), supervisors names and contact information, your personal addresses, and even why you left that job. You may even want to include a statement that you develop to put a good spin on a job that had a questionable ending. This document is for you and only you.

I’m sure you now wonder why your basic resume isn’t good enough. One reason is that your career will span decades. You won’t remember the details twenty years in the future. Now, I can hear some of you saying that everyone knows you drop jobs that go back more than ten years off of the resume. That is often true for job hunting. However, it won’t help you when you need to track down a retirement account after the company name changed three times. Worse yet, you may have moved and forgotten to notify them. It also won’t help you when you get an offer for a government job that requires a background check that may go back many, many years. These projects require accurate details right down to zip codes, neighbor’s names, and phone numbers. No one knows they need this information until they need it.

A much more important reason is to make targeted resumes and interviews stronger. A master resume makes it easy to have several well focused resumes prepared. These can be modified quickly to personalize the response to each opportunity. The master also documents useful details to make your cover letter stand out. It’s easy to prepare for interviews and answer those tough stress questions when you have accurate information to offer. In addition, you create a long term networking and reference tool too.

My way of doing this is to create the master document and format it. Then, I can save it several times as a new document and strip the unnecessary information, along with adding specific details for multiple targeted job searches (such as a resume for a management position and a resume for a lead technical position). Be careful doing this! It’s critical not to leave in the wrong information. You won’t get a job by telling the employer how you reworded the reason you left a job where you hated the boss.

If you just need a little help, I have special discounts for quick reviews and tips. I also offer a full set of services, including resume(s), cover letter(s), interview preparation, and job search set-up, monitoring, and strategies.