As a HR expert, job-seekers ask me for advice for job search strategies and resume writing tips that will give them an edge over other applicants negotiating the toughest job market within the last 40 years. From hiring thousands of employees over my 25 year career through screening 10,000+ resumes received from applicants for those jobs, patterns emerge from winning applicants. Here’s a list of tips guaranteed to help you land your next job.
Top 10 Job Search and Resume Building Tips:
- Decide what job you want. Focus on what industry, size of company, number of employees, management style, etc. that you want in your next job. Reflect upon your career history to a time and place where you were the most satisfied with your work and use it to build a profile of your next job. Visualize it; think about how it will feel once you’re there in your new office. Write down where it is, who you’re working for, what kind of a work environment it is, and see yourself physically there. Revisit your profile often as you continue through your job search to maintain your focus and realize your goals for your next job.
- Build multiple resumes that support your job seeking goals. Your resume format should look different based upon your current situation or the kind of job you’re seeking. Consider what kind of job you’re seeking then pick the type of resume that will highlight your best qualities. Research different resume formats such as skills based or chronological resumes. Create several resumes with each one tailored to a specific job you’re seeking. Don’t send out one generic resume to every employer.
- Always write and submit a cover letter with your resume. The cover letter is a highly effective tool that you can use to stand above the competition. Use it to address job requirements and minimum qualifications found in the job’s advertisement. Demonstrate how your background, work experience, skills and education can meet the company’s challenges in filling this job. Use the cover letter to answer the employer’s question of what can you do for them?
- Quantify and highlight your professional achievements. This is not a time to be shy. No one else is going to sell you as the great employee that you are except for YOU! Reflect upon your key accomplishments at every job that relates to the job you’re seeking, then build bullet points showcasing them under the corresponding job. Whenever possible, quantify the scope of your achievement and always reveal your results.
- Carefully proofread your resume. Be absolutely sure that no words are misspelled or inadvertently omitted. My son, a recent college graduate is job hunting now. One recruiter picked up on a typo in his resume that both of us missed, which was embarrassing. Typos lead to the wastebasket; don’t let your resume end up there. 6. Don’t include personal information in your cover letter, resume or social networking sites. Omit your political affiliation, religious beliefs, hobbies, personal family information, clubs you belong to, or any information that does not relate to the job or your professional capabilities. If you’re online in social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, clean up your profile. Recruiters are going there to check you out before they extend a job offer. Don’t let your online presence cost you your professional livelihood.
- Use “keywords” to enhance your resume’s screening chances with automated recruiting systems. Consider the job’s advertisement from a search engine perspective by identifying and utilizing “keywords” above the fold in your resume. You’ll want to include as many keywords or phrases copied directly from the ad, built into meaningful copy in your resume to increase your chances of being selected for an interview.
- Learn best practices for conducting your job search, writing effective cover letters and resumes or hire a professional to help you. There are lots of books on these subjects. A couple of my favorites: “What Color Is Your Parachute: 2009,” by Richard Nelson Bolles and “Knock ’em Dead 2009: The Ultimate Job Search Guide” by Martin Yate.
- Tell the truth. The majority of people lie somewhere within their resume’s content, either about degrees earned, education received, dates worked or salary earned, or self-employment facts. With a glut of people in the job market, employers are ramping up their screening process to include running background checks on prospective employees. Don’t lie. It could cost you your next job.
- And finally, believe in yourself. If you don’t, no one else will. It’s tough to continually be rejected, most of the time not hearing any response from companies where you’ve applied. Find ways to keep your morale up in order to be a real contender. Have confidence that you will land in a good place; it simply will take longer now than it did before for you to find your next venture.
***** Remember, your objective is to get your foot in the door for an interview where you have the opportunity to sell yourself. To use a baseball analogy, you want to get to first base so that you can continue to be a viable competitor for the job. Identify and eliminate all potential information barriers so that you don’t strike out.
Yet you need to find a way to also personalize yourself in your application and identify your unique selling proposition. You can achieve this by providing selective input about who you are, your values and beliefs and how they would contribute to the hiring company.
Use these top 10 job search and resume building tips to enhance your job search and stand out amongst your competition.