Job searching has changed drastically in the last 10 years. Technology has impacted both the resources companies use to whittle down an applicant pool and the speed at which people work, giving recruiters and hiring managers less time to review resumes.
Are you using an objective statement and/or stating your desires in a cover letter? These are just two no no’s today, and you need to update your approach. In short: it’s not about you, it’s about the employer. Here are five things that you need to be aware of before you apply.
How Resumes Have changed
Career Summaries – Employers on average spend less than 30 seconds reviewing a resume, so you don’t have much time to make a first impression. Despite utilizing Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), hiring managers and recruiters have less time these days, as many companies have cut personnel to save on costs. Include in your resume a specific summary of your work history, top skills, and notable achievements. In other words: what stands out the most and/or what are you recognized for as a professional?
Job Descriptions – In the past, you could simply list your duties for each position, mirroring your job description. This no longer works. You need to take the employer’s viewpoint and show examples of what you’ve done, which helps them visualize what you can do for them.
Keywords – Keywords are words or phrases that you find in a job posting, typically under qualifications or requirements. You may think it’s clear in your resume that you possess those skills, but if you’re not using the exact terminology and applying it to examples of your work wherever they apply to you, you won’t get through ATS systems.
Old Categories – Information such as basic computer skills and writing “references available on request” date you. Unless these elements are specifically requested in a job posting, you don’t need them.
Gaps and Short Employment Periods – While these are no longer uncommon, be transparent. If it’s not apparent why there is a large gap in your work history, consider how to address it, because an employer may move on due to confusion. Their time is valuable, so make you worth their while. Give them the information. You don’t need to go into excruciatingly personal detail, but it’s a good idea to address layoffs if you’ve had a series of them and/or personal issues that have resulted in work gaps.
Why the Internet Reigns
An employer will do a Google search before interviewing you. Make sure the top search results are things you want the recruiter to see.
But Don’t Discount Networking
Years ago, the most common way of applying to and getting jobs was through blind online applications. Today, you need to approach your search by applying to postings and networking/developing contacts. Find people who are doing what you want to be doing and talk to them about what they do. Ask for introductions if you need to or mention mutual connections; yes, this is considered normal today.
How to ace your Cover letter
Cover letters are not as widely used but are still requested or accepted by many companies. Unless you’re applying to a conservative organization or field such as academia, scientific research, or law, keep it to less than one page and use bullets to highlight the skills you offer that they ask for in the job posting. Instead of listing what you’ve done to support each of those skills, summarize examples from your work history. Don’t repeat your resume verbatim. The cover letter should offer new information or go more in depth about what is in your resume.
Over the years and with the growth of technology, many things about job searching have changed. Today, you need to put yourself in the employer’s shoes as you write and think, “how can this person (i.e., you) help our company?” Provide examples from your work history to make direct connections between what they want and what you have done, as this will show them how you can help them. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to landing interviews and job offers.