I’m often asked what the secret to finding a good job is and how to make a résumé standout from everyone else’s, especially in electronic applicant tracking systems like ours at SilkRoad.
I’ve put together some tips to help job seekers not only navigate the tangled web of thousands of on-line Jobs, but more importantly, differentiate themselves from the thousands of job seekers vying for the same positions.
Due to a general influx of available job seekers, more and more recruiters are relying on software to help wade through these candidates and find the right fit. These tools allow recruiters to search virtually all fields related to applicants, which makes it essential to complete as many of the fields during the application process as possible.
Your résumé is still one of the most powerful weapons you have as a job seeker, not only because it’s your opportunity to present yourself as the best candidate for the job, but also because many of the “applicant tracking systems” being used today auto-rank candidates based on the content of the resume and allow recruiters to perform searches against all of its content.
Tips: Here are a few things you can do to help make your résumé stand out:
- Don’t rely solely on a résumé. Completing all of the fields during the application process, in addition to having a strong résumé this is the best way to stand out from the pack.
- At the bottom of my résumé I include a skill cloud. Simply put, it’s a series of keywords and phrases that you want to be associated with. This ensures that when a keyword or ranking is done automatically by any applicant tracking system your name will appear. Be careful not to overdo it, 10-15 words is enough without being obnoxious.
- Clean up your act. Job seekers should also remember that in this age of social transparency it’s not just your professional profile that’s on-line, so always be careful of the content and contributions you make on-line, especially on places like Twitter and Facebook.
Your Cover letter
Cover letters, although not always required, are a nice way of targeting an employer. You may not change your résumé every time you apply to a different company, but changing the cover letter is a great way of selling yourself to an organization.
With roughly 70% of all jobs coming through some sort of network, it only makes sense that applicants should also take advantage of these benefits. Leverage sites like LinkedIn where you can tap into your existing connections while making new ones, increasing your likelihood of landing the perfect job.
There are a lot of great places to search on-line for career opportunities. Let’s review a few of the key places to consider when determining where to start your job search.
- Most organizations have some degree of on-line presence for employment opportunities, not only to post their jobs, but also to deliver their brand message and core content to job seekers. The benefit to the job seeker is a robust, high touch experience where they can research the organization and what it’s like to work there, before they ever decide to apply. This is a great place to start if you have a target list of companies that you’re interested in, perhaps by industry or trade. If you don’t have a list, a simple Google search should help you zero in on some companies to visit.
- Most organizations allocate some level of spend to job postings. The tough part for the job seeker is determining which board they spend their dollars with. Of course, a quick search should help determine this but there are also a variety of sites such as Simply Hired and Indeed that aggregate and house jobs from thousands of websites, making the search process easier as well.
- With the rapid spread of social networking technology many companies are leveraging these sites as part of their overall strategy. A great example of this is LinkedIn.
To learn more about where to find your next dream job, check out our blog post on recruitment marketing effectiveness. It’s a great view of where companies are finding the best talent.
We would love to hear your tips for preparing and searching for job opportunities, what’s worked, and what hasn’t!