When speaking about job searching, the first thing most people say is “time to update and distribute my résumé.” However, as a recent US News article by Hannah Morgan points out, “Your odds of receiving a call from an employer based on a résumé you posted on a job board are as good as winning the lottery without buying a ticket.”
When it comes to the time spent by the hiring agent in reviewing the résumé, most say it is an average of about six to ten seconds. A quick glance, looking for keywords, phrases, etc. that will catch their attention. Most people do not have those properly formatted, and so it is off to the next application. The same can be said with many companies that use scanners to capture the content and categorize things. Keywords are king and must be included. So, rather than relying on the résumé to get their attention, there are some steps that are suggested to assist in getting to the next step in the job search process.
Self-Assessment: Take a look at your recent career tasks, and make note of all of the skills you have used to accomplish the tasks. Jot these down as well as any other related skills that you have real strength in. Knowing what is in your toolbox will help in determining what job to pursue.
Set Your Targets: Look around and determine what companies are in your desired area, and research them to see which have positions that would be a good match for you and your skills. At this point, do not be concerned with if they have a job posting listed, simply locate applicable companies.
Network: Once you have a target company (or a few), look for ways to network with others at those companies. Maybe you can attend public events they may have, or locate and connect with them on social media outlets, or ask your current contact list if they know of anyone there that they could introduce you to. Making connections, that is the goal.
Gather Information: When you do make connections, do not jump right in and ask for job opportunities. Simply gather information, ask questions about the company, network further with others more closely related to your desired position – build relationships. Compile the researched information, noting what skills are needed and required at the company. Knowing what skills they currently use on the job, will assist you in better targeting your résumé with the related keywords to match. This is also helpful in determining if you need to add or brush up on any skills.
When the time arises to finally seek to apply for a position, make sure your résumé is tightly focused and aimed directly at the position you have been working toward. Then, connect with those you may have networked with, letting them know you are interested in a position. See if they know of a best way to get your résumé into the right hands quicker, or anything else they may be able to do from the inside. A reference on the inside tends to carry more weight in most companies.
While your résumé is important, it will work better for you in you use it along with additional planning and research. Simply tossing one here and there and hoping to snag something is not the best way to go.
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