Top 5 Job Search Tips
There is a lot of information available that offers advice on job searching. The problem isn’t finding enough information; rather, the problem is being overwhelmed with far too much information. How do you know what works? The job search tips listed below were gathered from our extensive history of helping clients get the jobs they deserve and have proven their efficacy.
- Understand Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
All companies today use some form of an applicant tracking systems (ATS), which are the computer systems used by organizations to manage the flood of applications they receive. The potential employer’s ATS will quickly scan your resume and rank/score your qualifications compared to the posted job description. Only those applicants who receive high scores on the ATS will get pulled-up for an HR person to actually look over. A study conducted by Glassdoor (2017) revealed that the average employer will receive 250 resumes for each position listed.
Resumes listed with the most frequent and greatest total number of keywords will rise to the top of the list; however, TheLadders (2017) conducted a study and showed that the average recruiter spends 6-seconds reviewing a resume! This means that simply having a keyword rich resume pull up in the database is not enough. The resume should reflect the necessary skills/competencies required for the job, clearly showcase the “value” a candidate could bring beyond the generic job description, and be a maximum of two-pages.
- Break Down Job Descriptions
The best method for ensuring your resume reflects the necessary keywords is to narrow your focus to jobs that you are most qualified for. Ideally, you want your resume to match at least 70% of the required skills/experience posted. Focusing on a specific job title or position will be far more powerful than applying for multiple types of positions that you may partly qualify for. CareerBuilder (2016) conducted a study and showed that the number #1 thing employers want to see from candidates are resumes that are tailored to the open position.
You want to list specific examples of how you delivered on the requirements of the job listings. A powerful resume will not only pull up through the ATS from the keywords matched but describe exactly how the candidate incorporated the requirements/keywords from their experience. Remember, a resume is a marketing document designed to get you an interview. The strongest resumes will include keywords, how the candidate incorporated the requirements/keywords in from their experience, and clearly identify a candidate’s achievements and value that they’ve added.
- Network With The Right People
The most important objective with job hunting is to connect with the people who can make the decision to hire you. If this is not feasible, then seek to connect with people who know and work for them that can potentially connect you or give you a referral. Connecting with the right people who can offer you a job is the only way to get hired. An intelligent networking strategy will significantly increase the chances of getting an interview. The single best way to apply for jobs is to personally know someone and directly send them your resume who will pass it on to the hiring manager and give you an endorsement. Short of personally knowing someone who can immediately help you gain employment, there are four types of networks to consider: 1) LinkedIn, 2) professional associations, 3) alumni networks, and 4) personal/community networks.
A report published by Jobvite (2016) highlighted that nearly 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to further examine candidates. LinkedIn is by far the most important element professional networking site and not having one will severely reduce your chances for an interview. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially an extension of your resume with two exceptions. First, a LinkedIn profile will have a professional headshot picture for recruiters to see. Think of your headshot as the face of your brand. Second, a LinkedIn profile isn’t limited to a two-page resume format and may include projects completed, professional associations, volunteer work, publications, patents, skills endorsed by others, and other information that presents a more complete picture of a candidate.
A powerful network of connections with your professional community will greatly enhance your job search effectiveness. A membership in a professional association can help you stay abreast of skills that are in demand and usually offer additional training to make you more marketable. Being part of an alumni association can provide another good networking platform. As with the professional association, you can connect with alumni who work (or have worked) for specific companies that you are targeting to get the inside scoop and potentially a referral. You should identify as many potential references as possible when you first begin your job search since knowing someone personally is the best way to get a job. Connecting with previous work associates or supervisors is an excellent way to stay in touch.
- Don’t Forget About Executive Recruiters
This is another way to network within the market. Local and national recruitment agencies can become your advocate and represent you for various positions. You can perform a search for recruiters in the area you wish to find employment and contact them via phone or email. You will submit your resume (either for a specific position or just for any position that may be a good fit for you) then the agency will attempt to match your qualifications with any job orders they may have. Also, some recruiters may contact various companies and tell them they have an expert (you) in a specific field. This is a free service to you that should not be overlooked.
- Use The Most Effective Job Boards
The main thing to understand about job boards is that employers will use keyword searches to find a specific candidate. LinkedIn has become the candidate database of choice for recruiters and is where your job search should begin since you can apply for jobs directly and see exactly who’s working at the companies you apply for. Glassdoor is another powerful job board and includes a company’s reputation, employee reviews, and salaries for many positions. Indeed is a comprehensive job board that allows you to search millions of job listings from thousands of websites, job boards, newspapers, blogs, company career pages, and associations to find job listings that match or are similar to your search query. Indeed has parlayed the power of jobs SEO/search into a dominant business model. Finally, Google is the king of the internet and recently entered the job board game with Google for Jobs. Google for Jobs includes job postings from LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor (and other major job boards) along with incorporating job postings hosted directly from individual company’s own websites. Following these top 5 job search tips will significantly increase your chances for landing an interview!
Understanding ATS, effectively breaking down job descriptions, networking with the right people who can make the decision to hire you, working with executive recruiters, and using the most effective job boards gives you a comprehensive overview of the application/hiring process. Incorporating these top five job search tips will significantly increase your chances of landing an interview and getting the job you deserve.
How well does your resume market you? Find out with our free resume review!