Way way back in the year 2000, things changed.
They changed for the better for employers, but worse for most job seekers. Only the fortunate few who learned how to make these changes were able to make these changes work for them – and it gave them an Unfair Advantage. Sad thing is, this is still the state of today’s job markets.
What happened in 2000? 2000 was the first year that the majority of resumes were delivered digitally. And the whole game changed, but it was silent. Most job seekers still don’t understand the profound changes that occurred when hiring markets reacted to digital resumes, that affect today’s candidates.
Here’s 6 ways to make these changes work for you …
How can you be efficient as a candidate? Here’s 6 ways:
- Be specific in your resume, not a generalist: HR databases punish generalists, because they search for specific terms. Even managers need to stay away from describing general and leadership skills to be successful in the new paradigm (see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/04/subject-matter-experts-rule-best-of.html).
- Throw out cover letters: If the employer demands it, use a standard 2 line transmittal cover letter, stating the job title and that the resume is attached. Cover letters aren’t included in the search…employers strip them and don’t include cover letters in their database. Research I’ve published shows that 96% of hiring managers ignore cover letters, and 66% don’t even get them. It’s easy to customize your resume, so employers expect it and HR databases reward it. So why would you spend any time on a cover letter when you could be customizing your resume (see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/12/is-your-cover-letter-obsolete-tradition.html)?
- Heavily customize each resume you send: Employers reward resume customization. I don’t mean just add a word or two – Write your resume specifically to show how your subject matter expertise solves the target company’s or hiring manager’s problems, and helps the target company/manager meet goals (see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/09/differentiate-your-resume-with-winning.html).
- Use the target company’s own language: Don’t think that just because you’ve described your experience that it’s a match. The actual words need to match what the employers description to count in your favor. Cut and paste the employer’s language from the job description to use in your resume. This is counter intuitive – we were all taught not to copy, to put things into our own words, remember? Consider it to be a situation where copying is rewarded (see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/03/how-to-search-optimize-your-resume-pt-1.html).
- Make it perfect: Reviewers have a zero tolerance policy for resumes, because there are thousands of other applicants. Spelling and grammar count. Formatting, fonts, and lined up tabs and columns count.
- There are only two times in your life when you are perfect….when you are born, and on your resume The hiring manager expects and rewards a perfect resume, and throws out imperfection. Have 2-3 friends proofread. Have it read on screen, and have it read on paper.
Sounds like a lot of work? Sure, but you won’t have to waste your time sending so many resumes. These strategies drastically increase the efficiency and response rate of your resume, because you’ll focus your resume on what’s important to the hiring manager, the employers, using the actual language of the company to explain your awesome experience.
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