Is Your Job Search Stuck In The 90’s?

Nov 2 2010 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career advice

Are you applying to jobs on job boards? Are you submitting virtually the same resume to each position? Are you differentiating yourself with a cover letter?

Face it – Your job search is stuck in the 90’s.

Here’s some more examples of a 1990’s – era job search. See how many apply to you … and be honest here:

  • Are you applying to any job that you ‘could do’ – rather than just the ones you can do better than anyone else?
  • Are you listing your responsibilities over your accomplishments?
  • Does your resume have an objective statement?
  • Does your resume have a summary section?
  • Does your resume list the details of what you did in the 70’s, 80’s or early ‘90’s?
  • Does your resume list more than 3 subject matter expertises in the first section?
  • Does your resume contain any paragraphs?
  • Is your name printed in greater than 12 pt font?
  • Do you devote more space to your company or role more than what you’ve accomplished?

If your job search strategy employs any of these methods – you’re stuck in the 90’s.

In reality, most of us are still stuck in the 90’s when it comes to searching for a job. It’s what we were taught, it’s what worked for us the last time we looked for a job (if you ever even had to look for a job), and it feels comfortable.

All that’s fine, if you’re looking for a security blanket – it just doesn’t work when you’re looking for a job.

In a today’s job search, we operate under a new reality. You’re competing with hundreds or thousands of other candidates for each position. Employers are flooded with resumes and employ processes so they only have to look at 2-3% of the resumes sent. Less than 4% of employers make their interview decision based on cover letters. For those resumes that do get to a person, a rookie HR clerk (or junior recruiter) without experience in your field spends an average 15 seconds deciding if you’ll get an interview or go back into the database.

90’s job search methods just don’t work in this environment.

Here’s what does work today:

  1. Heavily customized and individualized resumes that show the employer how you’ve solved similar problems to what they face now
  2. A clear, concise, personal branding statement that tells the company in a single line how you can solve their problems
  3. Effective use of resume real estate – the top 1/2 of the first page
  4. Very selective bolding, used to grab the reader’s eye, rather than blind them with bold
  5. List accomplishments that mean something to the employer – that pass the employer’s ‘so what’ test
  6. Bulletpoints of two lines or less, not paragraphs
  7. Kill the summary section, or at least bury it in the back
  8. Don’t include the detail of jobs you did 20 years ago … just list the titles, company, and dates
  9. List no more than 2 subject matter expertises in your branding statement, or you’ll look like a jack-of-all-trades, master of none
  10. Take it easy on the font sizes – no more than 12pt. If you want to title your resume with your name in 18 point bold font, why not just animate so it sparkles and flashes in color?
  11. Describe your accomplishments, not your company or role – You want the employer to hire you, not your ex-employer
  12. Most importantly …

  13. Use job boards for research – but apply directly to the hiring manager
  14. This requires research beyond Google and beyond the company’s website. This requires talking to people at the company – before you send a resume.
  15. Lose the cover letter (unless required). Put everything you want to communicate into the resume – even if required, less than 10% of hiring managers even read cover letters. Virtually none of them base their decision on one.

Recruiters and employers – Can you comment and share other examples of job search tactics you’ve seen that are still stuck in the 90’s?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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