Your eResume: Five Tips For Getting Noticed In An Online Job Search
Since most companies recruit online these days, applying for jobs is faster and easier. But electronic job hunting can make it hard to stand out as the right candidate. Here are some tips to get your application some attention.
In the good old days when applying for jobs meant circling classified ads and mailing paper resumes, there was a possibility that some savvy recruiter might fish yours out of the teetering stack of applications and see your potential.
This is close to impossible with online submission. Most larger, more sophisticated
HR Departments scan all resumes into programs that filter entire applications based on keywords. If you’re replying to an online ad looking for Xerox machine salesmen,the program you’re going to be filtered through won’t recognize you unless the word “Xerox” is somewhere on your resume.
The best thing to do is to target your application as carefully as you would if you were knocking on doors in person. You don’t need to remake your resume from scratch, but have a couple of variations on your hard drive just in case. If it’s a job that you really want, target your application with laser accuracy. The closer you are to the keyword profile the scanner is looking for, the more likely it is you’ll wind up with an interview.
Write for ASCII
Graphics, fonting, and a stick of gum taped onto your cover letter are a thing of the past. Resume scanners are often confused by fancy text.. It will be reformatted into plain old ASCII text, the kind you’d see in the Notepad program that was preloaded on your PC.
If you’re submitting online, take off all the bells and whistles. That means: The only thing that should be on the top line is your name. No graphics, shading, lines, or bars. Don’t use bullets. Use numbers or even hyphens instead. Keep your fonts all one size. Use the left margin instead of centering text.
Write a Cover Letter From Scratch, Every Time
Once resumes have been scanned and sorted into the accept and reject piles, the second step is to, yes, actually read the cover letters of each candidate. This is your opportunity to show yourself, so don’t waste it with a canned letter. Write to the recruiter personally and highlight your skills and experience. It’s the first time you’ll be communicating with the company so don’t let those three paragraphs go to waste.
Don’t forget your Social Media
Having an updated bio on LinkedIn with lots of experience and connections can make you look like a hot property. However, if you are not that connected and you don’t have a lot of experience, don’t create a profile. Instead, clean up your Facebook page, put job experience highlights at the top, and affiliate yourself with groups and projects that show you in a good light. If you don’t have a Facebook page, consider creating one. While you’re on a job hunt, it can’t hurt to get your name out there.
Rethink Monster and other Megasites
On the other end of your online submission is an email box at the employer’s domain where someone is receiving them. Usually it’s a box set up just to receive resumes. In larger companies your resume is dumped with all the others into the scanner for processing. With smaller employers, however, there’s a chance it may sit in that email account for weeks or be passed over unopened. Yes, it happens a lot.
Instead, think about doing some research on your own into promising companies and look for recruiting pages on their own site. You can do further research by sifting through their Contact page to see if you can find the name of a hiring manager. When your resume and cover letter arrive through the company website, addressed to the correct person, you might end up being glad you took the extra time.