Job Hunting Advice

Posting and Blasting: The Internet and Your Resume

The internet has accelerated the job application process. Job seekers can view and reply to any of thousands of online job listings in the time it takes to send an email.

In addition to these listings, however, are sites that allow job seekers to post their resume online for viewing by potential employers who may have escaped the seeker's attention. Some sites upload the resume directly from the seeker's computer. Others guide the seeker through the process of creating a resume using questions and prompts. These sites may be of assistance to those having difficulty creating a resume on their own.

The proliferation of these job search sites - upwards of 1,700 according to - has created new bottlenecks even as it has removed others. Individually posting resumes to multiple sites can become as time-consuming as a mass mailing. Now, a host of additional sites will do this work for you. Resume "blasting" services forward your resume to multiple job search sites and, in some cases, to recruiters and directly to employers.

Those seeking employment in a particular profession may wish to check for sites specific to that profession. The number of listings in the seeker's geographic area is also worth checking. With so many sites and services available, the job seeker must seek out those which provide the greatest possible return.

Keywords: Their Importance in the Hiring Process

To underscore the importance of your resume grabbing an Employer's attention, consider what happens once it leaves your possession.

A newly arrived resume is often initially screened by a lower-level Human Resources staffer who skims each document to screen out less qualified candidates. An advertised job opening can receive hundreds of replies. Staffers consequently may spend as little as 15 to 30 seconds reviewing each resume.

Those resumes that pass the first screening are further reviewed with an eye towards matching up the candidate's qualifications with the requirements of the open position. The resumes that make it through are earmarked for the hiring manager's review. After this further review, the remaining candidates are finally contacted for interviews (wherein the screening process begins anew).

The initial screening is increasingly being automated. Recruiting software applications scan electronic resumes for specific keywords relating to an opening's core qualifications. These programs can be calibrated to screen a job seeker's years of experience and even distance to the job site. Offshore recruiting companies, furthermore, offer services ranging from resume scanning to initial telephone screening.

Smaller employers may attract fewer candidates for their openings and their review process tends to be less automated. One person may handle the process from start to finish.

Beating the Screen: Getting Your Resume to the Right Person

The advent of job posting boards and electronic screening programs has added a new dimension to the challenge of making your resume stand out from the crowd.

In order to attract viewers, a web site must appear as a search result to relevant browser searches - which may vary in wording. In the same way, your resume must be visible to net-surfing employers, recruiters, and electronic screeners. Embedded keywords increase your visibility.

Keywords are nothing more than industry specific terms that relate to the key tasks or requirements of a field or posting. You should be conscious of the most common buzzwords in your field and use them wherever appropriate. These terms can be concentrated in a Qualifications Summary section, but should be used throughout the document. The accompanying cover letter should likewise incorporate the use of these terms.

Although it is not practical to revamp your resume for every individual job opening, it is advisable to scan the text of each ad for the key terms and the way they are worded. Suppose your resume uses slightly different wording than an employer's ad - "managed the quality control department" instead of "directed a team of quality analysts," for example. If the employer's term can be used in your resume without altering its meaning, use the employer's term.

Professional Resume Services: Their Place in the Job Search

Once geared primarily towards high-powered professionals and executives, professional resume writing services have proliferated across the internet. Prices range from as low as $50.00 for some online services to upwards of $500.00 for some full-service providers.

The higher-end services, in particular, claim to offer job search counseling and marketing job strategies as part of the package. The process usually involves an interview with the writer who will probe for achievements or relevant experience you may not have thought to mention. In addition, most sites offer sample resumes and generalized job search advice.

The Professional Association of Resume Writers and the National Resume Writers Association offer credentials to their members, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) respectively. Each of these credentials requires passing a writing, composition, and proofreading examination. Keep in mind, however that this field has no licensing or credentialing requirement.

Also remember that many word processing programs and web sites offer free resume templates that can help you get started. Even if you do hire a service, you will still have to take an inventory of your education, skills, and employment history. Unless you are applying for high-level positions, it is worth your while to try writing your own resume first.

The Importance of Timing: When to Submit Your Resume

Advertised job openings usually generate a wave of replies in the first few days after their initial posting. Standing out amidst all these competitors is a difficult challenge. This, in turn, raises the question of whether the timing of your response can give you any advantage.

Many job seekers assume they should reply to an opening as soon as possible after it first appears in hopes of beating the rush and giving the appearance of punctuality. Many jobs seekers think a prompt response to an ad conveys interest, enthusiasm, and conscientiousness. Although it does not hurt to reply early, the hiring process can take weeks to months, and the person(s) with hiring authority will probably not be made aware of the date your application was received.

Some experts suggest that you wait until the initial rush of responses subsides, on the theory that your reply will get more attention from screeners when there are fewer competitors to screen. The use of computer scanners and screening programs renders much of this perceived advantage obsolete. Since the hiring process does take time, however, sending your response a week or so later often does no harm.

Keep in mind that smaller employers tend to have less automated and, in some cases, more ad hoc hiring procedures. These employers are sometimes swayed by an early or later response.

Old postings, those that were posted more than one or two months ago, are an often untapped resource. The hiring process is sometimes put on hold and has to be restarted (or the initial hire did not work out and has left). Even when the opening in question has been filled, the posting contains valuable information regarding the position title, job description, qualifications sought, and contact person. It is worth sending a query about any future or additional openings when an old posting reveals a particularly good match.

Paper versus Electronic Resumes: Their Relative Advantages and Disadvantages

The internet's pre-eminence as a job hunting tool has made mass resume mailings a thing of the past. Improvements in word processing technology, furthermore, have vastly improved the appearance and professionalism of the electronic resume.

Most employers and recruiters prefer to receive resumes as an email attachment. However, paper resumes are not a total anachronism. You may need to mail a resume to some small or very traditional employers. In addition, you should have several hardcopies on hand at a face-to-face interview.

Some companies require that applicants upload their resumes to their web site, so they can be screened and reviewed electronically. This will require that you create a text (.txt) file of your resume to upload, as the fonts, graphics, and special formatting used in word processing programs are not supported by most web applications. Most word processing programs allow you to save documents as text files. The new file should then be opened and double-checked for spacing and legibility.

Even when mailing a resume, you should keep in mind that the majority of paper resumes are scanned into a computer system and reviewed as an electronic document. If the scanned text is not legible, your resume may be rejected out of hand.

You can maximize the legibility of a paper resume by printing the document with black ink, on plain white paper. If you are faxing the document, you should additionally consider removing underlines, italics, or boldface in the text.

Most employers will not exclude candidates simply for using a paper or electronic resume. If the issue is in doubt, however, take your cues directly from the employer.

Revising Your Resume: Necessary Changes

If your job search efforts are getting little to no response, revising or rewriting your resume may be in order.

Revision may also be advisable if the same objection comes up repeatedly in interviews. Certain objections, such as a lack of experience, can be addressed by including any job duties previously left out. Changing format from a chronological to a functional resume often helps put your transferable skills in a better light.

A change in circumstances, such as a new job, degree, or contact information is also cause for revision. Being given new responsibilities at your current job also warrants an updated resume.

It is not uncommon for a job seeker's career objective to change during the course of a job search. If this happens, you should rewrite your resume to reflect your new objective as well as highlight the qualifications that will help you to achieve it.

Be sure to read over any modified entries for clarity and sense. You should also take the opportunity to make sure that your contact information is correct and up to date. It is also an opportune time to do an appearance check and possibly experiment with new fonts or text size.

Job seekers get surprisingly attached to their resumes. Keep in mind, however, that the ultimate barometer of its worth is the interest it generates from hiring authorities.

Web Resumes: Special requirements and Considerations

Many job seekers post a copy of their resume online for employers to see. It is now possible to take the next step, and actually create a web page for your resume.

Web resumes, also known as HTML resumes, allow the writer to provide a more detailed career summary with direct links to additional promotional content. Actors, musicians, and film-makers, for example, can add links to photos and audio/video files. Writers can link up samples of their work. Technology professionals, particularly web site designers, also use this medium to demonstrate their skills.

Creating a web resume is more complex and time consuming than creating a traditional resume. You will need software to create and edit your content and web space to post it. Pricing for the software ranges from free to several hundred dollars, depending on the features offered. Internet service providers often provide free web space with your subscription but may require that you run advertising on the page.

Keep in mind that the use of web resumes has not yet reached the mainstream. Those who do create a web resume often find they still need a traditional resume to mail (or email). The web resume remains a novelty outside of the creative arts and technical fields, but its use is likely to grow as people establish a personal presence on the web.

Last Updated: 05/23/2014

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