With the Spring Equinox later this week, many people are looking forward to the promise of spring and better weather. In this season of change and growth, nothing is more important than the annual spring cleaning – especially for your job search.
Spring cleaning involves taking a hard look at the corners that have gotten dusty from lack of use while sprucing up the tools you see every day.
Revitalize Your Resume
Does your resume look like it was written in the 80’s? If so, it is time to update that look and make sure the content is following the modern best practices.
Resumes are the ultimate “short attention span” documents. The latest statistics state that the HR recruiter or manager will only spend 6 seconds reading your resume before deciding if they want to invest real time into reading the content.
What are they looking for?
- Relevant work experience and education
- Targeted skills
- Quantifiable achievements, results, or scope of responsibilities
- A highly readable format
A modern resume needs to look good, read well, and above all, be relevant for the job you want. However, avoid the infographic style resume unless it is being sent directly to a human being. The visuals on a graphic resume will always make the online applications and screening computers choke.
Pass the Screening Computers
Regardless of how well written your resume is, chances are, you are going to be screened by a computer before it reaches a human being. Computers don’t care about the quality of the writing at all – they only react to key words. In fact, any resume needs a mix of both “Smart” and “Stupid key words.”
Smart key words relate to the actual job, such as “prospecting, negotiations, and account management” for a sales person. Stupid key words are those phrases that don’t really mean anything, like “excellent communication skills.” While we know this is boring writing, if HR is putting these phrases in the job description, it must be in the resume.
To successfully pass a screening computer, you must match 60-70% of the key words alone, and that includes both smart and stupid key words.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
90% of employers will look at your LinkedIn profile before calling you in for an interview (source: LinkedIn, 2016). With that staggering statistic, you better be putting some thought into what you put online. Just copying and pasting your resume into your profile is not going to give employers the additional information they want.
Plus, key words on LinkedIn work differently than the resume. On LinkedIn, you want to have the high value key words sprinkled throughout your profile to drive recruiters to your page.
Review Your Job Search Website Settings
While relying solely on job sites like Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter.com, and CareerBuilder.com is not an effective job searching strategy, you don’t want to completely dismiss these leads for potential employers. Instead, make sure your automatic settings and job alerts are in order to forward the right kinds of opportunities to you.
In particular, check:
- Your privacy settings. By posting your resume “Private” only, you will reduce the number of spam jobs and 100% commission sales jobs that you don’t want.
- Your job alerts or automatic emails. Make sure you are getting notices for the jobs that meet your criteria.
- To aid your sanity, only look at one job board a day, and then rotate them on a weekly basis. This will avoid seeing the same jobs over and over and will help you focus on the new opportunities when they appear.
Connect with Your Network
Part of managing your network is connecting with them on a regular basis. Spring is a great time to reach out to your contacts. The trick is to ask about them first before hitting them up with a pitch about your job search.
Follow Up on Past Job Leads
How long has it been since you followed up on an application or interview? How about researching companies for an opportunity in the hidden job market? If you aren’t sure, make it a best practice going forward to track all your activities and put follow-up activities in your calendar to make sure you don’t forget about a hot prospect.
Stop Doing Ineffective Job Search Tactics
The most important spring cleaning activities that most job seekers fail to do is review their strategies. What has yielded the most results? What has brought nothing but dead ends? What can be done to improve the numbers, such as reaching out to hiring managers directly?
It is said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. If what you are doing isn’t working, it’s time to mix it up.
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