How Recruiters Read Your Resume

Many employers enlist the help of staffing agencies to help them fill open positions, both permanent and temporary, which means your resume needs to get through a recruiter before it is ever seen by the hiring manager. So in order to optimize your resume for review by a recruiter, you need to know what goes through a recruiter’s head as they read it.

First, before a recruiter even opens your resume, you have to give them a reason to do so.  Recruiters are inundated with dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes per day. This means your cover letter needs to draw a recruiter in and make them want to take the next step, which is reviewing your resume. Your cover letter should be brief and to the point, quickly listing why you are a qualified candidate. The brevity is important because recruiters receive so many applications per day – they are not going to spend too much time reading a full-page essay about your entire work history.

So you’ve gotten a recruiter to open your resume, now what? Again, recruiters are extremely busy professionals who are often working to fill multiple job openings at once. They quickly scan through a resume looking for certain key words and experience before moving on to the next one. This is why it’s important for you to closely review the job description and/or posting before applying, and then update your resume appropriately. If the job posting says they are looking for candidates with sales, PowerPoint, and nonprofit experience then make sure all three of those words are easily found within your resume – ideally more than once!

It’s also important to note that recruiters spend the majority of their days looking at resumes, so they’ve learned to spot inconsistencies. This is why it’s important for you to always be 100% truthful with the information on your resume. By sending your resume to a client, a recruiter is putting their relationship with that client, as well as their own professional reputation on the line. They will not send a resume if they believe a candidate might have fibbed about their dates of employment, title, or work experience. You should also know that if a recruiter thinks there might be an inconsistency on your resume, they will not hesitate to investigate it, so always be upfront and truthful both on your resume and in your correspondence with a recruiter.

A recruiter will also hesitate to send any resume that is poorly written or contains multiple spelling and grammar mistakes. Again, their reputation is at stake when sending a bad resume. They do not want to tarnish their relationship with their client by sending a resume filled with grammatical errors, especially when there are tons of other resumes in their inbox that might be well-written. For this reason, you need to double- and triple-check your resume for any inconsistencies, or grammatical or formatting errors. At the end of the day, both your potential job and their job/reputation as a recruiter are on the line.

By understanding a recruiter’s mindset when reviewing your resume, you can get a leg-up on your competition and ensure your resume will catch the eye of the next recruiter who sees it.

The Importance of Building Relationships with Networking Contacts

As we have said time and time again, networking can be the key to you finding (and landing) your dream job! The problem is that many professionals get lazy after making a connection with a new networking contact and fail to follow up afterwards. For example, you meet someone who works in your desired industry, or works for a staffing agency that specializes in placements in that industry. You discuss your job search and exchange business cards with a promise to keep in touch, but you never hear from them again, nor do you reach out to them on your own. Failing to follow-up with a networking contact could potentially result in you missing out on a great opportunity, so read our advice below and learn how to properly follow-up in a way that can benefit your career.

 

  • The first step would be to research your new contact. Google them and/or connect with them on LinkedIn to learn more of their own work history and how it could benefit you.
  • Next, you should reach out via phone or email within two weeks of meeting them. Sending even a brief email can help to cement your initial connection. For example, say that it was a pleasure to meet them and you would definitely like to connect again soon.
  • Setting up another meeting, such as having lunch or meeting for coffee, would be your next step. Bring a copy of your resume with you, and discuss your career goals so that you can see whether or not your new contact would be able to aid you in your job search.
  • After having a meeting with your contact, it’s important to continue to follow-up and stay in touch. Check in with them every couple of weeks or so in order to keep your connection strong.

 

How to Get to Work on Time

Every successful employee has one thing in common: they get to work on time. Bosses like people who get to work on time. They don’t like people who are late all the time.

It helps to prepare for your morning the night before. When you’re ready to turn in for the night, it’s easy to tell yourself that you will be able to get everything for your day ready in the morning. It always seems much harder when you wake up. The clock counts down on you without mercy as you scramble to get out the door.

Here are some things you can do the night before a job to make your morning smoother and get you to work on time.

  • Make a dressing station:
    • Iron your work clothes for the next day and hang them up in one place. Put your shoes under them – ready to throw on. Lay your socks, t-shirts, ties and and/or any other accessories nearby. Now you won’t be making a frenzied search for these items in the early morning while the clock ticks down.
  • Make a food station:
    • Pack your lunch the night before. You may think you will pack it in the morning – not very likely.
    • Get your coffee travel mug, water bottle etc. staged in one area, ready to go.
    • Put water, coffee and a filter in your coffee machine in the evening. In the morning, simply push the button and enjoy the invigorating aroma of some fresh java. Your caffeine fix is on the way!
  • Plan your route:
    • Print out a map of where you are going the night before.
    • For smartphone users, have the address written down somewhere so that you can plug it into your phone’s map program. Don’t rely on just putting it in your phone – it could get deleted.
    • Make a habit of looking at where you are going the night before, and plan out how long it will take you to get from door to door.  Add 15 minutes for delays!

These tips are simple and may seem obvious. But they can help you to avoid being that panic-stricken person sprinting to the Metro in the early morning.

 

Random Resume Tips

Your resume should evolve as frequently as your career does, so you should constantly be improving and editing it while on the job hunt. To help you, we’ve provided a list of random tips you should keep in mind the next time you go to edit your resume’s content.

  1. In your job descriptions, list your responsibilities in order of importance and significance. If managing your company’s social media pages was your biggest responsibility, list that first. If you only spent about 5% of your time answering phones, list that last.
  2. List your months of employment along with the years. Employers want to be able to easily comprehend your work history and spot any employment gaps on your resume. If you don’t list the months, they might think you are trying to hide something.
  3. Include your full contact information on your resume. Some applicants don’t include their phone number on their resume because they don’t want to get bogged down with calls from recruiters. They don’t realize that by making themselves inaccessible to recruiters, they are also making themselves inaccessible to employers they might actually want to hear back from.
  4. Send your resume in a Word document if possible. Employers might not be able to open your resume file if it is saved in a PDF format, and .txt documents can be difficult to follow visually due to their lack of formatting.
  5. Don’t worry if your resume is longer than one page. The “one-page resume” rule is antiquated, and employers would rather see your whole work history on several pages than have you exclude work experience in order to fit everything on one page.

How to Apply for Jobs That Do Not Exist … Yet

Did you know that as few as 20% of open positions are posted on job boards? This can be an alarming fact for job seekers who apply for work exclusively through job postings found online. So how do you go about landing a job that you don’t know exists, or isn’t currently open? You apply! If you find a company you are interested in working for and see that they do not have any current openings listed that match your skill set, you should still submit a cover letter and resume to that company’s human resources department or to a suitable manager within the organization. That way, when an appropriate position does open up, the hiring manager will hopefully already have you in mind! YouTern.com has provided a helpful template to use when applying for a job that doesn’t exist:

 

Subject line: <Your Job Title (for instance, “Website Developer”)> Interested in Career Opportunities

 

<First Name of HR/Recruiter/Hiring Manager> –

My name is ________, and I am a <recent grad from _____ OR your job title and your expertise; for instance, a “web developer who specializes in small business websites.”> I hope you’re doing well.

 

I realize you do not currently have a job opening listed for a <Your Job Title>; however, I would still like to make introductions and explore ways I can help your team with <your value proposition; for instance, “developing user-focused website projects.”>

 

I checked out the <company name’s> website and like the projects you are currently developing, in particular:

  • <the name of a relevant project with an explanation for why you are interested>
  • <the name of a second relevant project with an explanation for why you are interested>

 

For the past _____ years, I have worked with <your experience so far with examples of past clients; for instance, “various media firms in Houston to create sharp websites for a range of clients. I have completed websites for a veterinary clinic, auto body shop, 24-hour gym, family-owned grocery and a teacher’s supply store.”>

 

When time allows, please see a few examples of my work here:

  • <Link to Example #1 of your work, if available; you can also attach files if it makes more sense>
  • <Link to Example #2 OR attached file>
  • <Link to Example #3 OR attached file>

Note: If you are a recent grad with limited real-world experience, provide links to college projects, case studies, internship projects or volunteer efforts. Let the person see what you’re all about!

 

I have attached my resume to the email. Please let me know if I can provide more information.

Job Searching While You’re Already Employed

Not all job seekers are unemployed. In fact, a large amount of the people searching job boards are professionals looking to make a change from their current positions. These employed job seekers have a whole separate list of rules they need to be aware of when on the job hunt, so we’ve included a few below:

  1. Don’t use your work email to correspond with potential employers or submit your resume.
    • Use only your personal contact information, including your home/cell phone number when applying for jobs.
    • You might not be the only person with access to your work email inbox, especially if you work for a large corporation or government agency.
  1. Don’t make calls to potential employers while at work.
    • Don’t assume that no one can hear you making inquisitive phone calls to companies about potential opportunities in your cubicle or office.
  1. Don’t job search while on the clock.
    • Your current employer is paying you to work for them, not to job hunt. Do all of your applying and job searching on your own time.
    • There is always the chance that someone will catch you checking out the job boards instead of working, and this could result in you leaving your current position sooner than expected.
  1. Be considerate of your current employer when scheduling phone or in-person interviews.
    • If you get the opportunity to interview with a new company, whether in person or on the phone, try to schedule it so that you don’t need to take a whole day off from work.
    • Ideally, you should schedule interviews over your lunch break so that you don’t have to take any time off. If that is not a possibility, try to schedule them first thing in the morning or at the very end of the day, so that you can either come in a little late or leave a little early without missing much work.
  1. Give plenty of notice before quitting.
    • If you do end up accepting a job offer, make sure to give your current employer plenty of notice.
    • Two weeks notice is the generally acceptable amount of time, but every situation is different.

 

How to Give Notice

Whether you are working in a permanent or temporary position, quitting your job is a complicated procedure. The key to a successful career is networking with peers and coworkers, so you don’t want to burn bridges when leaving a position.

Guidelines to follow:

  • Give Proper Notice
    • When telling your supervisor that you are quitting, you want to give them as much notice as possible in order to give them time to fill your position.
    • Announcing to your boss that you are quitting and today is going to be your last day leaves them with the same amount of work, but less people around to help.
    • Your employer was kind enough to give you a chance and a job in the first place, so the least you can do is give them a couple weeks to find your replacement.
    • Two weeks notice is the acceptable amount of time recommended to most professionals. If you are in a temporary position however, one week should be fine.
  • Quit in Person
    • You wouldn’t break up with a person through an email, and it is just as rude to quit your job through one.
    • Arrange a time to sit face-to-face with your boss to tell them you will be ending your position.
    • Your boss will be much more appreciative if you give them the respect of quitting in person, where you can look them in the eye and explain your situation thoroughly.
  • Don’t Burn Bridges
    • As we mentioned previously, you do not want to lose the connections you made at your position when you quit.
    • Be as respectful and appreciative as possible when quitting, because without your current employer and the experience you gained from them, you might not have been qualified for a new job in the first place.
    • Even if you didn’t use your current employer as a reference for your new position, you might need to use them in the future.
    • Make sure you leave your job on good terms, so you can use them as a reference if you ever need to. Also, you want to make sure that the reference they provide will be a good one!

 

 

Why Your First Post-Graduate Job is Important

When college graduates receive their diploma and start their job hunt, they typically assume that the “education” phase of their life is over, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Your first job out of college will teach you innumerable, valuable lessons that you will carry with you through the rest of your career. Find out exactly how important your first “real” job is by reading on below:

  1. You will get a reality check: Starting a full-time position will require you to be somewhere every day at the same time for most likely eight or nine hours a day. Recent college graduates used to waking up at ten, going to classes for a few hours and then returning home will surely have to make a big adjustment for full-time work. In the real world there is no such thing as “skipping class” or “playing hooky.” You will be accountable for your time and a low attendance record will result in more than just a bad grade.
  2. You will learn to be professional: Immersing yourself into company culture will require you to adhere to a dress code, and it will teach you how to speak and interact with others in a professional manner.
  3. You will learn how to prioritize: In college, you were given an assignment, specific instructions, and a due date. In the real world, work is not always so black and white. You may be given several assignments with conflicting deadlines and importance, and you will have to learn how to prioritize your workload.
  4. You will make important networking connections: If you are lucky, your first job can be a great starting point for your career. You can make valuable connections with people who can help you progress within your desired industry or career. In college, most of the networking you did was probably through your professors or parents, but in the real world you can make connections of your own.
  5. You will learn and gain experience: The most important thing you will gain from your first job will be valuable knowledge and experience. The hands-on experience gained in a full-time job will teach you lessons you could have never fully grasped in a college classroom. You will make mistakes and have successes that will teach you life lessons you can take with you throughout your career.

 

 

How to Improve Your Career in 2017

A new year brings new opportunities and the chance to set some new goals for yourself and your career. Here are some ideas for how you can improve your career this year:

  1. Learn a new language: diverse communication skills are highly desirable in the workplace.
  2. Pursue a new degree or certificate: a higher degree or certificate could be your ticket to a promotion.
  3. Build your professional network: attend local networking events to meet professionals who could help you in your career.
  4. Take a trip: international experience is another highly desirable skill.
  5. Use your vacation days: many professionals argue that taking time off from work can result in higher productivity levels upon your return.
  6. Take on new responsibilities: build your experience by volunteering for new tasks.
  7. Exercise more: exercise can help decrease your stress levels, which will make you more productive at work.
  8. Wake up 10 minutes earlier: allow yourself more time to get ready in the morning to ensure you are always punctual for work.
  9. Talk to your boss: ensure you are on-track and meeting expectations by keeping an open line of communication with your supervisor.
  10. Organize your time: always keep your calendar handy to ensure you never miss a meeting, deadline, or call.

 

Keep a Positive Attitude

It’s easy to get down on yourself or feel defeated after a long job search with little progress, but don’t let your lack of success affect your motivation! Confidence is key for a successful job search, so make sure you keep a positive attitude.

  1. Be grateful: One way to stay positive is to be appreciative of any opportunities you do find. Send a follow-up thank you email to potential employers after every interview. Make sure you let them know how grateful you are for their time and consideration.
  2. Don’t assume: Don’t assume that you are the perfect fit for every position you apply for. Make sure you do your homework and research each position/company before sending your resume. Many applicants are offended or surprised when they don’t receive an interview request for a position they think they’re perfect for. Avoid this stress by only applying for positions you know (not think) you are a fit for!

Stay confident: Job seekers who have been in the market for a long time can begin to feel defeated. Don’t bring this negative attitude with you to job interviews! Potential employers want to hire positive, confident professionals, so be sure to present yourself that way!