5 Ways to Organize Your Job Search

by

When you start your job search, it can feel as if you’re climbing a mountain whose summit you can’t even see. Once you start moving, though, you’ll realize that it’s totally doable. Better yet, you’ll discover that there are no big secrets to tackling the job market. You just need a well-organized and structured plan to guide you through the process.

To get you going, our friends at NerdWallet asked several career experts to give job-seekers advice on how to organize your job search. Here are 5 tips to improve your job search:

1. Keep your information in one place.

Maintaining a clear overview of the jobs you’ve applied for will go a long way. Since you’ll probably apply for a number of positions, it’s important to store your information somewhere you can review it all at once. Whether that’s in a simple Word document, on a spreadsheet or in some other form is up to you.

“Keep track of the position name, organization name, application deadline, date you applied and a list of the contact points you have had with the company,” says Anna Young, assistant director of career services at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

It’s also useful to jot down reflections about your interviews, which can include the kinds of questions you were asked, what went well and what didn’t.

“Write down any notes about your conversation with the organization or anything you learned about the position,” says Kevin Nall, director of employer relations in the Office of Career and Professional Development at Baylor University in Texas. “This will help you with your follow-up plan and any future conversations with the organization.”

5. Look beyond the Internet.

Take your job search offline from time to time. Arranging informational interviews with someone from your school’s career center, or with alumni working in your field of interest, will benefit you in ways a Google search simply can’t.

“The Internet is great for uncovering leads, but to get into the highly coveted internships and full-time offers, students need to have an ally in their network who has a connection to that employer,” Trahan says.

“One of the strongest and most fun parts of your search can be the networking process,” Bradac says. “Reach out to everyone you know and tell them what you are looking for. Ask for contacts and resources that your network may have. Networking is a great way to meet new people and to develop advocates for you as a professional.”

If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, just remember that the people you’re reaching out to were in your shoes once. Getting help is simply part of the job hunt, and you won’t have to do it forever. Soon enough, college juniors and seniors will be seeking your advice.

Your nerves will quickly turn into excitement as you learn more about the job opportunities available to you. Just remember to stay organized, and know that you’re more than capable of taking on the challenge and reaching that summit.

See all 5 ways and the complete NerdWallet article

 

7 Things Recruiters Want to Find on Your Resume

By Jeff Lipschultz

I realize job seekers have probably heard a million and one tips on having a “proper” resume. And yet, I still see many resumes that prompt more questions than provide answers to my ultimate question:

Is this person a great candidate for my client’s job opening?

When you consider that your resume must speak on your behalf without you being able to chime in with color commentary, you realize that you must accomplish a lot with one document.

Keep in mind, many recruiters won’t even look at your cover letter until they’ve looked at your resume. Sounds backwards, but there’s no sense in learning more about you if the resume does not include the “right background” for the position.

A resume can be a great tool to represent you, if it answers my ultimate question, above. However, there are several ways a resume can create doubt about the candidate’s qualifications. As a recruiter, I’ve seen many examples.

In this article, I’d like to share some of these resume pitfalls to allow your resume to be as perfect as possible.

1) Your Timeline

You don’t want recruiters assuming anything. You’d rather they knew your legitimate reasons for being out of the work-force.

Gaps in employment need to be explained, even if it’s a one-liner stating:

20010-2012: Took a leave of absence to care for elderly parents.

Unemployed job seekers need to fill the void with special projects or volunteer work if a gap in employment extends beyond a couple of months. Many candidates ask friends if they can do some work (even pro bono) to keep busy and productive. In the resume, you can list these experiences just like you would a regular job.

Read Overcoming the “Unemployed Bias” for more information on how to handle this situation.

4) Quality Is Job # 1?

Most applicants claim to have great written and verbal communication skills. If you are applying for an Administrative Assistant role and claim this, but have grammatical and spelling errors on your resume, your credibility goes to zero. And your resume goes into the trash.

If you don’t take the time to have a perfect resume, it sends the message that your work will follow the same pattern. Period.

5) Skills and Education

If you’re applying for a position that requires special skills (a programmer must know certain computer languages—a mill operator knows how to operate certain machines), you need to list these skills under your summary paragraph at top of resume. Don’t make the reader wait until the last section to find them.

Education can usually go at the end, along with training, as it is less important than experience (for those who have been in the workforce for a while).

See all 7 things and the complete job-hunt.org article

 

Why you Should Stop Submitting Your Resume and Cover Letter via PDF

Tired of applying (and reapplying) to jobs and never hearing back?

Does it feel like you’re on an endless circle of resume and cover letter writing and filing hours-long applications online?

There’s a chance it actually might not be you… it may be a simple formatting issue. If you’re submitting your resume and cover letters as PDFs – they may not be “readable” by the ATS you’re applying through.

What is an ATS?

Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATSes, is software that compiles data about people – but designed for recruitment tracking purposes. In a nutshell, most large companies (especially national or global corporations) use ATSes to manage their information about applicants and streamline their interactions. The ATS allows them to store applications, cover letters, and resumes into a database that can parse based on keywords, experience, skills and other features.

And you may be surprised to learn in the US there’s only 55 of them and, of those, Taleo dominates the market.

Applicant-Tracking-System-Comparison

If you click “apply” on a job ad and are brought to a page that invites you to “Login” or “Register,” or has a series of fillable forms – that’s an ATS. They’re almost universal.

Unfortunately for applicants, even though many ATSes invite you to submit your resume and cover letter via PDF, the system for reading them is buggy at best.

4 Reasons Not to Submit Your Resume via PDF

ATSes cant read PDFs
It may be tempting to include images or graphs that demonstrate your skills – or to protect the document – by submitting your resume and cover letter via PDF. Here’s why you should avoid that temptation:

  1. “Ed Struzik, an IBM expert on the systems, puts the proportion of large companies using them in the ‘high 90%’ range, and says it would ‘be very rare to find a Fortune 500 company without one.’” [source]

See all 4 reasons, the solution, and the complete article

7 Ways to Extend Your Online Network for Executive Job Search

by Julia Salem
Is social media a waste of time or a valuable networking tool that can help you stand out to potential employers and executive recruiters? The answer is actually both depending on how you use it. If used properly, social networking gives you a chance to demonstrate your thought leadership and set yourself apart from your competition. As an executive and leader, it is critical to demonstrate your expertise online and manage your online brand with the following tips.

1. Focus on the 3 major social media channels: Many executives are overwhelmed by social media and all of the options available, from niche industry networks to location-specific networks, and of course, the major social networks that most of our friends and coworkers are using. For your executive job search, it makes sense to use the networks that most headhunters and potential employers are using, which include LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This may also include Google+ for certain industries, such as the Technology industry. To decide which 3 social networks to use, you should find out which sites are currently being used by your coworkers and thought leaders in your industry.

4. Join relevant groups: Find relevant groups to join by searching for industry names, such as “Marketing” or keywords that are used in your industry. Once you find and join the right groups, you need to take an active role. You can take a leadership role in online groups by providing your opinions on current events and trends in your industry. You can also answer members’ questions and provide your expertise through comments and direct messages.

5. Merge your analog and digital networks: Actively attending various types of in-person networking events is still extremely important for executives – including executives who are actively using social networks.  After a networking event, utilize social media sites to reach out to each person you’ve met to connect and follow up. This will make it easier to stay connected to acquaintances you’ve met in-person and effectively expand your online network.

6 Job Search Apps That Restore Your Dignity

David Wagner

If looking for a job makes you feel like a product for sale, or like someone who isn’t respected as a human being, then these job apps are for you. Each app has at least one unique feature designed to help you feel just a bit less like a resume and a bit more like a valued individual.

These are nothing like Tinder for jobs. While those kinds of apps give job seekers plenty of freedom, and freedom is often good, they can also leave hiring managers with the perception that a prospective employee isn’t all that committed to the position.

After all, if you use a job search app that is similar to one designed to find a one-night stand, chances are you might treat the job like a one night stand, as well. Likewise, job candidates can be left feeling used and discarded by employers using such apps to make hiring choices. And that isn’t good for the hiring company, or the job seeker, in the long run.

While some apps seek to make the job search as quick and carefree as possible, others attempt to restore dignity to a process that feels increasingly commodity-driven.

It may not be possible to entirely re-humanize the job search. HR still uses checklists and search engines to go through resumes. In the end, the treatment you get depends more on the companies you apply to than the apps you’re using. But the creators of the apps we’re featuring here have listened to your pain points and attempted to solve them.

Check them out, and see if any of them will help you feel better about your next job search. And then tell us in the comments section below what your biggest pains are when you go searching for a job — or when you try to hire someone for an open position in your company.

Hired

Hired is a little bit like Lending Tree for jobs. Lending Tree’s slogan is “when banks compete, you win.” In a way, that’s what Hired does. It puts your profile up. After one week, companies reach out to you. You interview with whom you like and if you take a job, Hired even gives you a bonus. The best part: Anyone who reaches out to you has to give you their salary range up front, getting rid of one of the least fun parts of job searching. Everybody hates the game of “who will talk money first.” The downside is Hired only works with certain types of jobs (developers, mostly) in certain major tech areas (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and other usual suspects).

 

Scrapers

Let’s lump three big sites into one category: The scrapers. These are sites that aggregate other sites. There’s Linkup, which scrapes from company websites to find jobs that might not be on big job search sites like Monster or Dice. There’s Indeed, which claims to scrape from all the major job boards, as well as company sites. And then there’s SimplyHired which claims to do what Indeed does. Not having to go from site to site saves time and can minimize the blow to your morale.

 

LunchMeet

Despite the name, LunchMeet does the opposite of treating you like meat. It isn’t really a job search app at all, so much as a networking app. Inspired by the book “Never Eat Alone,” the app uses the LinkedIn API to set you up for lunch dates with people who have similar interests and jobs. The idea is that you increase your network and, if you’re lucky, one day that leads to a new job. The app website claims that many recruiters use its tool, so you may find yourself the subject of the lunch. Worst case? You have a nice lunch with someone.

 

See all 8 and the complete article

7 Reasons Your Job Search is Still Getting Zero Results

by Lisa Rangel

It’s the most frustrating scenario a job seeker will experience. You spruce up your resume, send it off to open jobs, and after a few weeks… you hear nothing but crickets.

No response. No returned calls. No job interviews.

You scratch your head wondering what could possibly be wrong. Could you be underqualified? Overqualified? Did you format your resume incorrectly? Did you not use enough keywords?

It’s probably none of the above. In fact, if you’re still getting zero results from your job hunting efforts it’s because you may be making one of these all too common mistakes.

1) You Think Your Resume Is a Magical Elixir

A resume, while important, is nothing more than a marketing document. You could even equate it to a business card or a white paper. Just because you have one, even one done exceptionally well, doesn’t mean you’re going to automatically get new business or job interviews.

In other words, a resume by itself is not going to get you the job regardless of how spectacular it is. While you must have one, it’s not going to do very much unless you take more proactive approaches like networking, connecting with people and going to conferences.

In reality, it’s having your resume handy at the right places and then giving it to the right people that will get you those interviews.

6) You Are Talking to the Wrong People

If you’re hoping recruiters will help you find a job, you may be waiting a long time.

Recruiters are paid a fee to find someone currently doing the job as an executive employee at a company. If you are not currently doing the job, and yes, that can include being unemployed, it may be viewed as either not worthy of the fee or too much of a risk for the fee premium (which can be 25-30% fee in addition to your salary in hiring you).

Now that same company may hire you directly and take the risk of you being an employee, but not pay a premium to hire you when you have not been an employee before. It is just economics. It’s why you need to make a list of target companies and reach out to executives at the companies directly. I have suggestions below….

See all 7 reasons and the complete article