Tips from a professional recruiter that assists job seekers in getting ahead of the crowd using unique methods to trick the electronic resume database systems into pushing your resume to the top of the query listing.
Tips To Getting Your Resume Noticed In Elec Databases
Dawn D. Boyer, M.Ed. Certified Internet and Diversity Recruiter
<ul><li>Recruiters and headhunters are dependant upon electronic methodology to search and review resumes for qualified candidates…as fast as they can. Here’s what you’ll learn in this presentation: </li></ul><ul><li>Tricks to get your resume to filter through to the top of their review pile </li></ul><ul><li>Tips to prevent your resume sinking to the bottom </li></ul><ul><li>Internet sites to investigate for optimum coverage for your resume and networking ideas </li></ul>
<ul><li>Job seekers need at least two baseline resumes for their job and career search, and should tailor these two baseline resumes for specific jobs: </li></ul><ul><li>The “Pretty” (functional) hard copy resume – one to two pages long, well formatted, easy to read, lots of white space, a specific objective noted at the top, and POC info clearly delineated. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Work Horse” (chronological) electronic resume – in text or word document formatting, as long as you can write it with entire history of work, loaded with key skill words, training, education, and achieved goals for past employers. </li></ul>
<ul><li>If you have information in a header or footer of your electronic resume, it may ‘dump’ into a black hole when you upload it to electronic job boards. Most recruiting systems are not ‘smart enough’ to recognize this important information. </li></ul><ul><li>Those programs sophisticated enough to grab the info, might plug it into a strange place in the body of the text for your resume. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Ensure recruiters and headhunters can find you now or down the road – some keep resumes for 2 – 6 years. Smart recruiters never waste a contact! </li></ul><ul><li>POC info should include: </li></ul><ul><li>Your full name, city, state, phone #’s (home & cell); and e-mail addresses (do not use work POC info) </li></ul><ul><li>Do not mix in Jr., Sr., III, educational degree acronyms, certifications, on the same line as your name – these will confuse the system and your last name may become ‘MBA’ or ‘PMP’ instead of ‘Smith;’ recruiters might not be able to find you by name in their systems. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Do NOT note a street address in the resume uploaded to databases. Identity theft is increasing, and the more info you provide, the easier you make it to steal your life. Type street addresses directly into the database profile fields. </li></ul><ul><li>Do provide multiple e-mail addresses you know you’ll keep ‘forever.’ How many career opportunities might you miss in the future because you dumped that e-mail you used only a few months for your last job search? </li></ul>
<ul><li>The most vital tool recruiters use when searching databases is the Boolean search, which uses specific search criteria, or a set of words, the recruiters are seeking in resumes. </li></ul><ul><li>Following are screen shots of a few major job boards query engine pages that recruiters use to search for qualified candidates based on words that provide matches for skill sets required by the job requirements. </li></ul>
<ul><li>NOTE THE JOB SKILLS IN YELLOW HIGHLIGHT THAT SHOULD BE MENTIONED IN THE RESUME OF THE MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE: </li></ul><ul><li>Job Description: Java Architect / Engineer </li></ul><ul><li>Seeking a Software Engineer to develop, deploy, and maintain web-based solutions for a Federal Government client. </li></ul><ul><li>Must be able to demonstrate technical leadership, in systems integration , and development activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Must have strong knowledge of web applications, development, deployment, and maintenance. </li></ul><ul><li>Must have experience with HTML, Web Design, I2EE development, software architecture, and design patterns . </li></ul><ul><li>Must have experience with Apache Struts 2.0, Apache Tomcat v5 +, JPA, MS SQL, PL/SQL, T-SQL , and Hibernate Annotations . </li></ul><ul><li>Will assist with ongoing web support, administration, documentation, and procedures. </li></ul><ul><li>Must have effective communications and interpersonal skills to build and maintain effective working relationships with the client. </li></ul><ul><li>Must be able to travel . Must have US Citizenship . May be subject to a security background check. </li></ul><ul><li>Required Skills: </li></ul><ul><li>Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field. </li></ul><ul><li>Five to ten years of experience in design, development, web-based software solutions . </li></ul><ul><li>Five to ten years of experience in deploymen t and support of above solutions . </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrated experience in software packages mentioned in job description above. </li></ul><ul><li>Must be familiar with and willing to use MS Project and MS Visio. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearance: Must have a Secret Clearance and US Citizenship. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The recruiter is searching for an applicant who has all of the following words located in their resume: </li></ul><ul><li>Programmer </li></ul><ul><li>Java </li></ul><ul><li>C+ </li></ul><ul><li>MSCA </li></ul><ul><li>SQL </li></ul>
The recruiter will also search for more specific criteria such as location, distance from a central geographic location based on a zip-code, as well as career levels of the applicant or the position they are trying to fill.
The recruiter will may also search for candidates who are willing to work in a specific state or city and/or who may need to have a US citizenship to qualify for working at the worksite.
The recruiter may also search for candidates who have specific security clearances (DoD), special types of skill sets, a level of education, and hours of work or contract work.
The return listing will populate with resumes with the ‘key words’ mentioned the most number of times in the resume (return ratio). The resumes MOST likely to be opened for review and further consideration are those with the words repeated more often within the resume than any other resume. Example: An applicant who has 20 years experience in programming but only mentions the key words twice might be much further down on a results list than a recent college graduate who has mentioned the key word 20 times with only two years of experience. (**Information blocked out to protect identity of resume owner and employer of record)
<ul><li>The “Pretty” hard copy resume – should be no more than three pages – depending upon length of your career history. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Work Horse” (soft) electronic resume – can be 15 – 20 pages long, if needed, because you need to get those multiple key skill words embedded as many times as possible in the document so query engines will pull your resume to the top of the populated result listing for review. </li></ul><ul><li>HERE’S WHY: </li></ul><ul><li>Resumes are converted to text in the upload to most systems. A ‘pretty’ resume only 2 pages long may become a text resume five pages long – take advantage of the length capabilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Your electronic resume should include all your experience - go back at least ten employers or fifteen+ years, and if earlier experience is relevant to your career – don’t leave it out. </li></ul>
Employers require computing skill sets and business can’t operate without technology. Being able to use MS Office Suite is NOT enough; note in your resume what other computer skills you’ve mastered or used; don’t forget training in computer software or use of operating systems. Don’t leave anything out ! That one unique, but little known computer skill, might be just what your next boss needs. Examples: PC Operating System, Apple Leopard Operating Systems, Linux Microsoft Office, v 2003 & 2007, Power user: Visio, PowerPoint, GovWin, MS Publisher, Adobe, PageMaker Internet Based Programs: Lexis/Nexis, ELT, MySpace, Internet Browser Programming: Web Design, HTML, SQL, C++ Certifications: MSCE, Security Plus
Note key skill words throughout the resumes, but also in a section at the end of your resume. A sample of a ‘Key Word’ section, skills separated by commas, from a resume is illustrated below. Use other key words such as contracts on which you’ve worked, computer software, hardware, and unique or specialized training.
Assume most recruiters know what they are seeking in resumes, but may not necessarily be cognizant of acronyms and industry buzz-words or their meanings. If using acronyms in a resume, spell out the words the first time it is used with acronym in parentheses after. Recruiters might query in the resume database on the full name OR the acronym – hedge your bets – use them both. Example:
Employers seeking applicants for Security Cleared jobs are very aware how much those clearances are worth to their companies, as well as the job seeker(s). A survey taken in 2007 showed applicants with DoD security clearances between Secret and Top Secret / SCI could earn an additional $10K - $40K annually than those without clearances (factoring in geographic locations). If you are in the military – RUN , don’t walk, to your career counselor to ask what is needed to get into a rate or billet requiring a security clearance. Once you have a clearance, take proper care of that clearance throughout your military career. Your future income depends on monitoring and upkeep of your clearance and it’s mission.
<ul><li>Recruiters will have a set of online questions for you to complete to pre-qualify applicants. If this information is available, they won’t waste your time, or theirs, if not within their parameters of requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>Some samples: </li></ul><ul><li>Skill Sets: (Welding – all levels; Analysts – math and statistics; Human Resources – EEOC, Worker’s Comp, Recruiting, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge: What type of certificates to you have? How many years of experience in your field of expertise? What goals have you accomplished for your past employers with this knowledge? </li></ul><ul><li>Work site preferences, salary expectations, and other compensation desired/preferred for further consideration. </li></ul>
<ul><li>When you convert your ‘long’ resume to text, especially if you used extensive formatting for the ‘pretty’ version, you’ll note it may not be easy to read in the new text format. </li></ul><ul><li>You need to: </li></ul><ul><li>Convert tables, columns, and text boxes to simple lists. </li></ul><ul><li>Delete graphics (especially logos and icons) </li></ul><ul><li>Unusual text will convert to plain text. </li></ul><ul><li>Convert fancy icon bullets to simple dots. </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain the white space – you should have a 1 inch margin for the entire resume. </li></ul><ul><li>Manually add extra lines between each job description or resume section for easy readability. </li></ul>
<ul><li>DO: </li></ul><ul><li>Carefully read the full job description before you apply </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly state the specific type of job you are seeking </li></ul><ul><li>Apply to positions only if you have all the listed job skills noted as ‘ required’ </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure your clearance level matches – levels of Top Secret & SCI take years to obtain; companies won’t hire you on overhead while a clearance adjudicates. </li></ul><ul><li>Is your minimum salary requirements a fit for their posted (if applicable) minimum salary negotiations? Assume the company will not go more than $5-15K more than posted. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have the minimum education or training (experience in lieu of degrees)? </li></ul>
<ul><li>You may encounter error messages while applying online or while researching online from government worksites (PC’s) on the other side of ‘firewalls.’ Try these tips before you go online to avoid those ‘burps’ that will trip up your application: </li></ul><ul><li>Go to your internet browser toolbar and click on ‘Tools,’ then ‘Options,’ and in this pop-up window you will delete: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Temp Files </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cookies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This should assist in avoiding potential error messages. </li></ul><ul><li>Turn off your spam filter via your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to get all recruiting messages. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Answering newspaper ads and applying to companies online is all I need to find a job. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Print newspaper ads are only about 3% of advertised job openings and is the most competitive job pool of candidates. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large companies post their jobs online as part of federal employment compliance law, but mid-size to smaller companies may not have a website or recruiting ATS program, and may still search for candidates the “old-fashioned way” – word of mouth. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>I showed my resume to my family and they love it! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your family might not wish to hurt your feelings, and they are not experts in recruiting. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get outside opinions: Take Resume Writing courses from local schools and state employment offices, professional job counselors, and/or commercial resume writing companies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at other people’s resumes – they may have interesting sections or ideas you can ‘steal’ to pump up the professional look or value to your resume. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>I have so many friends, I can find a job through networking: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The employment rate is approximately 7% in Jan./2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone you know may be looking for a job. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your friends may be seeking ‘your’ job. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build your network of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and peers before you need to seek a new job. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Join as many Social Networking sites online, as well as join Social or Trade Organizations as possible and keep the membership up-to-date. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure your “EGO” isn’t a stumbling block to new opportunities. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>If I have lots of interviews, I’m sure to get a job: </li></ul><ul><li>It shouldn’t take but two or three interviews for you to get a job. If you have five+ interviews, something is wrong: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How hard have you planned for the interview? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Did you interview the interviewers? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are you portraying a negative or desperate attitude? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You are not emphasizing what you can do for the employer; don’t ask what they can do for you. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your salary expectations are too high for their budget, the job tasking, or responsibilities. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Check your dress, your breath, your mannerisms – any ‘tics’ you need to overcome? </li></ul></ul></ul>
<ul><li>I’ll flood the market with my resumes; I’ll use a resume blaster as well as mail out hundreds of resumes. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you want to waste money you might not be able to afford sending this many resumes out to folks who have no need or are not hiring? </li></ul><ul><li>Use the time as a full-time job seeker to follow-up to every mailed or e-mailed resume by calling a rep in the HR department, or the hiring manager, if that info is available. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Boolean search words to drill down into a companies’ website to search for hiring decision makers’ names and POC info. You need to get past the receptionist’s desk! </li></ul>
<ul><li>It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been out of work – someone will eventually hire me: </li></ul><ul><li>Applicants with long gaps of unemployment are viewed as undesirables – why would someone with valuable job skills, education, and experience be out of work this long? </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer! Use your skills to provide assistance to those who can’t normally afford your expertise. </li></ul><ul><li>Get a job making less than normally required for more hands-on experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Use temp staffing agencies to get short-term assignments. </li></ul><ul><li>Be a consultant – even if severely under-cutting normal rates to get this added value experience on your resume. </li></ul>
<ul><li>I hate using the phone to ask for a job! </li></ul><ul><li>Get over it! Be prepared for the emotional risk of constant rejections – it’s part of the ‘job’ when seeking employment </li></ul><ul><li>Telemarketing your skill sets / values to future employers are the best way to find out about unadvertised jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the employer representative if there is any current problems or employee skill gaps in their organization in which they have yet to solve or find answers to – you might know someone else you can recommend or can solve the problem even if there is no ‘job’ opening currently </li></ul><ul><li>Offer a temp basis consult with the employer and/or on a reduced salary/hourly rate, to get your foot in the door </li></ul>
<ul><li>I don’t want to change fields, and my current field is slow. </li></ul><ul><li>Be flexible and examine where some or all of your skill sets could be used in another field. Unique examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nurses tired of medical settings work in legal firms to analyze lawsuits related to medical malpractice claims. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Resources reps can work in most any industry – the laws and regulations go across trade arenas. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Car mechanics might find the same mechanical know-how works in large ships and boats in marine trades. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HVAC technicians might transfer skills used in domestic systems to work in commercial buildings. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web developers can use skills to assist with organic meta-tags for Marketing and PR firms’ customers. </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>Job hunting can be done part-time. </li></ul><ul><li>Your job search should be a full-time job: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on the search and develop a plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a fall-back plan – take that less than desirable job </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set aside a daily block of time to perform job searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t let the ‘honey-do’ list interfere with your scheduled set aside time for job searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider going into business as a consultant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write thank-you notes and mail to those who are helpful in your search or provide tips or ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use your networks – if they don’t know you are looking, how can they help? </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>Ensure you’ve done your research – review every website page the company has on the internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Do a Boolean search to find other newsworthy info about the company and the executive leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Have a list of your own questions to ask your interviewers </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><li>Where is your company heading in sales? </li></ul><ul><li>What problems do you foresee in meeting future goals? </li></ul><ul><li>What departments seem to be having problems and what solutions have you focused on in the past? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you think those past solutions failed? </li></ul><ul><li>How many others are you interviewing for this position? </li></ul>
SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR JOB BOARDS WHERE YOU MAY POST YOUR RESUME: www.monster.com www.careerbuilder.com www.intelligencecareers.com – for those w/ security clearances www.clearedjobs.net – for those w/ security clearances www.craigslist.com www.engineeringjobs.com www.geekinterview.com www.gofreelance.com www.google.base http://itt.erecruiting.com/experience/home - IT related jobs http://www.thejobspider.com/ http://groups-beta.google.com/group/k-bar-list-companies - sign up to group to post http://moaa.jobcontrolcenter.com/hr/ - Military Officers Associate of America http://www.securityjobs.net/ http://www.techexpousa.com/index2.cfm - Technical Jobs http://www.usjobnetwork.com/ http://www.careeronestop.org/ - State specific Job & Career Assistance (Employment Commissions) http://www.dcareajobs.com/ - jobs in Washington, DC area http://network.womenforhire.com/ - Career Networking For Women http://www.workgiant.com/site/default.aspx http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/riskbizjobs/ - sign up to group to post
SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR SOCIAL NETWORK BOARDS WHERE YOU MAY DEVELOP A PROFILE AND NETWORK WITH OTHERS WORLD-WIDE AS WELL AS BEING FOUND BY RECRUITERS AND HEADHUNTERS IN THIS VENUE http ://www.Yellojobs.com – Referral recruitment network http://www.lawlink.com – Online network for attorneys http://www.beaker.com – Online community for Life Sciences http://www.85broads.com – Ultimate career connection for Women http://www.inman.com – Real estate social community http://www.ziggs.com/ http://www.plaxo.com http://naymz.com https://www.xing.com/ www.myspace.com – create a job search account w/ your resume and credentials www.facebook.com – create a job search account w/ your resume and credentials www.classmates.com – create a profile and start networking with old classmates or school connections http://www.ning.com – Create your own social network for anything http://www.meetup.com – Find and meet people with the same interests http://www.gather.com – Publish content and connect with others http://www.linkedin.com – Five star rated networking engine. Joining groups such as “All Invites Accepted” will exponentially increase connections & networks. *Join my 3,000+ LinkedIn Connections by sending an invitation: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dawnboyer .*
ALMA MATERS MATTER: Colleges and Universities: Assists students & alumni for placement, resume writing, & career counseling services. Sororities and Fraternities: Join the Greek network (ex: Beta Sigma Phi, sorority for women simply interested in an international friendship network: http://www.betasigmaphi.org/index.shtm .) Examples of other Trade & Social Networking Organizations may be: Religious Organizations (your local church) Political Organizations (National Republican Party) Humanitarian Organizations (Masons, Shriners, etc.) Trade Specific Organizations (SHRM, AFCEA, ASTD, Old Crows, etc.)