By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS
When I work with my clients, I often hear that they struggle with the technical aspects of their job search. This includes how to format their resume for posting on job boards, online applications and a host of other situations that arise on a case-by-case basis. As a result, I have decided to dedicate this posting to some of the technical aspects of a career campaign and have called upon a couple of experts who have experience in the area of job search and online recruiting.
If you have entered the world of search, you have most likely experienced posting your resume to a job board or applying to an online job application and experienced the frustration of your beautifully formatted resume losing its panache when it crosses over into the online world. It takes a lot of time and effort to straighten the whole thing out and oftentimes; you are unable to return it to its original format. To prevent this from happening, take your original resume and save it as a .txt file. Then open it up in Notepad or TextEdit, if you are using a MAC, and format the spacing in one of these text editors. In the electronic arena, it is the text itself and not the formatting that is top priority so format everything with a left alignment and differentiate information through the use of capitalization and inserting blank lines. Then, when you make it to the interview stage, you can bring your beautifully formatted resume.
Chris Russell has used his expertise to create successful online job boards such as AllCountyJobs.com, consults for people interested in starting or improving their job boards, and has recently become the Founder and CEO of CareerCloud, a new social recruiting platform that will launch this fall. Chris’s advice is to have multiple versions of your resume ready. To complete online job applications and job board profiles, he recommends that you learn how to cut and paste efficiently. Have CTRL-C and Ctrl-V become your best friends as you transfer information from one place to another. I instruct my clients to create a “Scratch Language” document where they keep things they have written on job applications and job board profiles to be re-used when the time is right. In this way, they can just cut and paste the information in the appropriate format without having to re-write it as many forums ask for the same or similar material.
Chris also recommends that you pay close attention to the instructions in the job ad with respect to technical requirements. Otherwise, you might screen yourself out of the process by not following directions such as in an email situation. He suggests that if you are attaching your resume to attach it using Microsoft Word format (.doc). When you name the file that you are sending, he advises that you put your name on the file in case it is saved elsewhere by the recipient. If you name it resume.doc, you will get lost in the shuffle. I advise my clients, who are responding by email or otherwise, to put the name and identifier of the position along with their name as it provides a way for the HR people and hiring managers to trace back to their correspondence and identify what position they were interested in.
Chris pointed out that another way to respond to online postings is by using the “Apply Now” feature through LinkedIn. Using this feature allows you to see immediately if you have connections to the target company. Before you jump in though, make sure that your profile is complete as the recipient of your application is going right to your profile. Have some recommendations so that people can see what others are saying about you. Use some of the ancillary features to reinforce your fit. Include your reading materials and link to your blog or Twitter account. Also, if you have special articles or presentations, include them so people can get more of a feel for your expertise and your fit for their company. If necessary, tweak your profile to make sure that it is consistent with the position you are applying to.
I consulted with Dave Opton, CEO and Founder of ExecuNet, “a full-service, private membership organization tuned exclusively to helping senior-level executives attract rewarding new opportunities; get “unstuck” and transition into gratifying new careers; maximize their leadership performance; and get better business results.” While ExecuNet has many job listings posted by recruiter members, he started by underscoring how important it is not to “fall into the trap of putting too much time into a job board.” According to Dave, “people quickly forget that from a percentage perspective, it has nowhere near as high a success rate as professional networking. It is more productive to spend time expanding your professional network as 70% of ExecuNet members state that change came about from networking and not answering an ad.”
ExecuNet posts jobs. These jobs are posted by recruiters who pay to be on the ExecuNet site. Due to the large response they get, Dave says that most of the recruiters prefer to look at online profiles. Therefore, he said to try to look at your profile from the other side of the desk. This really applies in whatever forum you are presenting yourself, not just ExecuNet. Ask yourself objectively, if your resume and profile came in as a result of the posting, would you want to call yourself in? Is your profile providing information that shows that you are a good fit for the position and company? In search, it is often a given that the person has the skills that they are highlighting on their resume. So, what sets you apart is being able to also show electronically that you are a good fit as well. ExecuNet helps its members convey this as part of the profile they create in the “More About Me” section. Many other job boards have sections for content that can help you convey the “fit” part of your qualifications.
People complain that job boards often have listings that are stale. You want to use a job board that keeps a tight rein on its listings so that the listings are fresh. ExecuNet keeps postings for 45 days and requires listings to be re-posted thereafter. EntertainmentCareers.net keeps them for 45 days as well so at least you know that it is not a stale posting from last year that you are responding to. Check this out before you start the posting process so you make productive use of your time.
I hope this has helped to take some of the frustration out of the technical part of the search process. As always, if you need help in search, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 203-323-9977.
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