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Hack the Job Search Process With Your Resume

5/14/2012 4:07:34 PM

Hack the Job Search Process With Your Resume By Anish Majumdar, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

It’s inevitable: word gets out that you’re looking for a new job and someone, be it a colleague, family member or friend, takes it upon themselves to give you a “reality check”. While the specifics of what they say might differ, the key takeaway is always something like: be prepared for a grueling process. Be prepared to send out hundreds of resumes before landing a single interview. Be prepared to wait, tear your hair out over unpaid bills, and wait some more.

Does it have to be this way?

When a jobseeker receives advice like this, it usually comes from a helpful place. But, as someone who’s worked closely with hundreds of top-level professionals, I can assure you that a protracted job search is NOT a given.

You can land a new job in weeks, not months. The key lies in “hacking” the traditional job search process using your resume:

1. Use A Single Version of the Resume that Communicates Unique Value

Few things are a bigger waste of time than endlessly rewriting your resume to fit individual job postings. Hiring managers aren’t looking for resumes that read like carbon copies of a job posting. They’re looking to be impressed by a unique background. They’re looking for skills they might not have considered but which can be applied in a new capacity. They’re looking for something special, and that means communicating your UNIQUE VALUE.

-Create a brief opening paragraph at the start of your resume describing 3-4 key attributes. Be selective. What truly makes you a special candidate? What personal abilities are you most proud of?

-Be sure to highlight the attributes mentioned in the opening paragraph FIRST when describing responsibilities at jobs you’ve held within the “Professional Experience” section. Provide greater detail here. This approach establishes a “personal theme” for the resume and significantly increases its overall impact both at-a-glance and during an in-depth evaluation.

2. Use a 2-Pronged Approach to Resume Keywords

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) such as Taleo and Kenexa are usually the first gatekeepers standing between you and an interview. These programs are designed to scan resumes to make sure certain terms (or “keywords”) are present. Those that have them get evaluated by a hiring agent. Those that don’t get rejected.

-Gather up job postings you’re interested in applying for. Which skills are mentioned over and over again? Make a list of approximately 10 of these skills (which you actually possess).

-Create a “Core Competencies” section near the start of the resume that lists all of these skills (separated by bullets).

-Look for opportunities to expand upon these skills within the “Professional Experience” section. For example, if you listed “Staff Training/Mentoring” within the “Core Competencies” section, you could provide information on specific training initiatives and successes when describing jobs you’ve held.

-Using this 2-pronged approach increases the probability of successful scanning by Applicant Tracking Systems while providing enough context to pique a recruiter or hiring agent’s interest.

3. Get Your Resume In The Hands Of Your Existing Network ASAP

Chances are, someone you already know holds the key to your next position. Reach out to them, be upfront about what you’re looking for, and send over your resume for them to take a look at. Some of your contacts might get back to you with feedback. Use it. Others will, in essence, serve as ambassadors, connecting you with industry professionals and delivering opportunities you’d never have been able to discover through “blind” submissions alone. Don’t be shy: your friends and colleagues will probably be more than happy to help!

About the Author

Anish Majumdar, CPRW is a Career and Owner at 98% of clients report and increase in interviews within 30 days, and all work comes backed by a 110% Satisfaction or Money Back Guarantee. Submit your resume for a free critique today!

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