Everyone knows the big players in the resume and job boards. There are the general ones: Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and more. Then there are niche boards: Dice for technology, HigherEdJobs for university posts, the list goes on.
But if the boards are no secret (they aren’t) and if your resume is one amongst many thousands (it is), how do you get found by the right recruiters and employers? Here are a few tips and tricks, broken into the three main steps of resume composition and posting: writing, formatting, and posting.
While Writing Your Resume
The content of your resume will always be the most important thing about it. This is true both in terms of making your resume communicate what you want said about you, and also in terms of who finds you.
When composing your resume, no matter your industry, discipline, or level of experience, brainstorm the skill sets and experiences of yours that are most valuable to your target audience.
For instance, if you have spent the last three years as a junior account executive for a small accessories label and your goal is to become an account executive for an apparel line, be sure to include keywords and phrases that are common between accessories and apparel. Equally important is to highlight client firms who buy both accessories and apparel.
This not only focuses attention on your transferable skills and client contacts; it means someone searching for those apparel-related keywords in the resume board’s boolean search tool will find your resume more readily than if you had restricted your terminology and client highlights to accessories-only.
While Formatting Your Resume
Always remember that 9 times out of 10, the first pair of eyes reading your resume at any given hiring firm will be reading it online.
That means simple fonts, clearly separated sections, and strategically stylized keywords and important phrases are even more important than if the CV were to be read on paper. It is important to keep style consistent in different sections (e.g., if you bold one company name and underline one job title, do that for all of them).
Something many resume writers seem to forget is that the recruiter or employer is not searching for their first and last name… so there’s no need to take up twenty-five pixels with just your moniker. Instead, keep your name at no more than 16-point font (approximately), and use the space at the top of the resume to bullet-point or otherwise demarcate key strengths or experiences.
Make sure those keywords and client calls you decided to include are easily visible in the top third of your resume, too. The job boards often highlight the keywords that an employer or recruiter used in search, and the more quickly they see a moderate amount of keywords showing up highlighted, the more likely they are to keep reading farther down.
However, don’t pepper every other sentence with keywords and client or industry phrases like they were going out of style. Then your resume will come across as just so much spam.
Another trick NOT to try: hidden text (usually in white or very light grey) at the bottom of the document with twenty lines of keyword phrases. Sure, if you have every keyword phrase from “cold-calling” to “HTML 5″ in your resume, it will come up often in search. But sooner than later, the searchers will see your resume’s headline and remember, “Oh, the one who just stuffed with keywords and probably can’t do any of that anyway.”
When Posting Your Resume
Speaking of your resume’s headline, that is important too. Different resume boards allow for different profile styles, so pay attention to what you’re displaying in each.
For instance, some boards use your resume’s document file name as your profile title, so some titles read simply Mary-Sue-1-2013. Some allow you to fill in anything you like. In this case, “I AM THE EMPLOYEE FOR YOU!!!” may be eye-catching, but not in a good way. A good rule of thumb is to stick to your first and last name, and current or target position title.
Most boards do not require job seekers to fill in compensation information, though doing so ups the odds that you will be contacted. Without any information available, a prospective employer may assume that you are out of range of their budget.
If done correctly and with care, the above tactics ought to let your resume do some of the job search work for you. Acing the first interview is up to you.
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