Resume Restoration's Job Seeker Rule Book
I often compare the world of being a job seeker in the current market to that of a game, such that to be successful and accelerate the time it takes to secure a victory, you first need to understand the rules.
One thing all players need to understand is that there are numerous complexities that this game has assumed over the years which require a strong player to not only act on the foundational practices of the game (click and apply), but to also incorporate an element of strategy. This strategy can be developed through an understanding of the role networking, LinkedIn, and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have in how we choose to play the game.
The object of the game is to secure a strong position quickly through online applications, networking, and LinkedIn.
Prepare your portfolio which must include an accomplishments-based resume (ideally both professionally formatted and an ATS compatible version), cover letter, and optimized LinkedIn profile.
HOW TO PLAY:
Step 1: Research
The Job Seeker must first start by researching positions of interest online. Spend time on LinkedIn, Google, Glassdoor, visiting the careers page of companies of interest etc. and find positions you are interested in and qualified for.
Should you not meet the qualifications, you must identify if these are hard requirements which would eliminate you as a candidate or if they are preferred qualifications. Continue your research and find out what it would require for you to fulfill meeting this qualification (perhaps a free online course, YouTube training, becoming certified etc.).
Create a list of position titles of interest.
Step 2: Audit/Edit/Target the Content of Your Resume
Write your resume in ‘resume language’ which is achieved by first understanding the expectations of the Recruiter or Hiring Manager. Typically, when reviewing incoming applications, these Recruiters are seeking professionals who not only possess the outlined job qualifications, but ideally those who have demonstrated these skills and competencies in a way that has garnered success in previous roles or experiences.
Make sure all qualifications (i.e., keywords) outlined in the job postings are included in your resume.
Use action verbs like spearheaded, established, oversaw, implemented, and streamlined to strengthen your bullets (Resource: RR's Action Verbs for Resumes).
Popular bullet formula’s:
Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]
Action verb + skill and/or task(s) = result(s)
PAR Method: identify a responsibility or issue at work (problem), discuss how the problem was addressed (action), and explain the outcome of that action (results)
CAR Formula: Challenge, Action, Result
Step 3: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
One of the best strategies both active and passive job seekers can incorporate into practice is to update their LinkedIn profile so to maximize the chance of it presenting in searches conducted by Hiring Managers and Recruiters.
Copy and paste all information from your resume into your profile.
Ensure your skills section is maxed out at 50 skills and choose to include skills that would be searched by hiring managers and recruiters (avoid soft skills like time management, communication, team player and rather select more tangible hard qualifications like specific software, negotiation, project management, LEAN Six Sigma, enterprise risk management etc.).
Open yourself up to recruiters. Always. By selecting that you are open to recruiters it prioritizes your profile over those who are not open to recruiters when they conduct a search (Resource: RR's Step by Step Guide on How to Open Your Profile Up To Recruiters.
Step 4: Understand the Application Platform Being Used
An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a type of software organization’s use to track, streamline, and organize the application process. They can be used to filter through resumes (through keyword searches), store applications, and streamline the hiring process (quickly issuing, receiving, and filing invitations and contracts and other information associated with the onboarding process).
ATS’ come in a wide range of sophistication; they vary in the parameters on how they can be used (scanning for keywords to prioritize applications vs. not scanning for keywords at all) and they vary in level of sophistication (some can read PDF documents while others are confused by any type of formatting).
As a job seeker does not know the level of sophistication of the ATS they are applying to, best practice is to have an unformatted ATS compatible resume and to complete a keyword scan prior to each ATS application (Resource: RR's ATS Compatible Resume Guide).
Getting a job is a job: Apply. Apply. Apply.
Keep track of all positions you have applied to by copying the job posting into a folder on your computer (once a position is closed the posting is often removed making it difficult to review prior to an interview
Written by Clementine Crooks