Unemployment is at a 14-year high. So, if you’re looking for a job, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, the competition makes landing a job more difficult.
You must be savvy. You’ll find plenty of help online. I have some tips and some places to look.
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CREATING A STELLAR RESUME
Your résumé is your professional calling card. A poorly executed one might well go into the trash. A clean, clear effort might get you an interview. Few people land jobs with just a good résumé. But a sloppy résumé is a killer. So your résumé must be top-notch and error-free. It is the price of admission.
Most job boards offer tips for crafting a résumé. Or search Google for sample résumés. Microsoft Word includes templates. Microsoft has more on its site. Take your time and do it right.
ANTICIPATE SPAM FILTERS
Companies often filter résumés with software. So keywords are paramount. For example, list by name the programs you know. And include a job title in your objective.
Filters can also harm you when you e-mail your résumé. It could be flagged by a spam filter. For example, the term magna cum laude will likely flag your message.
Predicting what will trigger spam filters is difficult. Online tools like SpamCheck can help. They examine your message for “spammy” words.
OPTIMIZING YOUR RESUME'S FORMAT
The format of your résumé is also very important. Obviously you want a fully formatted résumé suitable for printing. Include indents, bullets and font formatting.
You also need a plain-text résumé for e-mailing. It shouldn’t contain bullets, special characters or font formatting. Use asterisks instead of bullets. All caps can be used to separate sections and highlight words.
Indents and complex spacing should be avoided. Spacing often doesn’t appear correctly in e-mail; this affects your résumé’s readability. E-mail it to yourself to check readability.
Many sites can use your plain-text résumé to complete an application. The contents of your résumé are matched with the appropriate fields.
E-MAILING YOUR RESUME
If possible, do not e-mail your résumé as an attachment. Attachments can spread malware. Many corporate networks strip them from messages.
Opening an attachment also takes more time. Don’t give employers an excuse not to view your résumé!
Instead, put the job title or reference number in the e-mail subject line. In the body of the e-mail, place your cover letter and résumé. Mention also that a professionally formatted version of your résumé is available.
Your first instinct is probably to start at a general job site like Careerbuilder and Monster. By all means, use these sites. But don’t forget specialized job boards.
Competition on general sites is tough. And you may not find high-level or specialized jobs. So seek out a job board specializing in your field. There will be fewer job listings. But your chances are better.
Tech workers should try Dice. Upper-level executives should head to TheLadders. It lists jobs paying $100,000 or more. SalesJobs is for sales professionals, while eFinancialCareers specializes in financial positions. For government jobs, hit USAJOBS. Search Google for other specialized sites.
Network, network, network
Networking is still important. It can help you find unlisted positions. And contacts may be able to get your résumé to the appropriate party.
First, join an industry organization. You’ll meet others in your field, including those with hiring authority. You’ll also hear about opportunities. Many organizations have their own job boards.
Alumni associations are also helpful. Former classmates in your area may help with your search. You’ll find information on your alumni association on your college’s Web site.
You should join a networking site to develop new connections. The most popular is LinkedIn. You might also try Ecademy and Ryze. These sites are similar to other networking sites. However, the atmosphere is more buttoned down and professional.
Kim Komando hosts a talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and