For many professionals, the New Year brings motivation to explore new career opportunities. As most of us know, following through on this inspiration and actually securing a new position can take considerable time and effort. Getting a new job has never been easy, and now it can be even more challenging with the impersonalization of recruitment in today’s world of technology. Typically, a recruitment process begins with an online application system. Even though subsequent stages eventually involve an actual human being, it can still be difficult to capture attention.
The most important thing to remember about developing a resume that will get noticed by recruiters is to include keywords! Most recruitment software programs focus heavily on keyword usage. That means that your resume needs to be a comprehensive compilation of the various keywords that describe your education and skills, especially those that are noted in a position description (exactly as written). If your resume does not include the right keywords, you won’t even make it beyond an organization’s recruitment software.
If your resume is extensive, you may want to include a career summary and/or objective. Providing an objective will show that you have given thought to your next career step. It is also advisable that you write it to align with the role for which you are applying. Therefore, it will have to be changed with each resume you send.
Outline your professional experience in chronological order with achievements noted for each role. Keep in mind that actual quantitative numbers will capture the most attention. They signify awareness of your own performance as it relates to your employer’s metrics. In an indirect way, they also show your motivation in reaching or exceeding established expectations, demonstrating a strong work ethic.
Highlight your strengths and industry-specific skills. Since Helbling specializes in construction, engineering, facilities management, and real estate development, we look for knowledge and capabilities relevant to these sectors, such as: LEED; building information modeling; LEAN construction practices; integrated project delivery or other alternative building methods; and innovation as it relates to applying technological advancements to processes and procedures. For facilities professionals, we look for experience with: capital projects; energy efficiency; utilities management; preventative maintenance; and computerized maintenance management systems.
Include other important attributes, such as: licenses, certifications, or continuing education credits earned. Depending upon when your educational degree was obtained, list it before or after your professional experience. Just remember to be honest about degrees received, as the truth most always comes out. Provide clarity if you’re working toward a degree.
Next, make your resume visually appealing. Using 2 different fonts, regular and bolded, is the simplest way to go. While you may prefer to use a font that could make your resume stand out, stick with standard computer fonts because you don’t know how it will be shown on a recruiter’s end. The ideal layout is horizontal (with no vertical sections or boxes on the side, and your name and contact information at the top center).
While some organizations require a cover letter with an online application, others leave it as optional. However, recruiters know that, if an applicant is truly interested in their organization and role, he/she will include a cover letter. In writing one, tailor it to an organization and role, and your time will be well spent because most applicants won’t take the time to do so.
Remember that a cover letter’s purpose is to complement a resume, not repeat the same information. Use the letter as an opportunity to express your enthusiasm, mention something that you learned about the organization from reviewing its website, and/or to highlight “soft” traits that are applicable to the role. While most soft skills are more easily conveyed during an interview, one in particular that can be demonstrated in a resume and cover letter is communication, specifically written communication. We not only mean grammatical accuracy, but how well you articulate your experience and prior roles, and how they align with the role for which you are applying.
Have you ever googled your name? If so, it’s likely your LinkedIn profile was one of the first results. Needless to say, the same thing will happen when a recruiter googles you. If it’s apparent that you haven’t updated your profile or it is vague, it may be construed that you don’t take your career seriously. Important aspects of a strong LinkedIn profile are: employment experience with various titles held and dates; skills; endorsements; and a professional-looking photo.
Clean up your social media accounts. Many people, especially those of the millennial generation (and even some Gen Xers), don’t think that recruiters look at social media activity. This is simply not the case. In 2016, a CareerBuilder survey found that 60% of employers used social media to screen candidates before hiring them. That statistic went to 70% in 2017.
In considering these suggestions, how far would you make it in a typical candidate screening process? If you’re looking to make a career change, apply these tips to your job-seeking strategies. Our bet is that you will differentiate yourself from other applicants early on, enhancing your chances of being the selected candidate and moving your career forward.