It is harder than ever to get noticed in your job search, especially when you send your resume through the job boards or a company website. One of the problems you have to consider when writing a resume is making sure your resume can be read by the Applicant Tracking Systems, the software many companies use to read and rank resumes (see Best Resume Writer Tips: Complying with the Applicant Tracking Systems).
However, just being compliant with the software still does not mean your resume will be seen. Here are some of the best resume writer tips gleaned from over 15 years of experience in resume writing and job search assistance that will make sure your resume gets noticed:
Check Out The Right Job Boards
There are minimally three job board sites you should check out when you are looking for jobs: Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and employmentwebsites.org, which is from the International Association of Employment Websites.
Indeed is good as it is the top job board aggregator. LinkedIn shows jobs (it now has more listed than Monster.com) which lead you to the company site to upload your resume. The Association site lists hundreds of job sites by industry and geography (there are more than 5,000 job boards) and you should absolutely focus on industry niche boards.
Make Sure You Have The Correct File Version
Although some sites are now taking Word files, you might need an electronic (or ASCII) version of your resume. You can do this by opening your resume in MS Word, hitting File-Save As and choosing Plain Text, which will create a .txt version of your resume.
Now close the file, reopen it from Word and edit out any stray characters left over from your bullets and other graphics characters. This file will now automatically format itself when you cut and paste it into web sites and e-mails. I do not recommend sending your resume in .pdf format as a lot of Applicant Tracking Systems cannot read them.
Print It On The Right Stationery
Now, print your resume and cover letter on matching stationery, either a white or buff colored 24 lb. paper. Stay away from the fancy colors. If you have the extra money, a 100% cotton watermarked paper is impressive, but not really necessary. Get matching 9×12 envelopes as they will stand out more and your great-looking professional resume won’t have to be folded. If you can print labels, buy the clear kind as they look almost as if they were typed on the envelope, but handwriting an address is more effective.
Give Them A Ring
After sending your resume, follow up with a phone call. Yes, this is aggressive and if you do it correctly, you will definitely be noticed. Follow the instructions in the ad first, so if they say e-mail the resume then do that first. Otherwise, send the paper copies first and send the e-mail two days later, mentioning that the e-mail is a follow-up to your mailed resume. Finally, prepare to call the employer no later than three days after your resume has arrived. This is critical as most people don’t do this. Most importantly, develop a phone script to use.
If you just say, “I’m calling to see if you got my resume,” then you’ve already blown it. Instead, show that you know something about the company and state that you’d really like to know more about the job. Then, ask one or two great questions that demonstrate your knowledge and insights.
For example, if you are going for a sales position, ask, “I know your company is growing, is this position for a new territory or an existing one?” If they say it’s a new territory, casually mention how you opened a new territory before and delivered 120% of sales targets.
Try as much as possible to build a rapport with the person you’re speaking with, as employers hire people they like. Key tip: watch your energy level and intonation as they are the most important factors that define how you will come across. Be friendly, professional and conversational. End by asking if you may call them again next week to see how the selection process is progressing.
Remember that most people don’t follow these steps and if you do, your resume will rise to the top of the stack!
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