The thought of conducting a job search right now is probably very intimidating for most professionals—and a little frightening. While there are many things that could be scaring you about your job search, you can't let those fears impact your career, especially when you can easily overcome them with the right tools, tips, and strategies.
If the phrase "looking for a job" strikes fear into your heart, don't worry. Here's how to overcome your job search fears this fall, just in time for Halloween!
Fear #1: Employers Won't Call You Back
You're putting so much time and effort into your job search, but what if employers never call you back? This is a common fear for many professionals, and for good reason. A lot of job seekers do spend hours a day applying for jobs only to never hear back from employers. There are a few reasons why this might be happening: your resume didn't make it past the ATS, your cover letter didn't stand out to hiring managers, and/or you didn't adequately market your skills and experience to employers or demonstrate your value as a business-of-one.
How To Overcome This Fear:
Fear #2: You'll Bomb The Job Interview
This is a fear that probably keeps you up at night. You've finally found a job you like and land an interview with the company. But, what if you bomb the job interview? What if you ruin your chances of getting a job offer? Confidence is key in a job interview, and you can't be confident without proper interview preparation.
How To Overcome This Fear:
Fear #3: You'll Accept The Wrong Job Offer
If you've been looking for a job for a while, you might feel desperate. This puts you in a vulnerable spot, but you should avoid settling for a job if you can. On the flipside, you might have multiple job offers and need to decide which one is right for you. Do you feel empowered to make the right decision?
How To Overcome This Fear:
Want More Help With Your Job Search? Sign Up For Our FREE Trial!
If you're still dealing with some job search fears, check out our FREE TRIAL today!
With a Work It Daily subscription, you get access to one-on-one career coaching, resume and cover letter reviews, online tutorials, and unlimited networking opportunities—all in your back pocket!
Sign up for your FREE TRIAL today!
A resume is the first opportunity you have to make an impression on a hiring manager or recruiter. And it's important to make a great first impression. The average recruiter spends mere seconds scanning your resume so you need to make yourself stand out.
We've compiled a list of some important factors to keep in mind when creating or updating your resume. Here are the 10 key components of a great resume:
1. Organized Format
Structure your resume in an organized manner; keep your font simple, your layout appealing, and your spacing consistent. You want your resume to be easy to read too, so make sure you have enough white space. You don't want to overwhelm hiring managers or recruiters with too much text. An organized resume format will automatically make them want to give your resume a closer look.
2. Correct Spelling/Grammar
Spellcheck everything at least twice and have someone else proofread your resume before you submit it. Spelling or grammar mistakes give hiring managers and recruiters the impression that you don't pay attention to details and don't really care about the job you're applying for. Avoid these mistakes at all costs!
3. Professional Attitude
List a professional sounding email address—not "partyanimal_687" or "2cool4u15." Also, list a phone number that is attached to a professional voicemail greeting. Potential employers don't need to hear reality TV, loud music, kids crying, or road noise in the background. If this means you have to re-record your voicemail greeting, so be it.
4. Objective Keywords
Leave out subjective words like "reliable" and "hard-working." A potential employer is not going to bring you in for an interview because you say you're reliable. They are going to bring you in because they think you can solve a problem for them. This is why quantifying your work experience on your resume is essential.
5. Keywords From The Job Description
Incorporate words into your resume that are listed in the job description of the position you're applying for. This will help you get your resume past the ATS and also help a hiring manager quickly see that you're a fit for the position.
6. Brief Explanations For Employment Gaps And Layoffs
If you were let go from several positions due to downsizing, mention this. If you have a large gap in your employment history, explain what you were doing during that time and what you learned. Keep your explanations short and sweet.
7. Relevant Job/Internship/Volunteer Experience
If you're a veteran in your industry, you don't need to list the very first job you had decades ago. Keep your employment history to the past 10-15 years if you have a substantial amount of industry-related experience. If you're a recent graduate, listing the part-time job you had in college is fine—but you also want to list any internships, volunteer work, coursework, or projects you had that are relevant to the job. Unpaid experience still counts.
8. Effective Use Of Space
Treat each word on your resume like beachfront property. Space is so valuable. Make every word you use count. Remember not to jam too much text on your resume, either. You want just enough information to get hiring managers and recruiters to give you a call.
9. Customized Cover Letter
Your cover letter should contain content that is different from your resume and should match up very well with the job description. This means you will need to rewrite your cover letter for each job you apply for. To get the best results, make sure you're writing disruptive cover letters so you can stand out in the hiring process.
10. Realistic Expectations
Be optimistic, but realistic. If a job description lists a required task that you're confident you can do, try to word and quantify your past experience to reflect that. But if a job description lists seven required skills or certifications and you only have three of them, then you don't meet the qualifications and shouldn't apply.
It's a great time to update your resume and reflect a bit on your strengths and skills. Being able to effectively and succinctly summarize your skills, education, and experience is important for everyone—regardless of whether you intend to seek employment in the near future. These resume tips are intended to help you put forth the best possible impression of yourself on paper. You only get one chance to make a great impression, so make yours count!
Need more help with your resume?
Or, join our career growth club today and get access to one-on-one career coaching, resume and cover letter reviews, online tutorials, and unlimited networking opportunities—all in your back pocket!
If you want FREE career advice in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter The Daily Dose!
Struggling to find the right job?
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Recruitment is broken. Trust me, I get it.
You send a resume and you feel that it goes straight into a black hole. Is there even someone reading them, or is there some dumb artificial "intelligence" that will simply match a few keywords and throw out perfectly valid candidates?
Yup, these shenanigans are sure going on. But, then, these employers complain that they cannot find good recruits. Well, sure: these systems seem perfect to ensure they never find anyone.
But truth be told, not all organizations out there are resorting to these failed systems. Many people read resumes every day the good old-fashioned way, using the sensors Mother Nature intended us to use: a pair of eyeballs.
That should be a fun process. It is anything but. Because some candidates seem to be hell-bent on ensuring they cause your eyes to bleed.
Here are a few ways they use to do it.
Write Your Resume And Cover Letter Like Egyptian Hieroglyphics!textPhoto by Jeremy Zero on Unsplash
Some resumes and cover letters seem to be designed with information security in mind: they are self-ciphering documents.
Sure, some of these texts may be Shakespearian in quality. But they come in small fonts with one block of text. Paragraphs are for chumps, superfluous adjectives abound, and commas with following spaces are a scarce resource.
Wait! Didn't you say you wanted to read about me? So then, what are you complaining about?
Well, perhaps you should put yourself in a recruiter's shoes for a second. They get bombarded with TONS of resumes. Because, you know, sending a resume is arch-easy. Press one button, and voilà.
So, in front of information overload, what do most people do? If they find what they are looking for quickly, they keep on reading. Otherwise, they don't.
Now, imagine this. You show up to a trade show. You are hunting for a solution to a specific problem.
It turns out, on the trade show floor, two companies can answer your need.
Company A has a pretty bland booth with no keywords in sight, only a beautiful logo (which happens to mean nothing to you). So you grab a leaflet while the salesperson is looking somewhere else, and you see a long, drab (but technically correct) description of their solution.
Company B has a smaller logo, sure, but keywords posted on the walls. So you know at a glance what they are about. And their leaflets have bullet points with a crisp, concise message.
Question: who is more likely to get your business?
In fact, it is quite possible you will not even find your way to Company A.
Your resume and cover letter are just like the walls of a booth and leaflets. They are speaking volumes in the absence of the salesperson—that would be YOU.
The Aspirin-Grade Resume: It Will (Not) Fix Any Ailment An Employer May Have
People are complex beings. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a document, even the snazziest of resumes, to capture the entirety of their essence.
Now, employers understand this. That is why they don't recruit without interviews.
But again, in our day of age when anyone can fire a resume at a click of a button, for free, they usually get too many resumes.
So, they pick and choose. They cannot interview everyone. The folks doing the interviews often have other duties; interviewing is something they do on the side. They simply don't have the bandwidth to interview everyone!
How do they pick? Well, predictably enough, based on their needs. They peruse resumes in search of a few requirements. And if they find evidence that the person may fit the bill, they choose to invite him or her to an interview.
Now, we all know this is anything but a scientific process. And truth be told, some recruiting managers are doing a bad job. They choose people strictly based on experience instead of potential (just watch my video above).
But then, some candidates don't help their cause by sending a generic resume.
Wait! Customizing a resume? Isn't that a time-consuming process?
It can be. But there are tricks around it. You don't need to customize 100% of your resume. Have an intro section listing keywords, and ensure these match the requirements of the job.
Of course, there must be some evidence you can genuinely claim these skills. Don't outright lie. But do put forward some arguments in favor of your candidacy.
Or don't. And let other candidates win. It's up to you.
Adopt A Call Center Approach To Resumes (i.e. It's A Numbers Game!)
Finding a job by yelling to the marketPhoto by Icons8 Team on Unsplash
While looking for a new occupation, you need to decide what type of individual you are. Are you looking for "just a job"—any will do—or are you trying to build a career?
If any job will do, then I guess the call center strategy of resume and cover letter manufacturing will do. You know what I am talking about: these folks calling us on the phone reading a script as FAST as they can in the hopes of closing a sale, not caring one bit about actually solving a problem we may have.
In their world, sales is a number's game. So is your job search. You will be successful by MASSIVELY inundating recruiters with bland, off-the-shelf resumes and cover letters that are generic enough they don't mean much to employers.
Better yet, don't even bother writing a cover letter—hey, it is all about "efficiency," right?
I guess this is great for certain types of positions. Just not the ones I want or recruit for.
The other way is to understand that resumes and cover letters are what marketers call sales collaterals, such as websites, leaflets, and slides. They either help salespeople during the sales process and, in some cases (like websites), they are your virtual sales force, attracting prospects into a high-grade sales funnel.
That strategy is more deliberate, and as a result, it requires more time.
But it is the only way I know of to get career opportunities, not "just a job."