Executive Resume Writer and Career Strategist at www.virginiafrancoresumes.com.
These clients come through my doors all the time: smart, achievement-laden professionals, rusty where job searching is concerned. Many have not been in the job market since before the recession and others have never needed to job hunt — until now. Most have heard through the grapevine what it takes to successfully land a job.
As an executive resume writer who has helped thousands to navigate the job search landscape, I can attest that while some of these job search truths are true to some extent, others are simply unfounded. Perplexed? You are not alone.
#1: I Must Apply Online To Get An Interview
The Reality: In my experience, the online application process may work for some, but usually does not work for most. This is because many things can occur between the time a posting appears and when you apply.
From budget freezes to managers going in another direction to someone having the inside track before the posting even gets published — it will be tough to get a response no matter how perfect you are for the role.
The Workaround: Regardless of whether a job posting is viable or not, online advertisements do serve a positive purpose. They can reveal which corporations appear to have budgets for hiring, and they provide a bit of insight into the corporate culture. They are an ideal starting point for networking — which in my experience yields a far greater return on your job search efforts than responding to roles via a portal ever would.
Use these postings to identify which companies to target and to locate decision makers or connections you may have within these organizations. Get started with outreach and see it where it leads you.
#2: My Resume Must Have Keywords To Get Noticed
The Reality: If you pepper your resume with a bunch of industry keywords your resume may make it past applicant tracking software but will probably end its journey as soon as it gets before a human. Why? A resume must tell the story of how you are a perfect fit for the role. No amount of keywords will accomplish this without context or an explanation of how you performed your role and how you succeeded.
The Workaround: Include a "Skills" section in your resume that allows a reader (and the machine!) to quickly scan core skills in which you are highly proficient or even an expert. Use the rest of the resume to tell the reader about your achievements and proud moments — which in turn will allow them to figure out what you can do should they hire you.
#3: Recruiters Will Find Me As Long As I Have A Completed LinkedIn Profile
The Reality: A LinkedIn profile that is at "all-star" status (check where yours is by going to "Edit Profile" and looking in the top right corner of the screen) will absolutely rank more highly in searches than one where key sections have been left blank. However, in a highly saturated or competitive industry, a complete profile alone will not likely give you the advantage you need.
The Workaround: In my experience of writing LinkedIn profiles and guiding clients on this platform during their job search, the more active and engaged a client is on LinkedIn, the more likely they are to be contacted and the shorter their job search will be.
This can be accomplished by reaching out to first-degree connections, connecting with second- and third-degree connections, and sending a note to those who have viewed your profile. Additionally, spend a few minutes each day liking and sharing content of interest within your targeted industry.
While Technology Will Continue — People Don't
There’s no doubt the job search landscape has changed — thanks in large part to technology. What hasn’t changed, however, is people.
At the end of the day, people still respond to people — whether through a strong case articulated on paper or in person. In other words, the powers of outreach and networking will continue to trump other forms of job hunting for years to come.