Battle the Bot: How to get Your Resume Read by a Real Human Being

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Did you know that nearly 75% of resumes are never seen by human eyes? An increasing number of companies are adding an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) each year, as it can sort through hundreds (if not thousands) of resumes in the time it takes a hiring manager to get through a handful. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to get through the system and have your resume seen by an actual human being, as long as you follow these four tips:

Include Relevant Keywords Throughout Your Resume

An ATS will scan the entirety of your resume and check to make sure you included specific keywords from the Job Ad. These keywords can include everything from required skills and experience, to specific job titles and certifications. It’s worth noting that modern ATS also pay attention to how each keyword is used in the flow of the resume (and cover letter), so if a keyword seems out of place it may be rejected. Each keyword should belong where it is written, so sprinkling them randomly throughout your resume will send out a red flag.

Stick to Traditional Font and Layout Choices

While new fonts and layouts are being added all the times, the classics work the best when it comes to your resume getting through the system. Fonts like Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, and Verdana in 10 to 12-point size are all ATS-friendly, as are traditional resume layouts that come standard on most word processing programs. A quick note on bullet points: avoid using special characters or accents on bullets. Most tracking systems have a problem reading them, and they may introduce line breaks or coding that will confuse it.

Avoid Graphs and Tables

While adding charts, graphs, or tables to your resume may seem like a way to add clarity to your resume, Applicant Tracking Systems are not good at reading them. In fact, they tend to read them as stray words or symbols, which can cause the system to automatically reject it. Stick with “standard” resume designs with simple formatting to ensure it is machine readable.

Avoid Slang and Overly Uncommon Abbreviation

Applicant Tracking Systems aren’t very good at recognizing slang, so resist the urge to use acronyms you used around the office for a task and instead try and use a description that can be easily understood. This is especially true if you are referring to a keyword used in the Job Ad itself. If you are highlighting a skill, use the words that were used in the ad, and if in doubt, go with the actual name of the item you are highlighting, such as using “Microsoft Word” instead of just putting “Word.” In addition, avoid uncommon abbreviations, and if something is commonly abbreviated list both the full word and the abbreviation. For instance: Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The One Tool Every Job Seeker Needs in their Arsenal

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Looking for a tool that will add a new dimension to your job search? Partnering with a (free) employment service, like AppleOne, will enhance your job search and provide you with the personalized assistance that every job seeker needs. Here are the three most important ways that an employment service will help you:

Develop a Better Understanding of What Local Employers Are Seeking

The “X-factor” that can you get a job at one employer may be a turnoff to another one. Knowing what specific companies are looking for in your area will help you get you the job you are targeting. AppleOne Hiring Advisors track local and national employment trends. Because they work with specific employers, they can give you valuable insights into how best to present yourself for a particular job.

Stronger Resumes and Cover Letters

The average hiring manager takes only eight seconds to look over your resume to decide whether to call you in for an interview. That is if you can get past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that they use to cut down the initial job pool. An employment service knows what employers are looking for in cover letters and resumes, and they can help you craft something that will get past the computers and catch the manager’s eye.

Access to Jobs That Aren’t Posted on Job Boards

Did you know that up to 85% of all available jobs are never posted on online job boards? Because of the costs associated with hiring and advertising, many of these jobs are actually never even available to the public, as companies look to sources like AppleOne to handle the hiring for them. This means an employment service can help you apply for jobs you would have not found otherwise. These are jobs that aren’t looking for a pool of applicants, but only the ones they want to either interview or hire on the spot.

Feeling Stuck? Four Great Ways to Reinvigorate Your Job Search

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If your job search isn’t producing results, it may be time to rethink your approach. These four adjustments can help you change your strategy.

Reevaluate What You “Need” in a Job

Do you have a long list of “must haves” you are looking for from your next employer? It’s good to know what you’re targeting, but there is no perfect job. The key is understanding where you can compromise. Reevaluating your priorities will help you expand the types of jobs you are applying to. You may have several items that are “must haves” when it comes to location, salary, and culture, but there may be other items that you will be willing to reconsider if an otherwise great opportunity presents itself.

Consider Getting Additional Training and Schooling to Gain New Skills

Do you keep seeing a certain skill listed in jobs to which you would like to apply? Instead of hoping to get a job despite not having that skill, seek out some additional training or schooling to learn it. Community colleges and specialty schools have flexible class schedules, meaning that you can take classes at nights or on weekends. In addition, you may be able to get some certifications through online courses. Even if you feel confident that you can land a job without a particular skill, it’s always better to have skills that will give you a leg up in your field.

Volunteer in the Community

There is no better way to reinvigorate you soul, and your job search, then to volunteer. Not only do you feel good helping the community, but it also allows you to learn new skills and network in an action setting. While there are goals to reach every day, job searches can sometimes feel like they don’t give you tangible results. Volunteering allows you to take on projects that have a beginning and an end, which can feel good after a long day of sending out resumes.

Change Your Focus

Have you been trying to make a radical career shift? Employers look at what you’ve done as an indication of what you can do. Changing that is possible, but it is also extremely challenging. Rather than focusing on a complete break from your past experience, you may need to map out a few lateral moves or bridge positions that can make your transition more logical to potential employers.

 

 

 

 

Get into the Secret Job Market for an Amazing Career

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You can easily find thousands of jobs online. It’s quick and easy to apply, but they all produce hundreds of applicants. How can you possibly compete with that? Big job boards have a place in every job search strategy, but you also need to get into the secret job market to find the jobs that 99% of your competition will never even see.

Focus on Where You Want to Work, Not Who Appears to Have Job Openings

Since “secret” jobs need to be discovered, narrow your focus to the companies that you really want to work for. Make a list of 20-25 companies,  and start developing a plan to secure a job with them. Use you networks, or your parent’s networks, to find people who work for your target employers. Ask your AppleOne hiring advisor for access to our Navigating the Hiring process guide, which contains scripts for how best to reach out to these people. During your meeting be sure to ask if they know of any jobs that might be right for you and find out who else they think you should contact.

Attend Those Marketing Events That Are On Campus

Do you see flyers around campus or in the career center that advertise a networking event or a guest speaker from a company of interest? These are events you need to attend. Yes, they allow you to meet other people who have similar career interests, but they also allow you to meet people in person that can help you identify jobs before they become public. Never miss an opportunity to meet someone who has connections, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions, or even hit them with an elevator pitch regarding what you are looking for. You’d be surprised how many interviews and hiring’s start with a simple handshake.

Build Up Your LinkedIn Network

LinkedIn can help you in two distinct ways. First, it allows you to grow and nurture a network of professionals that can alert you to new job openings, while giving you advice on how to secure them. Second, it can help you identify and connect with people who work at, or with, your target employers. The latter will help you get an interview even before the job is discussed externally.

Make It Personal: Use the Phone or Introduce Yourself in Person

Email and texts have their place, but they aren’t always the best choice for a job search. Let your personality shine by picking up the phone to talk to a human being at your target companies. This makes you harder to ignore, and gives you an opportunity to ask follow up questions, and even develop a relationship with the person on the other side of the phone. If you feel extra confident, you can do your inquiries in person, which allows you to put an immediate face to the name. In both cases, have your resumes ready to go, and have your elevator pitch down pat.

 

 

Going Beyond Fear – Your Key to Growth and Success

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Fear can be useful, but you won’t grow if you allow it to hold you back. As in all things, you need to find the right balance, and our 3-step process will help you work through you fear so that you can boldly push past your comfort zone into the areas where growth is possible.

Is the Fear Specific or General?

Are you worried about a specific aspect of a new opportunity, or is it just a general anxiety of the unknown? Separate the general uneasiness from the specific concerns that you may have about risks you may be taking. For example, being worried about fitting in and thriving at a new company can be chalked up to the general anxiety everyone experiences when starting at a new job. This kind of stress can be expected, and thus not looked at as something that should stop you from going for it.

Are There Steps You Can Take Right Now To Help Reduce Your Worry?

Some of the fear you have regarding a new opportunity that has presented itself can be alleviated immediately. For example, if you are worried about a taking on a new job because it is related to a field that you don’t know much about, you can find a lot of information online that will give you in-depth information on what you can expect. A lot of fear comes from the unknown, so simply learning about what you need to know right now can alleviate a lot of fear.

Are the Risks Worth the Reward?

Once you’ve eliminated general anxiety and taken steps to reduce specific worries, you’re left with a few risks that you need to actively manage. For instance, you may be worried about leaving a relatively secure position for a less secure position. First test each assumption. Is the current position really secure? There are no guarantees in life and people often find themselves let go from jobs they thought were stable. Is the potential employer really insecure? If it’s a start-up, how long can they stay in business based on the current direction of the company. If you were let go how long do you think it would take you to find a new job?  Once you have a handle on the situation, look at why you’re interested in the opportunity. Will there be new duties or skills that will allow you to grow in your career? Will there be a larger salary that will allow you to save against a possible loss of work. Consider each of the rewards against each of the risks and make an informed choice.

Urgent: The 3 Keys To Turning Any Resolution Into An Achievable Goal

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Do you have a list of resolutions you are looking forward to tackling this year? Before you start on your journey to better yourself, it’s important to recognize that most resolutions fall by the way side, not because the person isn’t driven, but because the idea isn’t transferred into an achievable plan for reaching their goals. For those looking forward to a successful year, here are three things you can do to make your resolutions a reality:

Forget the Abstract Idea: Identify the Goals You Are Looking to Achieve

You can’t start working towards a resolution until you identify what exactly you are looking to achieve. Say that your goal is to learn more job-related skills to advance your career. Start by identifying what exactly you want to learn, and picture what a successful completion of your goals would look like. For example, if your resolution is to gain management experience, identify specific steps you can take such as: speaking with your boss about your goals and having yourself put in charge of the “XYZ” project so that you can manage the team to a successful project outcome. Aren’t sure what an achievable goal for your resolution would be? Speak with your mentor, peers or supervisor to get their ideas.

Have an End Date in Mind: Give Yourself a Realistic Date to Get Things Done

There is nothing more daunting then an open ended goal.. When turning your resolution into an actionable plan, set a date by which you intend to reach your goals. While you may end up moving the goal back (or forward) as you progress, having an end date will make your goal concrete and actionable.

Celebrate the Journey: Set Goals Along the Way that Will Keep You Pumped Up

If your goal is to run a marathon or lose 20 pounds, where do you even start? The secret is to break that big goal down into small easily achievable steps. Set a goal to find a marathon training program that will guide you to your goal, or set a goal to meet with a doctor to discuss an exercise and nutritional plan to lose weight. As you achieve each simple goal take a moment to celebrate your achievement and then immediately set the next goal for yourself. Give yourself points along the journey to stop and look back at how far you’ve come and you’ll find yourself much more motivated to continue towards your ultimate success.

 

Rock Your Job Search Like a Superstar

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Celebrities have learned that social media is the best way to advance their career, and while you may not be looking to land a role in the next blockbuster or keep your $50 million fashion line afloat, your favorite stars can teach you a lot about how to succeed in your own career goals. Here are three simple rules that will help you craft and utilize your social media footprint to land your next starring role:

Rule #1: Image Is Everything (And You Have the Power to Tailor It)

Examples: Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres                      

We all create versions of ourselves for social media, and celebrities (and their teams of assistants) have this down to a science. For example, Taylor Swift, shares posts that make her seem “approachable.” Her fans don’t just feel like they have a connection to her, they feel like she could be one of their friends. Ellen DeGeneres shares posts that are goofy, yet wholesome. This  matches the image that is presented on her show. You have the power to craft your own image on Social Media, and when it comes to getting a job, nothing will sell you more than looking both professional, yet approachable, meaning that you’ll get the work done, and fit in well with the office.

Rule #2: Looking Professional Will You Seem Professional

Example: Justin Timberlake

People judge you by how you look, and celebrities learned long ago that they can use that to turn themselves into whoever they need to be. Take Justin Timberlake for example. When he first burst on the scene with *N SYNC, his fashion sense left a certain “something” to be desired (a denim suit is never appropriate!). As his career matured and he went solo, JT updated his fashion sense, trading his old boy-band look for those of a fashionable crooner. Now, you can’t solely credit his suit and tie (sorry, had to) for his new image, but it definitely helped. Of course you’d wear a suit to an interview because you want to be seen as professional, but if the first time a potential employer sees you is on Instagram or LinkedIn, you need to craft a similarly professional image there, too. You don’t have to be formal all the time, but if you’re looking for a job, select profile photos and share pictures that will leave employers wanting to meet you.

Rule #3: Use Your Fan Base to Get Yourself Opportunities

Examples: Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen

In the music industry, your online fan base can be as important  as your record sales. In fact, some of today’s biggest artists got their big break because of their social media fan base. Both Justin Bieber and professional earworm Carly Rae Jepsen were signed to major labels because their posts got so many likes from their followers. Musicians, artists, and actors are now using their social media followers as a tool in advancing their careers. Unless you’re in PR, Social Media, or entertainment, you may not get a job due to the number of followers you have, but you can still use your own social media “fan base” to get career opportunities. Follow people at companies you’re targeting or tap your network for introductions and job advice. Share your professional achievements, and don’t be afraid to inquire about work. It used to be that you had to go out of your way to network. Now, thanks to social media, you can meet new people and share your skills in a matter of seconds.