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.

 

 

The Practical Gifts That Job Seekers Want To See Under The Tree

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Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the job seeker in your life? Think practical. Whether they are a new graduate who is jumping into the job market for the first time, or a seasoned veteran looking to take the next step in their career, here are some great ideas for practical gifts they can use:

A Stylish New Interview Outfit

A crisp, comfortable professional outfit makes a huge psychological difference in a job interview. When you know you look good, you feel like you can take on the world. With this in mind, give the job seeker in your life either a brand new interview outfit, or a gift card to a their favorite store where they can pick out their own. Accessories like belts, shoes, ties, and scarfs make great gifts as well.

A Gift Card to a Local Dry Cleaner

Job seekers need a clean, wrinkle-free outfit every time they go in for an interview, meaning that they will be making multiple trips to their local dry cleaner during their search. These costs can add up, which is why a gift card to a local dry cleaner will be a welcome gift to them this holiday season.

A High-Quality Haircut from a Salon

Many job seekers would not even think of indulging in a salon-style haircut. While they may be happy with the cost-effective haircuts they get on a regular basis, treating them to a salon-experience haircut of the highest quality is a great gift, and one that will give them the confidence to take on any interview.  Gift cards to places like nail salons and day spas will likely be appreciated as well.

A Handy New Portfolio Bag or Briefcase

Walking into a job interview holding four copies of your printed out resume makes you look unprofessional even before the hiring manager opens their mouth. With this in mind, every candidate needs a professional-looking portfolio bag or briefcase to accompany them to interviews, making it a perfect gift for job seekers.

Don’t Let Halloween Photos Come Back to Haunt You

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Halloween gives us a chance to try on alternate identities and let our inner wild-child out to play. It can be a lot of fun, but with the internet being the place where nothing ever dies, those photos can come back to haunt you in your job search. Even if you think it shouldn’t matter and you wouldn’t want to work for the kind of employer who would care, it’s always best to leave yourself as many options as possible. You can still have fun if you follow a few simple rules about how you share the fun via social media.

Give Some Thought to What You Post Publicly

While it’s okay to wear a funny or potentially controversial political Halloween costume, you should avoid posting pictures of it. Your future hiring manager may not share your sense of humor or political leanings, so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to broadcasting your costume to the world.

Remember That Friends’ Pictures Can Haunt You Too

Sometimes the scariest photos can be the ones that you didn’t even know existed. While you may have done the smart thing and not post the photos from that crazy Halloween party you went to, it’s safe to assume that someone else did, and they may have tagged you in some of the pictures. Heck, you may not even be in a picture for it to be tagged. With this in mind, make a sweep of your social media platforms to make sure you aren’t attached to anything scary. If you aren’t able to manually untag yourself from a photo, contact the poster to have them do it for you.

Be Ghoulishly Aware Of Who Is Around You in a Group Picture

Maybe the most terrifying of all party photos when it comes to your future job prospects are those that involve a large group. As the saying goes “You will be judged by the company you keep,” and even if you don’t know the people who you are posing with in a photo, you’ll be lumped in with whatever they may be doing in the photo. Even if you are over 21, stay away from photos with people with alcohol, and always be aware of what is going on in the background of a picture. You may be thinking that you are taking an innocent photo with a couple of friends, but the background may make it seem otherwise.

How Giving Back Will Help Move You Forward

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There are many ways to increase your chances for a successful job search, but there are few as rewarding as volunteering. Whether it’s a few days a week or just a few hours on a free Saturday, here are three ways giving back will help you move forward in your job search.

Make Great Connections

Studies have shown that you are up to 7% more likely to get a job when you know someone at the company you are applying to. These numbers skyrocket when you are referred by someone in Management. Volunteering is a great way to both meet people who are already employed, and to interact with local companies that will volunteer as groups. By working hand-in-hand with these individuals in a team environment, you won’t just be able to gain valuable connections for your job search, but they will also get to see you in action. This will make an impression on them that they will remember when it comes time to reach out to them.

Learn New Skills

Hiring managers like to read resumes where a candidate’s skills are shown through tangible experience. Volunteering is a great place to learn new skills that can be added to your resume. Whether you are able to learn a new computer program, or you take the lead on a warehouse project, this type of experience will add to your skill repertoire.

Fill Job Gaps and Beef Up Your Resume

If the work and experience you acquire while volunteering is relevant to the job you are applying for, you should include it on your resume. These additions to your job history can be especially beneficial to those who are currently out of work, as it can fill in what would otherwise be a job gap. Hiring managers want to see that you were being proactive while you were out of work, and a regular volunteering gig shows them that you were active while looking for a new job. Even if you are currently employed, volunteering on the weekend or evenings will make you seem like a more rounded candidate when the time does come to move on with your career.