With people updating their social networking pages from their PDAs and downloading favorite tunes from their mobile phones, it should come as no surprise society has grown increasingly reliant on technology.
Individuals about to dive into the job-seeking market may have to rethink their search skills to maximize the potential of reaching employers and companies that likely embrace a digital mind set.
As of June 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means there are a great deal of people — from the recently laid off to the newly graduated — who are all vying for the same jobs. Thinking creatively and exploring numerous ways of advertising oneself can help land a job in today's market.
Newspaper: The newspaper has long been a respected and effective means to find work. It is still a viable way to find jobs that are local without having to search through hundreds and hundreds of positions, which is common with online job posting sites. However, why not turn the tables and use the newspaper — and its respective online site — to advertise yourself? For a relatively low investment of time and money, you can place a classified ad that you are seeking work and briefly explain your credentials. Create a separate, free e-mail address with your favorite mail provider specifically for receiving inquiries to this advertisement.
Personal Web site: Employers are short on time and many want to exert the least amount of energy possible when seeking job candidates. A personal Web page can put your information in the hands of employers in a concise and eye-catching way. The Web page can feature a brief description of yourself and also include a digital résumé. Simply provide a link to your site when applying for a job. Remember, a personal Web site should be all business. Now is not the time for a pretty picture or stories about your pets. Employers are looking for skills.
Be bold with buzzwords: Turn your experience into a list of buzzwords, keywords and important phrases when writing a résumé. It used to be that verbs were the key to landing a job. Using strong action words should relay your experience. However, today résumés are frequently reviewed by a digital eye, rather than a human eye. This digital eye is programmed to recognize certain words and phrases that will sort your résumé out from the others. Including the right keywords ensures your résumé has a better chance of being picked. Use as many words as you can that were included in the original job posting —they're likely to be programmed keywords. Most of these words are nouns that signal job titles, technical skills and levels of education or experience.
Use social networking sites to your advantage: Employers and recruiters have admitted they frequently go to social networking sites, such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn to "check up" on potential hires — or even employees they already have on staff. Many a person has compromised his or her chances for hire by questionable material posted on their pages. Instead of being a victim of the pitfalls of social networking, use it to your advantage. Seed your pages with information that may be interesting to a potential employer by doing a little research. For example, if you know a certain company to which you'd like to apply places significant emphasis on the environment, list the "green" functions you've attended and the groups to which you belong on your page. Know a hiring manager is an avid golfer? Talk about your passion for the game. It's these little things that may get you in the door for an interview.
Think differently: There are some people who want to take their job search to another level. With the market saturated by job seekers, sometimes it's the person who has the nerve to stand out from the crowd that will land the job. Today it's not uncommon to find door-to-door solicitation of jobs, people posting job requests on YouTube or similar sites, or even standing in a busy downtown area with a sign that says, "Looking for Work." Others turn to popular blogs to get the word out. The more people who know you're looking for work, the better chance you will find a position.
Technology is technology: There are certain tips you should keep in mind when applying for jobs:
- Scanners that look at résumés work well with these typefaces: Helvetica, Courier, Futura, Optima, Palatino, New Century Schoolbook, and Times. And they work best with type sizes in the 10- to 14-point range.
- Don't send your résumé as an attachment, or include any attachments, unless specified. There are always concerns about computer viruses and attachments can even get lost. Paste everything into the body of your e-mail.
- Use the subject line of an e-mail as a theater marquee and sell yourself.
- Use the proofreading functions of your word processing software, but also print out your materials and read them over. There's no excuse to be excluded from a job because of a silly typo.
- Follow-up with all job applications. It could move your résumé to the top of the pile.