For most people, online job boards play a crucial role in the job search process. But of the millions perusing open positions with this useful tool, only a select few are using it correctly. So before we venture into the land of job boards, let me just ask: are you simply slapping your resume to your otherwise incomplete profile and expecting recruiters to fill in the gaps for you? This practice has become so notorious around my office that my recruiters came up with a name for it: “The Lazy Man’s Search.”
Let me explain. In our experience, people use online job boards the same way they use their resumes – we have a name for those too: obituaries. They list a multitude of occupational directions – customer service, sales, dog catcher, etc. – and scattered skill sets, leaving it to the sorry viewer to decide how to make sense of it all. Put simply, there’s no customization or thought involved whatsoever.
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I’ll let you in on a little secret: recruiters and hiring managers aren’t opting to view the whole shebang unless they like what they see in your overview. Recruiters don’t have time to sift through convoluted career histories, and if they wanted to read an obituary, they’d consult Sunday’s paper. Sourcing resumes is a time consuming process for us and lifeless introductions are our biggest turnoffs. “I can do anything” some of them read. How does that help me fill this position? Market your professional self in the right way – it’s the only way you’ll get my attention. Here’s a few starter tips.
TACKLE ONLINE JOB BOARDS
Fill in the blanks. Most people don’t take the time to fill out their candidate profiles, resulting in a series of blanks and angry recruiters playing the guessing game. The Lazy Man’s Search, as mentioned above, leads your viewer to believe that you don’t want to put in the appropriate time or care into your future. That approach just might lead to another notch on your not-so-streamlined career belt, but it certainly won’t result in a career. We know we can probably find the information in your resume, but we want to hear it straight from you, in your own words, and we want to know that your willing to do your due diligence.
Tailor your information to the job. By attaching a generic three-page resume that includes your high school job at Subway, employers believe that you must be unsure of where your career path is headed. Many candidates are under the impression that by throwing everything into their resume but the kitchen sink, they’ll have a better chance at winning a position – any position. The truth is, the more haphazard information you include, the more you limit your options.
Read the job descriptions. Really read them. Before “filling in the blanks,” get a better understanding of how the role is being described. Introduce yourself in a way that matches that description and sets you apart from the competition. Instead of stating “marketing assistant,” give your objective more life, like, “high-energy, resourceful marketing assistant with three years of experience at a fast-paced publishing firm seeks leadership position.” That statement sets a mental picture in the recruiter’s mind and ignites interest. It proves to him or her that you actually have a real career plan. Many job seekers either believe that such an opening statement is “a given” to an employer or are simply uncomfortable being so direct. Believe me, not only is it helpful to our sourcing needs, it’s also incredibly refreshing.
Find your career direction. For those of you who don’t have a clue what their next career move should be, figure it out, even if it means getting actual experience. Start by searching for jobs that offer more opportunities than others, meaning, they cover more ground and more learning. These roles do exist and they’ll help you understand where your strengths, weaknesses and passions lay in the business world.
Count the keywords in an ad. Be sure that you represent the appropriate keywords, but only highlight areas of your field you enjoy. Start by making a list of 30 most commonly used words in job descriptions related to your industry and experience level. Then, incorporate them into your profile organically.
Keep track of your submissions. Be aware that recruiters can use your resume and represent you without your knowledge. It’s not ethical, but it happens. Record what jobs you’ve submitted to and who you’ve spoken to regarding any open positions you applied for. If recruiters from different firms represent you to the same employer, you get the bad rap, not them.
If you’re ready to rethink your approach to posting your materials on job boards like Monster and Career Builder, make sure your most important candidate tools are at their best. Our free Job Search Toolkit can help.
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