Rick Saia's post yesterday ("Dude, Where's My Job? ...") listed five typical reasons a recent grad might be having trouble finding that first job. Coincidentally, as Rick was crafting that post, a reader named Jen G. left a comment on an older blog post, asking a closely related question.
Jen is a new graduate who has posted her resume on various online job boards.
"Unfortunately," she wrote, "I have rarely been called back from a site that I have posted my resume on. What do I need to do in order to get employers to notice my resume so that I get called back?"
Since this seems to be a hot topic, I've added a few more tips for Jen and anyone else who's wondering the same thing.
Actively Pursue the Jobs
- Posting your resume for public viewing on web sites like Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com is a good first step, but it's a passive method of job searching. You have no power over whether anyone ever reads your resume or chooses to call you after reading it.
- Only IF an employer uses those sites for recruiting, and only IF your qualifications match their keywords, and only IF they read your resume and decide it sounds like a good fit will you ever get a call. That's a lot of ifs.
- In addition, a resume posted online is, by nature, a one-size-fits-all resume, not targeted to the specific needs of a particular employer.
- So leave the resume online, because you never know. But meanwhile, make your job search active, and take the power back into YOUR hands.
Check ALL the Job Boards at Once
- Go to a site such as Indeed.com or Simplyhired.com, which are job board "aggregators," meaning they search ALL the job sites for you (including Monster, CareerBuilder, company web sites, local newspapers, etc.).
- Select the keywords that are likely to be in the title or job description of your desired position, and do a search. You can narrow the search by zip code and other criteria.
- You can even save your search criteria and set up a job search agent that will keep checking these sites for you daily or weekly, and email you any matches. But again, keep it active. If you're not getting good results, try different keywords or expand your search area.
Tailor Each Application to the Employer
- When you find a job that interests you, edit your resume and cover letter so they address exact keywords and phrases you found in the job description.
- For example, let's say they're looking for a "Senior Office Manager" and your resume shows you're a "Senior administrator responsible for office management." Those mean the same thing, but you'll have better luck if you edit your resume to match the employer's terminology.
- You need to do that each and every time you apply for a specific job. So you'll have one "basic" resume and cover letter, but you'll tweak them for every employer. You may end up with 20 or more versions, each slightly different. It's a pain, but it's necessary.
And finally, we hope you'll backtrack through The Pongo Blog and Learning Center for lots of other hints on how to conduct an active job search that will give you the best chance of landing your dream job.
Best of luck to Jen G. and all the other new graduates out there!
What else do you think might help people distinguish themselves to prospective employers? What works? What doesn't? If you've recently been hired, your insights will be especially helpful!