If you are like most people who have been job searching during this recession, you have sent out hundreds of resumes. It takes a lot of time to do this, but it may only take one interview to give you the opportunity you need. Organization is key to cutting down on the time it takes to apply to jobs.
Create two folders on your desktop. One is for resumes. Name it “Resumes2012.” The other folder is for job descriptions. Name it “JobDescr2012.”
Use a uniform way to name each resume you create. You should be tailoring your resume to match the skills/qualifications in each of the jobs your applying for. Even if you only tweak a few words on an existing resume, you should still rename it.
Create names each resume keeping in mind your word processing program’s file naming protocol. Use something like SmithIBM0512, where Smith is your last name, the company to which you are applying is “IBM”, and follow that with the date. Make sure you change the company name on each resume you send in, even if you decide not to edit the resume. A hiring manager at IBM, for example, will not appreciate receiving a resume labeled Xerox and may see this as a lack of attention to detail. You may think it is not a big deal, but it is a major mistake, just like if you have a job and send one client’s paperwork with their name on it to a different client by accident.
Save a copy of each job description to which you apply. Do not rely on the description to still be online when you get an interview call 3 months after you’ve applied. Name the job description file something like IBMauditor0512, with IBM as the company, auditor as the position and 0512 the date on which you applied.
If you are diligent about organizing your job application files, you should even be able to pull up a job description when a recruiter calls you out of the blue, in response to your resume submission. Having the job posting information at your fingertips will show recruiters and hiring managers that you are organized and ready to take on a new job.
Both cover letters and resumes are essential when applying to a job. However, each format has its own specific style so it is important not to confuse the two in the preparation process.
The cover letter introduces the candidate as well as explains to the prospective employer the reasons and qualifications for applying to the specific job.
A resume is the listing of experiences, accomplishments, and education that one has accumulated over the years.
These are the five ways that cover letters and resumes differ:
- While the resume is brief in nature, the cover letter should expand on any details that the resume may have left off, including explanations for inconsistencies.
- The cover letter should be an actual letter with complete sentences and divided paragraphs while the resume can have bullet points and phrases.
- The cover letter attempts to get further consideration from whomever reads it while the resume is the basis for which they see the candidate’s background and qualifications.
- A resume outlines past accomplishments and experiences while a cover letter expresses future goals.
- The cover letter can express more enthusiasm in the language while resumes should follow a rigid and professional tone.
As you can see, the two go hand in hand. So, be sure to have your cover letter prepared and detailed for each job posting that you apply for.
**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches. Each month, all members discuss a certain topic. This month, in honor of April Fool’s Day, we are talking about how we fool ourselves about the job search and/or being tricked by common job search blunders. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective
Unless you are independently wealthy, you’ll be on the job hunt at some point in your life. If you’re lucky, you won’t find yourself looking for a job very often. That also means that when you are seeking a job, you might be out of practice. It’s also possible that you may be inadvertently doing things to sabotage yourself while job hunting. Take a look at some of the common lies people tell themselves about their job search, and how you can avoid them.
I can wait a few weeks to look for a job. I have money saved up.
This is a very dangerous job hunting mistake, mostly because it’s a slippery slope. It starts off as a few days of rest, and then a week. One week of sitting at home turns into two, and before you know it, you find that you’ve lost the motivation to look for a good job. Maybe you’ve gotten accustomed to sleeping in, or perhaps you’ve moved in with a relative who is allowing you to mooch without demanding payment. Whatever the reason, this can quickly lead to depression, and worse, the longer the amount of time that lapses from one job to another, the more potential employers want to know why you weren’t working. Do yourself a favor, and start looking immediately.
My Resume is just fine – I don’t need to re-do it.
If you’ve sent in your resume to multiple places, and you haven’t gotten a response, it’s probably time to tweak it. Add new experiences, play with the format, or have a professional resume written for you. Ideally, you really should be tweaking your resume every single time you send it out. It should always reflect the job you’re applying for, and it should also use the keywords that were in the job posting.
I don’t need to look for a job every day.
Yes you do. You should be treating your job hunt as a 9-5 job. There are several reasons for this. First, by waking up early every day, networking, visiting businesses, dropping off and printing resumes, and scanning the job listings, you’re setting up a good schedule and work ethic so that you never get out of the habit of working hard. It’s also important, because if a month later you still haven’t found something, you know it won’t be because you aren’t trying. That can help stave off joblessness depression.
I can do all my job hunting online.
While the internet is a huge resource for finding a job, it’s certainly not the only one. If fact, the best way to find a job is to get a face to face meeting with someone. Dress in your best every day, and while you’re not scanning online job listings, you should be on the road. Visit every company you think you’d like to work in, and have a chat with whoever is at the front desk. Explain that you’re a skilled person at doing whatever it is you do, and ask politely to see the HR manager, or hiring director. If you’re not allowed to meet with them, leave your resume, along with a handwritten note saying that you dropped by, and you’d love to have a chat with them about filling any needs the company has.
The April, 2010, Career Collective Links
10 Ways to Tell if Your Job Search is a Joke, @careerealism
April Fool’s Day – Who’s Fooling Who?, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
If It’s Not You and It’s Not True, You’re Fooling Yourself, @GayleHoward
Don’t Kid Yourself! (The Person You See in the Mirror is a Good Hire), @chandlee
Avoiding the Most Common Blunder, @jobhuntorg
Are you fooling yourself? Bored at work? Is it your own fault?, @keppie_careers
Hey, Job Seeker — Don’t Be a Fool!, @resumeservice
Job Search Is No Joking Matter, @careersherpa
Is Your #Career in Recovery or Retreat? (All Joking Aside), @KCCareerCoach
9 Ways You Might Be Fooling Yourself About Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman
Don’t get tricked by these 3 job search blunders, @LaurieBerenson
Trying to hard to be nobody’s fool?, @WorkWithIllness
It’s not all about you, @DawnBugni
Mirror ‘their’ needs, not ‘your’ wants in #jobsearch, @ValueIntoWords
Stop Fooling Yourself about your Job Hunt: Things you may be doing to sabotage yourself – @erinkennedycprw
Same as it ever was – @walterakana
Don’t be fooled. Avoid these – @kat_hansen
Job Seekers: You Are Fooling Yourself If...@barbarasafani
It all started with the critiques. I had been getting clients that were coming to me saying they had gone to The Ladders who had written a scathing review of their current resumes, but would happily remedy that for a mere $1,000 (some were more, some were less). So, for the cost of an average mortgage payment they would turn it around AND THEN find you a job for $100,000 and up. The thing was, I was having clients say, ” I don’t like this resume at all–can you fix it?”. I had one fellow who paid upwards of $900.00 for his resume that looked like something my 5-year old would write.
But, it didn’t start out that way. Back when it first came onto the internet scene, The Ladders really was busting out some nice resumes. They had qualified, certified resume writers. People were happy and everyone was talking about it. I was one of the first to jump on The Ladders bandwagon, telling my clients what a great site it was. Then we see commercials about it. Wow. It’s big time, now.
Then, things started to change. It was first pointed out to me through my professional association (PARW/CC) about the negative critiquing and not-so-good resumes coming out of that place. I was very optimistic though… not me, I still love it. Still believing in the dream. After all, the majority of my clients are senior-level execs, so I was thrilled to be able to have something promising to tell them. “Just go to The Ladders… they have $100,000+ jobs there”.
Soon I started hearing about false advertising, jobs that were way under $100K, barely starting at $30,000, sometimes The Ladders did not even know the pay range of the jobs they offer.
I don’t mean to bash another company in the careers industry, but I am leary about The Ladders now– and am hoping the founder, Mark Cenedella, will dump some of the writers he scrounged up, get some honest-to-goodness $100,000 jobs back in there, and restore it to it’s former glory.
What have your experiences with The Ladders been? Talk to me…