Tag Archives: Job seeker

Applicant Uses Resume, it’s super effective! … or is it?

When I was on the lookout for a new job I put a lot of thought into my resume a lot. Is it good enough? Will it draw enough attention? Did I write too much or too little? I was especially worried since there’s been so much youth unemployment in these past few months, with the economy still in the dumpster and financial government measures that promote hiring people above the age of 50, further smothering the chances for young graduates.36027932

These questions have been haunting my mind for the past few days. Time to take a look at it from a recruiter’s point of view and take off my applicant goggles.

I decided to think back to the time when I was doing an internship/student job at one of the largest temporary work agencies in the country. Part of my job was to scan through resumes to find the best candidates to invite for an interview. Obviously, I looked at the usual content of a resume: Name, address, education, work experience, skills, … Contrary to a lot of recruiters I took my time to thoroughly read to every application I came across. Some of them were sloppy, poorly written and full of mistakes. Some even had blatant lies on them. The resumes that stood out most were those with excellent credentials of course, but even more so were the ones that had a stylish and easy to scan lay-out.

So what exactly does a resume need to land you that interview? Obviously, it should contain the basics; personal details, work experience, education, skills and even hobbies. Naturally, it should also be made with a text editor such as MS Word (written cv’s are so 1800’s guys …) and sent in a PDF-format so your text and format will be kept intact. Below are some other basic tips that will help guide you on the path to a proper resume:

  • Don’t use a standard template
  • Check your spelling
  • Don’t write huge blocks of text
  • Adapt to the job opening
  • Less is more
  • Think about your lay-out

I think you’ll agree that these are self-evident, but nothing is less true. I’ll focus on the last 2 bullet points some more, because those are the ones I’ve been struggling with the most. Ideally, you’ll want to find that delicate balance between text and visuals. It’s a thin line, but if you get it right you’ll have yourself a killer resume that will help you stand out from most other applicants.

You need to convey enough information without cluttering everything up. Try to use key words, don’t write full sentences. I believe people need to focus more on their lay-out than they currently do. We mostly choose bland and basic templates. They’re quite boring and it’s clear that these do not stand out in a large stack. Try to put some ‘you’ in it and be creative. If a company doesn’t like your resume, you won’t get an interview. And so what? You probably wouldn’t even want to work there then. Remember, there is other fish in the sea (I have to remind myself of this sometimes).

In the end, these are just a few small tips to help you on your way. You’ll still have to do the work, and remember that your application letter and resume are only the first step towards landing a job. Its sole purpose is to get you an interview, no more, no less.

 

As a final point, I don’t think that the inability to find a steady job is due solely to a less-than-optimal resume. Part of the problem is obviously the current economic climate and all that follows in its wake (such as wonky government policies to increase employment rates). Recruiters are also part of the issue here since they can’t or won’t take the time to read through resumes that seem cluttered. I understand though, time is money and sifting through endless applications can be tedious, but on the other hand it seems like common courtesy to me to properly look through an application (and reply to it!). In the end, if you don’t take the time to read it all you might discard great assets to your company and/or clients.

I reckon it’s just a mindset that needs to be changed. Furthermore, we live in an age where traditional applications and resumes aren’t and shouldn’t be the norm for the newest generation of entry-level workers. Be creative. Try out a few different lay-outs or use specific skills needed in your field of expertise. Pitch them to your friends, family or your friendly neighborhood recruiter. Learn how to deal with (constructive) criticism and adapt to it.

And finally, there’s a lot of really nice tools and apps available for free on the internet that will help you create your own resume. It takes some effort, but the result will be great.

To help you along, here’s some links to a few examples:
 Mashable.com – Resume design

Demilked.com – Creative resumes

Piktochart – an app to make infographics, suited for resumes!

Remember, I’m not trying to get everyone to make resumes like this. They are just examples to get your thought process going.

PS: Check out this handy little tool: http://www.beworkhappy.com/. It needs a bit of work, but it’s a great initiative (Also, it Belgian #shamelesspromoting)

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Recruitment Through Social Media – What You Should Know As An Applicant

Social media are on the rise, that much is for sure. But lately, employers (ranging from private companies and big multinationals to temporary work agencies) have picked up this trend and are using social media as a tool for recruitment and selection. And why not? If it helps them find the most suited person for a job opening it’s all good right? But what does that mean for you and your presence on social networks? Here’s what you should know.

First of all, social media encompasses a lot more than just Facebook and Twitter. Social media is everything from social networks such as Facebook to blogs, podcasts, video’s (YouTube for example). It’s a lot more than you’d expect, and just about everyone with an internet connection in the western world of connected to some kind of social media platform.

Recent studies have shown that 45% of employers screen their prospects and applicants through social media. It’s not hard at all to find someone on the internet once you have a name. Just head over to Pipl.com and type in your own name and see what comes up. I was surprised how much information I shared and still share on the internet. Now, 35% of employers who screen using social media reports that they refrained from hiring someone based on their findings. That’s a huge amount of people being turned down by something on their public profiles.

Going even further, people even got fired because of something they posted on Facebook or Twitter. Just look at this image or this video. Best advice here? Don’t add your boss or colleagues on Facebook/Twitter or make sure they can’t see what you write.

Now, before you go deleting all your accounts on whatever website you registered at, relax. Studies have shown that most employers only look at LinkedIn (95%), Facebook (58%) and Twitter (42%). So be careful what you post on there, keep private things private, adjust your privacy settings accordingly, sort colleagues in lists with limited access to your profile and whatnot. More on that later.

Employers don’t just use social media to ‘spy’ on applicants. Yes, I put that between brackets because once you post something on the internet it’s basically public knowledge and you can’t take it back. You can select all the privacy settings you want on social networking sites, but the fact is, if you post it, it has the potential to be seen by someone you don’t want seeing it. Employers also use social media to find new contacts, searching specific hard to find competences, headhunting and looking for passive candidates. Social media turns out to be a tremendous asset to businesses, and not just from an HR perspective. Think about all the marketing possibilities too.

Let’s circle back to recruitment for a minute. The types of people attracted through social media are mostly middle managers, senior managers and entry-level employees. The last category makes a lot of sense, because people using all kinds of social media are young people around 20 – 25 years old. Middle managers and senior managers often get headhunted through websites such as LinkedIn where they often have extensive profiles that details their education and experience (if you’re a professional of any kind you should be on LinkedIn).

There’s plenty of social media strategies for HR purposes and how it’s connected to other business units such as marketing and finance, but that’s not the side we want to look at (nor is it what you want to know, I’m sure). You want to know what all this means for you right? Well, quite a few things actually:

First of all, it means that you’re being looked at from various angles during the recruitment process. Whereas it used to be just interviews and resumes it’s now so much more. Employers have the chance to look into your private life and they might not like what they see there.

Secondly, this also means that you have to be very mindful about what you write on your wall and what you tweet. The best advice here would be to separate your private activities from your professional life. For example, don’t add colleagues or superiors on Facebook but add them on LinkedIn, a platform you use solely for professional purposes. Furthermore, adjust privacy settings to keep your profiles public. This is especially important for Facebook, as they tend to change stuff around without telling anyone so be sure to check your privacy settings regularly (Now, for example, as they recently overhauled it).

Even when you did all these things, there’s still stuff you DO NOT post about. EVER.

  • Personal conversations (Private messaging is there for a reason)
  • Social plans (Posting ‘Gonna get drunk tonight’ will not help you in any way)
  • Don’t link social networks to each other. As I said, keep private and professional lives separate.
  • (Sensitive) Company information
  • Address and/or phone numbers
  • Anything else you don’t want shared (Passwords, answers to secret questions, …)

Thirdly, be mindful of what e-mail address you use for which purpose. Again, the rule of thumb is use one for private purposes and one for professional goals (a recruiter does look at your e-mail so don’t use hawtgurl69@hotmail.com).

Next, be careful what apps you give access to. Often people find that apps have a lot more access to their information than they thought. Be especially wary of third-party applications as you have no idea what they do with your information or who they’re selling it to (Personal information is among the highest valued resources these days and companies will pay top dollar for it).

Furthermore, untag every single photo of yourself in potentially negative situations. You have a photo where you’re lying on the ground in your own vomit with a bottle of vodka nearby? Untag! You don’t want to find your photo on Fail Blog’s ‘After 12′ section  in a couple of years.

In regards to recruitment: don’t show a outspoken bias to any single company, it might prevent their immediate competition from even considering you as an employee.

And finally, don’t connect with everyone. This is true for professional purposes but also for private goals. Don’t add people you don’t know (it’s not the same for Twitter). Having 1245 Facebook friends doesn’t make you popular or interesting. It’s just more people that have access to more information than you could possibly want. Clean out your friend list regularly, that means either unfriending some people or putting them in lists with limited access.

There, that’s about all I can come up with right now. Please remember that you will make mistakes to these rules of thumb, I know I have … there’s no shame in it, just be mindful about what you do from now on. I hope I at least made you see the impact of social media on searching for a job nowadays. Don’t hesitate to share your comments in the comment section. Now, go untag those drunken photos!

Niels Van Hellemont

PS: I posted this a while ago on my other blog, but this is a far better medium for it.

Source

Tagged , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: