The way people find jobs has morphed before our very eyes. It wasn’t too long ago when a person could walk into a retail establishment or restaurant, fill out a job application and perhaps even get an interview on the same day. There was a time when you could mail a resume and cover letter directly to a company and could reasonably expect it to be reviewed and considered. Those days are gone.

Most companies no longer accept walk-in applicants or direct mail resumes. Growing time constraints, waning attention spans and advances in technology have made these practices nearly obsolete today. On the positive side, it allows job hunters to apply for more positions quickly, but on the negative, many times electronically submitted resumes disappear into the abyss of the Internet, never to be seen of or heard from again. It’s much more difficult to make your resume stand out this way, so it’s wise to understand the strategies to get your resume noticed.

Searching for Jobs in the Internet Era

With thousands of jobs online in a never-ending array industries and occupations, it should theoretically be easier than ever to find a job. No getting dressed up to start walking into local places; no creating fancy portfolios to mail to employers; and no guessing at who’s hiring and who isn’t. There are dozens of job boards available, including Monster.com, Indeed.com and LinkedIn, and they are updated daily. A quick search through the Internet will reveal that there is a surplus of available positions, yet people still find it difficult to get noticed. Why?

  • Increased Competition: The fact that it’s now easier than ever to apply for jobs means that many companies are getting a large amount of applicants to choose from, making it more difficult for individuals to standout. Of the millions of Americans who looked for jobs in 2015, approximately 79 percent used the Internet.[1]
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): More and more companies are using applicant tracking systems to sort, store, organize and search resumes. In 1995, fewer than 300 companies used an ATS; by 2014, 80 percent of all companies relied on ATS as the initial scanner of resumes.[2] This makes it so many resumes are never seen by a human because they lack certain keywords or are missing certain criteria; this includes highly qualified candidates.
  • Overreliance on Smartphones: The proliferation of smartphones has made them a popular method for applying for jobs. However, smartphone job applicants often encounter multiple problems, including accessing website content, entering large amounts of text and submitting required files.
Applying for jobs in the Internet era has removed emphasis on developing rapport with hiring managers and placed it on being computer savvy. People who are not skilled at strategically placing keywords in their resumes and navigating through online applications are at a decided disadvantage today.

Making Your Resume Stand Out

If you’ve found yourself sending resume after resume to jobs you feel qualified for only to hear nothing back, you aren’t alone. This is the experience that millions of people deal with every day. As many as 75 percent of all applicants are eliminated by an applicant tracking system, and not all of these people are unqualified.

It’s wise to customize your resume for the position you are applying for

1. Think About Applicant Tracking Systems: While you may end up sending your resume to just one hiring manager to review, it’s more likely that your resume will be read by an ATS first. You should keep this in mind and never send your resume as a PDF because they are easily misread; use appropriate industry keywords, and stay away from graphics and tables, which also cannot be read by an ATS.

2. Be Error-Free: This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many errors hiring managers find on resumes. Grammar errors and misspellings on your resume indicate that you are unprofessional. It’s a good idea to have someone you trust look over your resume before you send it.

3. Customize Your Resume to the Job: Many people have one resume that they send out to every single job opening. While this may save you time, it’s wise to customize your resume for the position you are applying for. Include all of your skills and experiences that are relevant to the job, place them front and center and eliminate any experience or skills that are not applicable.

4. Don’t Go Crazy with Fonts and Colors: You want your resume to shine from a design standpoint, but using whacky fonts and different colors will make you standout for the wrong reasons. Keep it simple, professional and easy to read.

5. Quantify Your Accomplishments: Very little is more convincing than numbers. Rather than saying you managed a staff, tell how many people you supervised. Rather than focusing on your sales experience, discuss the quotas you hit and the revenue you brought into the business. When possible, add numbers to your accomplishments.

6. More Than One Page is Okay: If you’ve been in an industry for 20 years, trimming your experience and accomplishments down to fit onto a single page is challenging. You don’t want to sell yourself short by omitting valuable experience. While you should stay away from submitting a term paper as your resume, using a second or third page, if it is warranted, is not the end of the world.

TPG Staffing has new job openings available every day. These positions range from temporary work to managerial positions, highly skilled professions and even executive level positions. We would love to hear about your professional experience to see if we have a position for you. If you’re interested in joining our professional database of qualified employees ready for work, please contact us at 732-246-7100 to schedule an interview.

[1] http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/11/19/searching-for-work-in-the-digital-era/

[2] https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-3462611241/the-impact-of-applicant-tracking-systems-on-job-search