Close to 4 million jobs have come open so far in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics–a number that sounds impressive until you realize there are currently more than 12 million unemployed people in the U.S. With only enough positions available for one out of every three job seekers, it’s crucial to take the best advantage of every opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you have a master’s degree or won Employee of the Month ten times in a row at your old job; if you’re looking for employment it’s time to sharpen your competitive edge.
Hiring managers today typically have more résumés to peruse than they do jobs to offer. If yours doesn’t impress within a few seconds it will likely end up in the round file without ever being fully read. Tailoring your résumé to specifically fit each application is one of the best ways to make sure you make it past this first essential stage of cuts.
Experts at Career Builder suggest building a master résumé of sorts-–one that lists all your experience and accomplishments. Each time you apply for a job simply edit and rearrange the information from this general document to fit your needs. Creating a master résumé will save time because you won’t have to start from scratch for every application.
If a hiring manager decided to key your name into a search engine, what might she find? Having zero Internet presence can be just as detrimental as having a negative one. Linkedin is a social media platform where professionals can build their brand and network with others in their field.
To use Linkedin effectively, keep it strictly professional. Post information about your volunteerism, your promotions, a marketing book you read or your attendance at a career-related conference. Connect with supervisors from previous jobs, former coworkers and industry groups and participate in discussions or offer assistance when needed. A social network like Linkedin may be a garden of opportunity, but–like most gardens–it will blossom only if you keep it watered.
A Linkedin profile is like an online résumé where potential employers can learn more about you-–even when you’re not aware of it. But when it comes to viewing your Linkedin profile as a general or specific résumé there are two schools of thought. One view is that the healthiest profile is a diverse one. For example, if you have degrees in both information technology and journalism you should connect with people and groups from both fields. The other opinion is that if you’re looking for an IT job it’s most effective to build a network based on a career in IT and omit other degrees or types of experience.
Ultimately the decision on how to present your personal brand is yours to make. But being skilled in more than one area may show a potential employer that you’re a multi-faceted person with many talents and interests that could benefit their business.
If you’ve been sending out more résumés than ever but still aren’t getting interviews it may be that your pre-interview skills are lacking. In today’s job market it’s crucial to impress a potential employer before you’ve even had the chance to meet. Making sure your résumé and online presence are working for you is the best way to land that important interview and ultimately get the job offer you seek.