Submitting Resumes in the 21st Century

It’s no revelation that getting a job in 2009 is a little different than the process used back in 1959.  Nevermind the fact that typewriters have long since been replaced by computers; the best methods and tricks for just submitting a resume have changed significantly.

A New World
Where in the past candidates may have employed their best efforts to ensure their resume stood out among the other sheets of paper on the right person’s desk, these days it’s much less about the paper, and much more about the right content.

In fact, it’s entirely likely that your resume won’t be printed or even viewed by human eyes until it passes a battery of initial tests and sorting first.

For example, it’s not uncommon for hiring managers to depend on automated software to preview large numbers of resumes, scanning each one for certain text that stands out.  Computer programs may be looking to set aside resumes that feature predetermined “useful” keywords (the name of the position in question, for instance), or they may be looking to rule out any resumes that include text that raises red flags (abrasive language, etc.).

Consequently, sharp job candidates will recognize what’s worth keeping on their resume—and what isn’t—before clicking “submit” online.  But how?

Knowing What to Look For
Despite what might be your first instinct, the best place to start isn’t your resume itself.  Instead, begin with a close look at the job descriptions for which you’re applying.  Smart job-seekers for years have been astute when it comes to the language used in job descriptions.  By including snippets from, and references to, the role’s description in resumes and interviews, candidates get a leg-up on their competition.

Similarly, it will give you an advantage in the sorting process if you can include certain keywords from the job description in your resume before submitting it.  Not only will it catch the eye of your prospective employer, but more importantly, it may help your resume advance through the earliest stages of automated sorting and sifting.

For that matter, it wouldn’t hurt to include some of those keywords and jargon in your cover letter, if you’ll be submitting one.

Don’t Overdo It
The trick here, though, is to balance this strategy with a healthy dose of restraint and honesty.  Don’t include keywords for the sake of including them.  Make sure anything you add to your resume accurately represents your experience and skills.

Moreover, don’t “pack” your resume or cover letter with these keywords and phrases.  Employers and hiring professionals will see through your eagerness to catch their eye.  Doing this could end up backfiring and defeating the purpose of your attentive research.

Celarity is a Minneapolis staffing agency that works with marketing, communications, and creative professionals looking to explore new work opportunities, and get connected with organizations that are hiring.

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