When It Comes to Job Search, One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Hiring managers and recruiters are receiving more applications per job opening than ever before. Standing out among them is difficult, but certainly doable. The key is customization.

With so many people looking for jobs, it’s hard to imagine that your resume or application will ever stand out among the thousands in cyberspace. Job seekers in today’s market are quickly learning that customization is now the cornerstone to a successful job search. There are several key customization strategies to help get your resume to the top of the cyber-heap.

Customize How You Find Jobs

The technological innovations of this decade alone have greatly changed the way we search for jobs. A cyber job market is often cumbersome and frustrating to navigate if you don’t get highly-specialized in your job search efforts. If you’re tired of spending hours and hours weeding through job boards, craigslist, and countless Google searches, consider utilizing these tools to narrow your search:

  • Craigslist has quickly grown in popularity for job searching. There are a few tools that can help you better identify open positions that meet your specific needs and wants. Search Tempest is one Craigslist search tool that has the function to search multiple cities for the same keywords and the ability to exclude/include keywords, which turns out is much faster and effective than clicking on individual cities for job listings or weeding through office-based jobs when you need to work from home.

  • Use a reader. A reader is essentially a place where you can track all the posts from your favorite sites and blogs on one page. This saves buckets of time because you can scan new articles without having to go to every site individually. How is this useful for job seekers? It allows you to easily remain up-to-speed on anything new to job sites of interest to you.

  • Yahoo! Pipes is a relatively new search tool but can be incredibly powerful once you’ve got it down. Although it is a Yahoo! tool, it can be used for job listings anywhere on the web. Pipes is a tool that basically aggregates content from around the web. You can create a customized “pipe” that gathers information from multiple job boards and keywords that you choose. If it becomes too difficult for you to create your own, you can also search other “pipes” that people have made public and that may be useful for your own job search.

Customize How Jobs Find You
Gone are the days when it was the job of the hiring manager to search you out. Today, the responsibility has shifted and it is your job to make yourself stand out, and appeal, to the hiring manager. The best way to accomplish this is to customize your job search to every unique job opening you pursue.

Customize your cover letter and resume for each, individual job.
Don’t just copy and paste text from a generic resume into applications, or pepper the same vague resume across the internet. Many organizations now scan resumes electronically into a database and then run key word searches for the skills, expertise and background they are seeking. The best way to ensure your resume matches up is to seek out two or three job postings or ads that best-fit your ideal position. Pick out the relevant key words used and incorporate them into your resume.

Create a great cover letter and resume template and tweak them for every application.
You don’t have to write a completely new cover letter or resume every time you send one. It’s okay to come up with an outstanding core that highlights your experience and skills and then customize it each time you send it. When it’s time to send, you can use the core portion and update or tweak the rest depending on where it is going.

Consider your cover letter audience.

Who are you writing your cover letter for? Is it going to a networking contact, job posting, employers in your target market, or a staffing agency? Before you write or rework your letter, think about where it is going and why. If you are writing for a networking contact, a more casual tone may be appropriate and the letter should give a brief but key overview of your experience and desired position. If it is for a job posting, be formal and customize based on the ad and the company. If it is for target employers, address it to the hiring manager instead of just “human resources” whenever possible. For recruiters, keep it short and make the cover letter more like a brief resume that summarizes your experience.

Do your research.
Time is money right? Don’t waste your precious time scattering your resume everywhere you think vaguely makes sense. Do your research to seek out only those openings that truly fit what you have to offer, and what you desire in your next position. If you want to work somewhere, really think about why and address those reasons specifically. Show that you really know what you are talking about and that you don’t just want any job – you want this one.

Formatting matters.
What looks good on your monitor, may not on a hiring manager’s or on a job board. There are formatting do’s and don’ts for every vehicle, including print, online job sites, job boards, and email. Do your research and make sure your resume is formatting appropriately for its destination.

Customization is one of the best ways to stand out in your job search. Following these guidelines, you’ll find yourself cutting through the cyber-clutter and landing a job tailor-made for you.

For more information about XSell Resources call 215-706-4500 or Contact Us.

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