Getting Your Resume Out There

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( — May 14, 2016) — Putting yourself out there in the job market can be a daunting task. Whether you are a recent graduate or an old pro ready for a career change, the basic strides remain the same to craft a good resume and get noticed by recruiters. Networking, job boards and checking in with headhunters or temp agencies are all good places to start when seeking steady employment. By following these simple steps, you can put yourself at the head of the rat race and that much closer to landing the job of your dreams. 

Decide on a Direction 

This may sound obvious, but before you get too mired down in all the possibilities that exist for you, choose a steady path. If you’re fresh out of college, you may be gung ho to seek out a job or internship that corresponds with your major perfectly. Most colleges and universities provide career services that can help match their students with jobs their time at school has prepared them for. Students should take advantage of the various job fairs and counseling available to them because these organizations have built-in networks that someone just starting out probably hasn’t been able to cultivate quite yet. 
However, when you get older you may find that your career path has taken some unexpected turns, and your current skillset could be better utilized in a different capacity. Perhaps your job as a departmental administrator began taking on more and more editorial projects, and now you could make more money as a freelance writer than a secretary. Or maybe you were recently laid off of a position you held for many years, and now is as good as a time as any to do a complete one-eighty and follow a long-held dream. No matter your route, be sure to pick one thing to pursue at a time, so your goals don’t get scattered beyond recognition.

Make Your Resume Noticeable

Standing out well before the interview is key. Many recruiters give resumes about a ten second treatment when they initiate their triage. This means that if your application is to make it past the first trash heap, you need to stand out above your competitors. Your first challenge is to keep your resume sleek and without distractions while still catching the hiring manager’s eye. Avoiding gimmicks like headshots and colorful graphics can go far in helping you pass phase one. The next step is the draw your potential boss in with a thoughtful and engaging cover letter. The best way to approach the resume is to keep it simple. Constructing flashy resumes is a common mistake people make in hopes that they will be noticed instantly and remembered. However, sticking to a streamlined and logical template will speak highly of your organizational skills. The point of a resume is for hiring managers to be able to find what they’re looking for instantly. Leave the elaboration and details of your skills to the cover letter, where you can strategically emphasize your strength and cite examples of your best work.

Expanding Your Network

There are endless resources out there to help you find your new dream job. Don’t be shy when it comes to networking. Everybody knows a guy who knows a guy. Tapping into your existing network to strengthen bonds with old contacts could be ground zero in your hunt for employment. Try connecting with alumni from your alma mater, and see if reaching out to alumni in your region could help you find a few openings. Your school’s alumni director or even social media outlets can help you find locals from a similar background.
Recruiting agencies and headhunters also exist to work for you. Recruiters such as Jason Hanold work with well established international companies to help them find the right fit for their executive positions. Recruiters strive to match candidates to positions that not only fit their skillsets perfectly, but are excellent intellectual and cultural fits. Remember, the folks you work with probably see you as much as your own family does, so personalities need to be able to harmonize almost as much as talent.

Emphasize the Right Accomplishments

Once you land an interview, it’s all on you to take it to the next level. Your resume provided a succinct outline of your work, and your cover letter was able to convince a hiring manager that you’re worth talking to. The interview is where you wow them with the things that don’t come across as clearly on paper. They can see your titles and where you went to school, but even if you don’t have years and years of experience, you can get your foot in the door by emphasizing your specific and relevant accomplishments that make you a perfect fit for their position. Tangible examples will slice through the drudgery of formulaic interview answers and will show you are on top of your game.
Getting ahead of the game may seem like a long, uphill battle at first, but the attention you pay to the process from beginning to end will be the different between landing that first interview or not even getting a second glance. The jobs are out there for you to find. Advancing to the next level just requires dedication and a little bit of common sense.