Online Job Hunting More Effective
The economy is improving, which means IT professionals who’ve been on the job hunt might be finding more success. The first step toward a new job is getting your resume together. Online resources for job hunting are seemingly endless, but there are a number of techniques and common-sense personal touches that can add more heft and oomph to a resume than an impressive list of certifications and help separate your resume from the competition.
“The things that people know they should do, they should do,” said Craig Newmaker, founder, chairman and customer service rep at craigslist.com. “For example, short, to-the-point resumes sent in plain text in the body of an e-mail, but include a cover letter tailored to the job at hand.”
After determining if you are indeed qualified to take a certain position, you should take the time to carefully tailor your cover letter, and even your resume, to emphasize the important requested criteria, de-emphasizing facts that don’t fit as well with the advertised job description. “A person can have multiple resumes, each one reflecting different traits that they have. The first thing listed in your responsibilities at a company should be the most important thing you did or what you want to highlight for the position you’re applying for,” said Irene Burden, sales manager at ICI, a Chicago placement firm for administrative through mid-management positions. “Replace an objective with a summary and describe personal traits about yourself in a business setting. If someone has a lot of hardware, software technical skills, he or she may want to list that separately.” If you have an online presence, like a blog or a Web site, include a link or reference to it to humanize your submission.
Avoid the “shot in the dark” or “hit and miss” mass resume submissions. If you aren’t a solid fit for the position advertised, don’t apply. It’s a better use of your time and resources to tailor your submissions to a few dozen jobs than to send the same info in the same format to 500 postings.
Take advantage of more than just online leads. Job Web sites such as Dice.com, Techies.com, Jobs.cio.com, ComputerJobs.com and Computerwork.com are great places to start, but you should get creative with your search. Look at company Web sites, job boards and industry associations like the American Medical Informatics Association (http://www.amia.org), the American Society for Information Science and Technology (http://www.asis.org) and the Association for Computing Machinery (http://campus.acm.org/crc) to provide leads and resources.
When submitting an online resume, be careful of anti-spam filters. To keep your submission from being accidentally deleted, pick your e-mail provider carefully; keep the “Subject” field simple, but not blank; try to avoid numbers in your e-mail address on the left side of the @ sign; send “plain text” e-mail; don’t attach your resume to your e-mail (unless specified by the employer); and, particularly, don’t attach it as a compressed file (.zip, .tar, etc.). It’s never a bad idea to follow up an e-mailed resume submission with a faxed or “snail mail” version.
Old-school tactics for job hunting remain relatively static: Lead with strengths, either education or experience based on what the position requires; less is more, keep resume to a page; be concise, use active verbs and judiciously employ details to emphasize but not overwhelm your resume; use the cover letter to explain or highlight job pertinent specifics; pay attention to verb tense; and use an attractive resume format. “Usually when you look at a resume your eye falls a third to halfway down the page, so if it’s possible, list what you want to highlight about yourself in that area,” said Burden.
For more information, visit http://www.job-hunt.org/computers.shtml.