A lot has been talked about regarding unemployment and the job search. With that said, there are several ways to improve your chances of getting back to work. First though, always keep in mind the basics of applying and interviewing.
For instance, you need a good resume; not too lengthy, but still informative. Having different variations is also helpful. We’re taught to have one resume and include everything, or to keep it short and concise. Having been a recruiter handling several candidates a day, and now as the vice president of a job board working with these issues, I suggest having one basic template but being prepared to adjust according to the specifics of the job. In today’s environment, it’s rare to find anyone who’s had just one role throughout their life.
I work with engineers every day and I can’t begin to list the similarities and differences that relate to this one degree. So assuming you will be using a resume template, here are the top three ways to improve your chances of getting hired.
Have an Open Mind and Be Flexible
The highest percentage of placements are those who are able to relocate. Let’s face it, if there’s a job within 50 miles of your home and you haven’t already applied, you should probably stop reading this. If they are spending money on job boards, employers have probably already recruited heavily around their office and haven’t found a candidate. Which brings us to the second point.
Search the Niche Job Boards First
Niche job boards are a fast-growing industry. Unlike large mega-boards, niche boards are industry specific. They are far less competitive in that only those with appropriate skill sets can search the posted jobs. On mega-boards, anyone can post their resume with a blend of keywords and have it automatically distributed to thousands of positions/companies. The posting gets so diluted by auto-responses that the employer eventually starts deleting resumes.
When you post your resume on mega-boards, it’s open to every industry. You will get calls for everything; frequently from staffing companies looking to fill undesirable temp positions. In most cases a simple Google search is your best way to locate an appropriate niche board. To use my own company as an example, CNCJobs.Net breaks down one of the largest industries in the world — manufacturing — into a specific, focused part.
Common sense would say to type in a key word like “manufacturing” or “medical” when searching, but you need to do more homework than that. Using generic phrases will take you back to the mega-boards, because these companies spend millions of dollars positioning themselves to rank first on Google. But if you break it down to your specific part of that group, such as “CNC” in manufacturing or “nursing” in medical, job boards such as CNCJobs.Net or NursingJobs.com will pop up.
Make Finding a Job Your Job
Now that you have found your niche board, you need to be proactive in landing a position. Even though you’ve targeted your job hunt, you need to exhibit your enthusiasm.
This is where the resume template comes into play. Your skill set will most likely cross over to more than one position. Although you may consider certain of your skills stronger than others, there’s no way to determine what every hiring manager is seeking. It’s a good idea to adjust your resume to show as much as possible that applies directly to the job description.
If an employer is interested in pursuing you they will probably reach out within the first week of application. If not, it’s possible that your resume didn’t go through. A successful technique is to send an email to the HR department with a polite and professional message, such as “I want to introduce myself as John/Jane Smith. I submitted a resume last week and wanted to follow up to make sure you had received it, and to see if you had any further questions.” This sets you apart by exhibiting that you’re willing to go above and beyond, and it will usually get a response.
These three simple points can tremendously increase your chances of being hired. You can gain a leg up on your competition by being flexible, specifically targeting industries and putting in some extra effort — rather than just sending out resumes to as many jobs as you can. Any time you can reduce the competition and improve the quality of what you are doing, you’re going to come out ahead. Never be afraid to take that extra step.