Of course, some of the old standbys are still useful -- even essential. For example, you might think that printed resumes are passe, but even in today's digital world you have to present something to employers during interviews. Without an on-paper resume, employers might think you're unprepared. Other important job searching conventions include personalized cover letters (sent electronically or through the mail), face-to-face networking meetings and lists of professional references. These techniques don't seem to be leaving the job scene in the near future, but they do evolve over time; serious job hunters need to change right along with them.
Speaking of change, even the most unadventurous job seekers should check out the latest trends. Technology has a way of opening doors. It has the power to put you in touch with key decision makers in hard-to-tap industries. It can also uncover hidden job opportunities. So stay alert to the trends happening around you. Like these:
Resume parsing. Many employers utilize parsing technologies to extract data from electronic resumes. Leading edge systems are intelligently designed to capture meaningful keywords even if they don't precisely match the job posting or search query.
But you can't just cram a bunch of keywords into your resume and expect job-winning results. Make an impact by developing an online resume with a basic, unembellished font and absolutely no charts, graphs or symbols interrupting the text (use the "enter" key to create line breaks within your document). Also, be sure to include employment dates after each job title including the full year (i.e. 2011 rather than '11) because in some cases, this four-digit number triggers the parsing tool. After the date, insert a strategically written, keyword-rich summary of each position.
LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. You probably know that a well-conceived social media plan can expand your network exponentially and lead to unexpected job openings. As long as you are cautious with your personal information, the Internet offers infinite opportunities for job hunters.
Let your Facebook friends know that you're looking for a new position (keep your settings private so your current boss doesn't find out). Join industry chats on Twitter or use the site to mingle with other job-seekers. Also, LinkedIn recently launched a feature that allows employers to add "Apply with LinkedIn" buttons to job postings all over the Web. Don't forget to update your profile with well-written content and plenty of keywords before tapping this feature.
Micro resumes. Initially started by forward-thinking college graduates in China, these short-form resumes squeeze a bunch of facts (experience, education and interests) into a tiny amount of space -- 140 characters or less.
It's not clear where this trend is headed, and you never know what kind of new technologies will emerge in the coming years, so keep your eyes peeled. Don't discard proven strategies, but stay adaptable when it comes to innovation. Your next job could be a few clicks away.
Contact Eve Nicholas at Eve.GetaJob@gmail.com.
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