It doesn’t take an economist to realize that jobs are scarce, salaries are low, and the volume of applicants applying for a given job is so high that there is very little time for making a good impression on a potential employer. But all hope is not lost. Because while current job statistics may be intimidating, there are methods that can be used to successfully combat the cold, hard facts and give you the motivation to defy them.
Multiple recent eye-tracking studies have shown that recruiters spend an average of just six seconds looking at a resume, a very disproportionate number considering the hours it takes to construct a well-crafted document. But, with such a short window of time with which to make a great impression, it is vital to make those seconds count. The information retained in that quick investigation typically includes your name, current and former work history, and education; so, making this information easily accessible is a great idea. And even though recruiters spend mere seconds scanning individual resumes, that doesn’t mean the document isn’t read by someone else.
If you receive an interview, that interviewer will look more closely at the document and what they glean from it can have a deciding impact on your chances of being hired. And if you pass the first interview, even more people are going to scrutinize it and everyone is going to want a document that is easy to read, concise, and accessible. Before sending in your resume for consideration, follow the advice of hiring experts by keeping your resume short (700 words or less), avoiding the use of the six “bad words” of resume making—awesome, salary, nursery, makeup, burger, and drug—while trying to implement the five “good terms” including dean’s list, achievement, led, honors, and fluent. The better written and organized your resume, the more impactful it will be during its brief encounters with influential decision makers.
Not only do first impressions count regarding your resume but also when you meet a representative from an employer for the first time. The first few moments a recruiter or hiring manager spends with you will bias his or her lens through which they view you as a candidate. And it isn’t typically what you say at first contact but what you physically do. This means that if you enter with a confident posture, make eye contact, smile, have a strong handshake, and speak clearly you will make an immediate positive impression that will guide how your actions are interpreted throughout the rest of the interview. Confidence comes from being prepared, so make sure you are informed about the company, know the job description well, and have a great idea of how you can benefit the company’s bottom line.
One of the many unfortunate side effects of an uneven economy is that employment rates vary depending on where you live, especially job requiring technical and creative skills. The unhappy reality is that it may be necessary to consider relocating in order to get a better job. However, even if you are unwilling or unable to make such a move, Internet tools such as Google’s Public Data source are easily accessible to show you the best locations to find jobs around the country and in your area. Telecommuting is also a potential option if you are unable to relocate but can convince a distant employer to allow you to work from home with only occasional visits to the office. The downside is that most telecommuting jobs are technical and frequently require skills in one or more programming languages. But it is always possible for you to acquire new skills in order to increase your value to companies willing to accommodate your circumstances.