Don’t follow the directions when you apply online! What are you crazy? That’s exactly what they want you to do and exactly the wrong way to do it. Whenever I make that statement, Career Counselors across the nation cringe. But think about it. If you do the same thing everyone else does, how can you possibly get noticed in this challenging job market with the sea of college students applying for the same jobs you are? The truth is, you can’t!
Now I am not advocating that you completely ignore the directions. But I am advocating that you delay following them until the right time. When is that time you ask? Well let me tell you.
Most big and small companies alike are using some kind of “key word” or “key phrase” software to sift through the tens, hundreds, and even thousands of candidates that apply to each of their jobs. Whatever their process is, you can bet the vast majority of candidates are counted out simply for the fact that they didn’t have the right key word or phrase in their resume.
But what if I could teach you a way to know what the key words and phrases a company is looking for, for each job, before you apply to it? Can we agree that not only would that be helpful, but it would give you a significant competitive advantage?
First never take the resume you have now and just upload it to apply for a particular job. Before you do anything, look at the job you are interested in applying to and write down or highlight all the key words and phrases that they are using to describe the skills and knowledge they want you to have. Then, before you apply, go back to your resume and incorporate all those same key words and phrases into your resume, EXACTLY as they have them in their job description. Once you have that complete, now you are ready to follow their directions and apply. I like to call this process “Reverse Engineering” your resume, and it WORKS!
Also, some of the more sophisticated screening software actually functions a lot like a Google search. It will scan your resume for the key words and phrases from the job description and then it will assign a “compatibility percentage” to it. The higher your compatibility percentage is, the higher your ranking is. The higher your ranking the better your chances are to get contacted for an interview or go to the next step in their process. That being said, once you incorporate the key words and phrases into your resume, you might also want to create a new section on your resume, at the very end, called “Interest Areas” and list the same key words and phrases again! That will help you raise your compatibility percentage.
Now don’t be an idiot and think you can just cut and paste all the key words and phrases into your resume and that will work just as well. It won’t! Getting through that first screen of the key words and phrases often times is followed by someone actually reading your resume. If they see that all you have done is cut and paste in the key words and phrases, they will count you out. But if they see those keywords and phrases incorporated throughout your resume first, even if they see you have also added them to the end of your resume, they will most likely count you in.
Lead College Recruiter for Fortune 50 Company
Author of the book: “College Students: DO THIS! GET HIRED!”
Do you have comments or would like Mr. Lyden write about a specific topic? Feel free to email him at [email protected] Mr. Lyden’s book is available at the ERAU Bookstore, on Amazon.com, or from his website www.DoThisGetHired.com.