Tackling a job search with a “one-size-fits-all” resume is like trying ballet, scuba diving, and horseback riding with the same pair of shoes. What’s perfect for one task doesn’t work for the others.
Recruiters are robots
Generic resumes can prevent even the most qualified candidate from being considered for a job. This is in large part because of applicant tracking systems (ATS), a type of software that sorts, stores, and—most importantly—ranks resumes. An ATS ranks candidates based on how well their resume is optimized for a particular job. 90 percent of businesses today rely on an ATS to handle incoming resumes.
Many job seekers don’t realize how easy it is for their resumes to get weeded out by an ATS. Keywords play a big role in how candidates are ranked, so it’s important to carefully customize a resume to the job description.
An ATS isn’t sophisticated enough to know, for example, that Adobe Creative Suite 6 and Adobe Creative Cloud require essentially identical knowledge and experience, so if your resume lists one of those and the job description lists the other, your resume won’t get points for that keyword.
Online resume analysis tools, such as Jobscan, directly compare your resume to the job listing so you can understand how to best customize your resume for a given job.
Yes, you need to network
People say it all the time because it’s true: A large part of job searching is not what you know, it’s who you know. Both traditional means of networking and using social networks online are crucial when job hunting.
Using keywords on your professional profiles online can be just as important as using them on your resume. On LinkedIn, for example, you can use specific keywords to highlight your skills and experience in your headline, your summary, and the body of your profile. This dramatically increases your chances of being found by someone looking for a candidate with your abilities. You can also use LinkedIn to expand your network by participating in groups related to your career field, alma mater, geographic location, and more.
Employers love referrals—after all, a bad hire can be costly in many ways. If you are able to get referred for a role by a colleague or friend, your chances of landing the job skyrocket.
Recruiters are on the prowl for the “perfect fit” just as much as job seekers are. Networking allows the job search to be a two-way street.