Career Report
August, 2007 — Issue 90

President,  Berman Larson Kane
President, Berman Larson Kane

Easy to Apply, Yet Hard to be Noticed

With the rise of online company job sites, along with job boards like CareerBuilder and other niche sites, it’s easier than ever to apply for a job. At the same time, though, as greater numbers of résumés make their way into the job market via the Internet, it has become increasingly harder for a résumé to get noticed. In Q&A feature carried by The New York Times, careers columnist Phyllis Korkki offers the following insight and advice on the topic. Berman Larson Kane provides its own commentary related to job sites and résumé boards immediately following the feature.

How does an increased volume of résumés affect people who do the hiring?

It makes them very pressed for time. The harsh reality is that the No. 1 goal of most [corporate] recruiters “is to eliminate and exclude as many people as possible,” said Wendy S. Enelow, executive director of Career Masters Institute, an association of résumé writers and career coaches in Peterborough, N.H.

The average Fortune 500 company receives about 2,000 résumés a day, according to Mark Mehler, co-founder of CareerXroads, based in Kendall Park, N.J., who describes the new universe of job seeking as the Internet black hole. “Now the job seeker has maybe five seconds of the recruiter’s eye to make their case to be hired,” added Mehler, whose firm helps companies plan their recruiting strategies.

Of particular importance, many companies now use word-scanning technology to help them winnow out unqualified candidates. If a résumé does not include certain key words, it lands in the trash.

How can you make your résumé stand out from the crowd?

First, a résumé must make it through the automated technology. To do that, “People need to be certain that their résumés are key-word-rich,” Enelow said. Make sure that your résumé contains many of the same nouns and verbs that are listed in the job advertisement. And include key words that are common to your line of work.

Also pay attention to how your résumé looks on the screen. Make judicious use of bold-face type and white space for emphasis and readability. Avoid underlining and the use of italics, though, as these can run together or result in outlandish symbols in the text. And make sure that your résumé is free of typos and other errors. For many employers, this shows a lack of attention to detail and is an easy way to eliminate someone from consideration.

Do effective resumes tend to be structured different now?

The biggest change in résumés over the last decade has been a switch from an objective to a summary at the top, Enelow said. The summary emphasizes the skills that the applicant can offer the company, rather than stressing what the applicant is seeking. A pithy, well-considered, “key-word-rich” summary can be crucial.

Is a paper résumé passé these days?

Some career experts say that it is, but others say that for certain positions – say, high-level management jobs in old-line industries – it still has its place. At Fortune 500 companies, though, more than 90 percent of résumés are sent by e-mail or through the company Web site, Mehler said. If you use an envelope and a stamp, you may be showing your age, he added.

In order to land a job, is it ever enough just to send a résumé?

Almost never. “Your job is not done after you click ‘send,’” said Susan Britton Whitcomb, president of the Career Coach Academy, of Fresno, Calif., and author of “Résumé Magic.” That is a mistake many job seekers are making in the Internet age. “You must also find some sort of inside contact.” She said the Internet, in the form of business networking sites like LinkedIn, has created new ways to find the all-important personal pathway to the hiring manager.

The Internet, then, may have brought major changes to the job search process, but the old phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is as true as it was 50 years ago.

BLK Commentary On Topic

Job board listings are very comprehensive and offer many choices and positions to file an application. However, many jobs are confidential replacements that are often contracted to a search firm exclusively. For example, we at Berman Larson Kane are often engaged in several confidential searches simultaneously. Because of the sensitive nature of the hire, these positions are almost never advertised. So a recruiter might be the only access to these unadvertised positions.

Also, working with an experienced recruiter will often accelerate your job search. Recruiters are often in daily contact with clients and can expedite the process — often securing an interview with a hiring authority with a short e-mail or phone call. So if you are looking to broaden the job opportunities available to you and find key positions not visible to the marketplace, you should strongly consider using an experienced recruiter in conjuction with the job boards and résumé banks.

News from BLK

We are pleased to announce that Bob Larson, CPC, president of BLK, has been elected to a second term as Chairman of NAPS, the National Association of Personnel Services. NAPS has over 1200 staffing firm members and was originally formed in 1945 to represent the staffing profession in critical legislative arenas in Washington, DC, provide legislative guidance and aid in states where government affairs challenges exist, create a structure of ethical practices for industry self-regulation, increase public and business awareness of the value of personnel services, and to educate members and non-members towards better practices and the maintenance of high professional standards. Holding this key position offers Bob exposure to cutting-edge trends in our industry as well as unlimited networking opportunities among key professionals across the country.

If you are a candidate who has recently interviewed through BLK, you may be receiving a phone call from Sandy Lewis, a member of our research staff. Sandy has the responsibility for conducting QA sessions with our candidates to assess their experience working with us. She’s eager to hear your thoughts and any suggestions you may have for improving our service. If she hasn’t yet reached you and you have some feedback you’d like to share, please feel free to call Sandy at 201-909-0906, ext. 2820.