REALITY CHECK: There was a time not too long ago when a person interested in working for a company could visit its offices (with no appointment) and ask to speak with someone in human resources to get a feel for what the company’s needs may be. In the 21st century, this approach will, more often than not, get you no further than the guard’s desk. One of the “tools” that actually inhibits gaining access to employment is the Internet. While it increases efficiencies and reduces costs for businesses, it can be a significant barrier for those looking for work because it removes the invaluable asset of human interaction. As a consequence, job seekers are forced to hit “send” buttons to relay their information to employers, which results in a person becoming a piece of “virtual” paper among the millions of other pieces of “virtual” paper. The applicant screeners who receive all of this information are often overwhelmed because there are so many people looking for work while just a few positions may be available.
As an example, let’s say that the screener has a pool of 750 applicants. To be considered, each applicant must have a rating score of 400 points, based on criteria measured via applicant screening questions such as level of education and years of relevant experience. Of the original 750 applicants, 250 meet the initial criteria and are assigned a rating of 400 points. This smaller group is moved to the next round, with a higher level of scrutiny. This reduces the pool from 250 to 75 who are now eligible for what I like to call the bonus round. This final round results in a candidate short-list of 30. And, now, face to face interviews begin. So, of the original 750 applicants, 4% is given serious consideration for employment. This very real scenario is being played out in companies across America…
As a young person or not so young person with your new sack of knowledge, do as much “homework” as possible on the company or companies of interest, focusing on company niche areas and needs. Determine if your skill sets can help to meet these needs before expending time and resources applying for a job opportunity and be honest with yourself about what you bring to the table. Rest assured that companies will exert appropriate due diligence to ensure that applicants are who they say they are and can do what they say they can do. Remember, your time is valuable and your focus should be to think smarter, not work harder as your job search evolves. These are a few tips for developing an effective resume:
Tip #1: Use a summary statement at the top of the resume.
Tip #2: List your education.
Tip #3: List your job experiences.
Tip #4: Use concise language (i.e., be brief).
Tip #5: Limit your resume to one page.
Tip #6: Be sure that your resume is free from grammatical errors.
We are firmly steeped in an information age which is driven by technology. We no longer live in a society in which working the same job for twenty or thirty years is the norm. The 21st century job market requires that workers have the ability to adapt, often quickly, to changes that are globally driven. This means using all of the tools in your toolbox, including your ntellect, inherent talents, training, education, certifications, passions and civic-mindedness. Yes, the paradigm has shifted but you also have the capacity to shift so that you can succeed. My hope is you will do just that.
Continue to be well.
Dr. Robert Brown