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Don’t Use These 4 Job Search Strategies

Posted by Rob Riggins

stopThe job search landscape has changed tremendously in recent years. The digital age has led to information overload for both job seekers and employers. We’ve talked to recruiters and hiring managers in the cleared community and developed a list of cleared job search practices that do not work.

Be sure that you aren’t following these techniques to improve your chances of getting hired.

1. Mailing a hard copy of your resume to an employer.

This might work with some hiring managers or recruiters in smaller companies. But in this digital age when so many people work remotely and share documents electronically, it’s very rarely a smart move. Email is a much better option for two reasons.

First, if you email your resume it can be shared quickly with others in the organization including relevant hiring managers. If I’m a recruiter working remotely – which many recruiters do these days – I may not see that hard copy resume for quite some time.

Second, most companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to electronically manage their job applicants. Importing that soft-copy resume into my ATS is faster and more accurate than scanning a paper resume. Depending on your formatting (see number 4 below) some of the content may be lost or garbled in that process.

2. Applying for jobs you’re not qualified for.

Recruiters are drowning in resumes from unqualified applicants. It’s just too easy to apply for jobs today. Guilty as charged, job boards like ClearedJobs.Net have helped create that problem by making it so simple to apply for a job in a matter of clicks. The question to ask yourself is whether you truly meet the requirements of the jobs you’re applying for.

As a rough rule of thumb, if you apply for a job  you should meet 80% of that job’s core requirements. Some job descriptions are very short and contain little information, so it’s not a hard and fast rule. Use your best judgement and really consider whether you are qualified for a job before you apply.

When does it make sense to apply for a job where you don’t meet a majority of the requirements? When you’re being referred by someone who is very familiar with your talents and abilities, such as a former colleague or supervisor. Then your application is viewed differently. If you’re referred by someone who knows your work and can vouch for your abilities you may have a shot at a position you’re not qualified for. But it needs to be a referral from someone who has that knowledge of your work abilities, and not just a casual acquaintance.

3. Applying for jobs that clearly state a security clearance requirement that you do not meet.

The job market has tightened over the past year and some contractors do have more flexibility to obtain or upgrade security clearances than in years past. But this is far from the norm.

Most contracts do not allow the contractor to obtain or upgrade clearances to fill open positions. Or the contract might allow it, but there isn’t enough room in the budget for that process.

Pay attention to the job announcement. If it states a security clearance requirement that you do not have, please do not apply.

4. Trying to make your resume stand out from the crowd.

Many of us were taught years ago the importance of nice quality cotton paper, fonts, colors and graphics to make our resume stand out from the crowd while still being tasteful. No longer. Please put that thinking to rest for good.

The importance of white space, bullets and a simple resume with a simple font on plain paper cannot be overstated. You may think that makes your resume boring. Or so plain that it will never be noticed. But a simple, clean, and easy-to-read resume actually increases your chances of being noticed.

Recruiters and hiring managers are not sifting through piles of paper resumes any more. They’re viewing them online, making notes and distributing them to others. Readability trumps all.

This is even more important for a hard-copy resume that you take to a job fair. Hard copy resumes are scanned. When your resume is scanned much of the underlining, colored fonts, graphics, tables or other elements you’ve used to make your resume stand out from the crowd do not translate. Those resumes become unreadable mush.

Delete graphics, tables, logos, headers and footers. Choose a simple resume with a simple font. Strive for readability. That creates a resume that can grab someone’s attention with its content.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 13, 2016 8:41 am

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