Friday, March 25, 2011

Two-thirds of Veterans Applying for Jobs are Counted Out

An alarming quote by a company representative needing to hire hundreds per month, “We love veterans.  We want to hire as many as we can.  But two-thirds of veterans applying online are counted out because they do not know the process.”

Before you apply to any job opening, before you set up any account or profile on any website, before you do anything, wouldn’t it be nice to have the inside story on what the manager is looking for in a candidate—the required skills or knowledge they want you to have—so that you can highlight them on your resume?   Well, you already have that information in the job description, and here is how you use it and the best way to apply online.  Here are the 7 Critical Steps:

  1. Before doing anything else, go to the company website and print out all the jobs that interest you.
  2. Take a highlighter and highlight the key words and phrases the manager uses to describe what skills and knowledge he is looking for right from the job description.
  3. Take the key words and phrases you highlighted and incorporate them throughout your resume.
  4. At the bottom of your resume, create a heading on your resume called "INTEREST AREAS," and take all the key words and phrases you highlighted and list them under this heading.  
  5. Then, set up an account online, taking those same key words and phrases and incorporating them into your profile or the “interest areas” section they ask for. 
  6. Then apply for the jobs.
  7. As you apply to more openings, continually update the key words and phrases in your resume, in your profile or interest area section. 

This is known as Reverse Engineering your resume.  From the job description, see what the employer wants first.  See what are key words and phrases are that they want to see.  Then adjust your resume and apply.  Just remember, to do it right, it will take you about 40-45 minutes to take your “base resume" and transform it into a resume specifically for each job. 

Remember to approach it this way, as if each job that you apply to is the only job your resume is geared to.  It may sound like a lot of time and effort, but for you to stand out and get contacted, your resume can’t just be a good match, but must be a great match.  Reverse engineering is the way to ensure that that this is the case for every job you apply to.

Please keep in mind, your resume will get noticed, but this is only the first step. There are many more tips and tricks on the road to landing a job; but if you start with this, you are already ahead of the game.

Mark Lyden

Mark Lyden is the author of: College Students: Do This! Get Hired!; Veterans: Do This! Get Hired!; and Professionals: Do This! Get Hired! (Coming Summer 2011)A substantial portion of the proceeds from book sales are donated back to charity to help veterans and to help the stray and abandoned animals at Logan’s Run Rescue.   

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