Self Marketing Strategies & Tools 0

Hurdle

Newsgroups and Discussion Forums

 

Talking to people you know, meet and are referred to is the best way to find work not advertised. And that is 85% of the work out there! You can network electronically too, by meeting people in cyberspace via newsgroups and discussion forums.

The easiest way to find a discussion group is to visit Deja News, which organizes internet discussions groups by topic. Yahoo Canada has a bulletin board directory too. In the search box type “bulletins and boards”. Click on Search and you’ll find plenty of information on wide-ranging topics. For a Canadian discussion forum that is very easy to find and use, try B.C.’s WorkInfoNet and click on Discussion Forums.

Email is used to participate in these focus groups. But before you send a message, read what others are saying to get a feel for what’s going on. When you feel comfortable in doing so, post your message, remembering to be courteous and professional in what you say and how you say it.

Electronic Portfolios

If you have the right equipment, you can use a scanner to scan your documents right into your computer program. By carefully selecting relevant and recent examples, you can create mini-portfolios or portfolio-resume hybrids that you can copy onto disks to leave with selected employers. It’s best to make the file “read-only” so they cannot be altered before leaving it with anyone.

For fields such as performing arts or education, you may wish to consider the option of providing prospective employers with a video demonstration of yourself in action. A potentially powerful job search tool, video demonstration requires a considerable amount of time to prepare, and equipment may be costly and difficult to obtain.

On-line Resumes and Electronic Job Matching

Do you know that you can build a resume right on particular career sites? These sites may also provide you with an opportunity to display your resume or even send it directly to employers who post jobs on the site. Here are several sample sites to explore:

Canada’s Electronic Labour Exchange, ELE
Career Mosaic
Monster.Com
Intellimatch
Resumix

Though this sounds like it’s the answer for your work search efforts, there are several points to consider before you post your resume on the web.

  • Unless you are in a high-tech field, jobs posted on the internet are also often advertised in newspapers. In other words, this is not the 85% hidden job market you had hoped for. Jobs posted on the Internet are still part of the 15% of advertised openings.
  • Anyone in the world can access your information, so be careful about posting your personal contact information. You would be wise to use only sites where personal information is kept confidential until approved by you for release to individual inquirers.

Emailing Resumes and Cover Letters

Remember when faxing your resume to employers was a brand new strategy? Now faxing has become almost a standard way to apply. Because the receiver’s fax may not produce a clean, clear copy, it is still wise to follow up your fax with a crisp copy straight from your printer.

Today the new strategy is the emailed resume. There are several instances when you may want to email your resume.

  • When an advertised opening lists an email address
  • When a company you have targeted has a homepage and an email address
  • When you acquired someone’s email address through networking
  • When you are applying to work in a high-tech field

To email your resume and cover letter you need to determine which format to send it in.

  • You can send your resume and cover letter as attachment in WORD, but I would never recommend this, as WORD has a nasty way of converting incorrectly in different versions of WORD and on different operating systems
  • PDF is the “only” universally consistent file format that appears the same  on all platforms and operating systems – Use only PDF to email around
  • Some websites will only accept your resume and cover letter in plain text (ASCII) format. In this format, you sacrifice all special fonts and style, because all the formatting codes in WORD has been stripped out of this file format to allow the HR web bots to scan effectively and analyze your resume submission
  • A third way to send it is as part of the email message where you can copy and paste your word-processed document right into the e-mail message.
  • Another method of sending your email is to scan and save your printed resume and cover letter in PDF format, however, the recipient can only view your e-mail in Acrobat Reader, which has now become a standard on desktop platforms. Documents formatted in PDF perfectly retains all the styling, fonts and images of the original when printed or emailed.

In all cases, follow up by calling the company to make sure your resume was received.

Electronic Resumes for Applicant Tracking Systems

There are times when your resume needs to be easily scanned in a format  for electronic resume tracking systems. Larger corporations (and smaller ones using third parties resume handlers such as Resumix and ProHunt are increasingly turning to this method of recruitment and selection because, once the system is installed, it saves them an incredible amount of time.

An electronic resume tracking system allows an operator to scan your resume for storage into a company’s resume databank. In some cases, emailed resumes go directly into this bank. Your resume is retrieved when keywords that describe the qualifications the company wants for a position match keywords on your resume.

From your point of view, it is imperative that you do two things to ensure your resume is retrieved if you have the appropriate qualifications.

  • Send your resume in PDF, use WORD as a last resort in the event PDF is not accepted, or plain ASCII text format when posting on web pages or into the body of emails.
  • Use keywords in noun form. The vocabulary used in the applicant tracking system is in noun form.

Tips For Plain Text Format

Some of these tips do not apply to all scanners and applicant tracking systems, but unless you know the specific requirements of an employer’s system, play it safe and follow them.

  • Use a sans serif (no cross-lines) font such as Universe or Helvetica
  • Use preferably 11 – 12 point base font and nothing smaller than 10
  • Avoid underlining text, scrunching text, italics, boxes, and shading
  • Use only your name as the first line of the resume
  • Use a laser printer and black print on white paper

Tips For Key Word Resumes

You can incorporate keyword nouns in the body of your resume or write a keyword summary. If you use a keyword summary:

  • Start with a summary that focuses on your job target.
  • Use keyword nouns to describe your qualifications. Start with a field of work.
  • Place most important and most relevant information first.
  • Use the body of the resume to support the keyword summary.
  • Use industry jargon and abbreviations.
  • State your qualifications in as many different ways as you can think of, varying terms in the summary and the body of the resume.

Video Resumes

A video resume is similar to a job interview. The job seeker introduces himself on camera, summarizes his background, sells his skills and thanks the employer for his time. As not all employers have the time or the technology to this approach, it is wise to consider it an option rather than your only strategy.

CONCLUSION

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now, don’t despair. You do not need to use all the tools and strategies mentioned here. Start with one and try it out. Then, as you get more confident with it, try another one.

In a self-managed career, it is important to be aware of the electronic tools and strategies available to you. They are being used by an increasing number of companies and work searchers like you. Using these resources yourself can give you an edge. Employers are always impressed by resourceful, innovative workers who demonstrate a commitment to life-long learning and development by staying current. Remember, in job search – the product is you!

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