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Are You Using a 21st Century Resume?

We’ve all heard the media report on the struggles of those who have remained unemployed anywhere from six months to three years or more. Is it because jobseekers are lazy as some politicians claim? Is it because there are no jobs in their communities? Or is it simply due to the automation of the hiring practice by the employers?

My goal is not to place blame but rather prevent this from destroying families. In my opinion, our government should have gone out of their way to ensure hardworking Americans had the job training programs necessary to ensure a successful career transition.

What can be done to protect you and your family from this in the future? The first step is understanding the hiring process. Not only is today’s job market far more competitive than ever before but the hiring process has also been automated. The first screening of your resume is not always done with human eyes but rather a computer.

I don’t care who you are or how qualified you may be. When your resume is being screened by Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software you have no more of an advantage than anyone else if you are using the old-school, one-size-fits-all resume template.

Why? Because the simple failure to design your resume for compatibility with this technology is often enough to eliminate you from consideration. Combine this with weak marketing skills, the inability to deal with employment gaps or age discrimination, or a limited understanding of social networking you have the recipe for financial disaster!

How are today’s 21st Century resumes different from the 20th Century templates of the past? Today’s resumes are targeted to the specific industry / job you seek. Applicant Tracking System software scans your resume for common industry terms (keywords). The more hits the software finds the higher you will rank above your competition.

In addition, the old-school resumes of the past used to be very task-focused. Why waste the readers’ time telling them what they already know? Instead, focus on quantifying your accomplishments whenever possible. Describing your previous career successes proves to the hiring manager that you are not only qualified to do the job but you excel over your competition making you worth the additional salary that you may request.

Creating a high-impact resume that ensures you stand out from your competition can be time consuming but you will be reminded every time you cash your paycheck that it was worth it.

Originally posted: 7/23/2014

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