By Yolanda M. Owens
Getting your resume noticed online as a new grad may seem like attempting to get on your favorite amusement park ride when you're under the height requirement. You feel like you just don't measure up. But before you develop an online Napoleon complex, know that your newly minted degree, tech savvy, and fresh perspectives are a hot commodity in a lukewarm economy. So before you purchase your tickets for the online application rollercoaster ride, here are a few tips to keep you from being denied admission.
Don't Try to Make Casting a Wider Net an Ultimate Sport.
Application bombardment won't win you any gold medals in the consideration pool. Nor will it score you any brownie points with recruiters. So unless you're vying for a medal in the Desperation Olympics, remove this tactic from your job search strategy. Employers understand your desire to get your foot in the door. But applying for every entry-level position says you're indecisive, have poor judgment, and may want to improve your reading comprehension skills. It's okay to apply to multiple positions. Just make sure you're qualified so you net a better return.
Avoid Being the Chronic Repeat Applier.
Trust me. It's not necessary to submit your resume five times to the same position to get it noticed. While they may not always garner you an interview, the online applicant tracking systems (ATS) employers use to collect your resume will get it where it needs to go. Just make sure you're applying to a SPECIFIC position and not to the company's generic resume database (aka the online "black hole"). Most ATS will send you an automated email response confirming the receipt of your resume for X position (make sure to check your SPAM since these emails sometimes get filtered there). So instead of getting trigger happy with the submit button, wait a few days then follow up with a brief phone call to check the receipt of your resume. This is a more professional approach and demonstrates patience as one of your many employable virtues.
Skip the Funky Formatting.
PDFs, headers, text boxes, grids…In the hardcopy world, these make your resume a wonderful work of art. But in the online world, they may make your resume invisible. The software in many applicant tracking systems (ATS) isn't able to read PDFs, text boxes, headers, grids, etc. So if you use these formats in your resume, the information may literally come up blank.Consider composing a resume just for online submissions. Make sure it's an uncomplicated Word.doc sans aforementioned formatting no- nos. That way when you hit send, employers will see your credentials--not the Invisible Man.
Mature Your Email Address.
Do you honestly believe employers will take you seriously as a candidate when they send an email reply to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org? The cornier the email address, the flakier employers will think you are. Mature your email address from the kiddie table my little cornflake or your job search may not yield you any spilled milk to cry over. Job seeking is serious business and how you present yourself to employers should demonstrate your acknowledgement of this.You can keep your spoiledprincess22 for friends who know you.Just know employers would rather communicate with email@example.com.
You're Forwarding a Resume, Not a Text.
Last time I checked, there were no character limits for online resume submissions. So there should be no reason 4 u 2 use text abbrev when u send ur resume 2 employers online. Communication skills are a key attribute employers look for when hiring recent grads. So let them know hooked on phonics worked for you.You can skip the resume objective, but always keep the grammar formalities.
Elevator Pitches are for Telemarketers.
You're not a pack of gum. So don't try to sell employers generic rhetoric that will end up a discardedlike an online gum wrapper. When you start off your resume with:
Energetic, creative, self-starter who's a results-driven, team player…
Employers respond with yada, yada, yada. Is that the first impression you want to make? Your resume (online or off) should show what you bring to the table; not self-edifying jargon decorated with flowery language. Employers want to see your deliverables and not how many buzzwords you can use to describe yourself. Keep your online credibility by sticking to the facts. Applicants who follow this rule score more cyber time with potential employers.