Feature: The Application Two-Step
Here’s a not uncommon scenario on the Internet today: you spend several hours surfing the Web at a number of recruitment Web-sites; you search through hundreds of job postings in their job databases; and finally, you find what you been looking for. There, right in front of you, is a posting for your dream job. So, what do you do? Send in your resume, right? Well, not exactly; if that were the sum of it, a lot more of us would be getting offers for the job we really want.
You see, applying for a job online is actually a two-step process:
Complete the first step, and you will be considered an applicant; complete the second step, and you will get yourself noticed. Do both steps, and you will likely move to the head of the applicant line.
Step 1: The Test
When you see a job posting, you are facing a test. The purpose of this exam is to determine whether or not you paid attention in Mrs. Murphy’s kindergarten class. What was the first lesson you were taught there? That’s right: you must pay attention to directions. So, a job posting is, first and foremost, a test to determine whether you can follow the directions the company has provided for applying. These directions might be:
While the last three of these options are relatively straight forward, the first-cutting and pasting your resume into an e-mail message-can be fraught with problems. Most e-mail readers cannot accept word processing conventions, so it’s important that you first save your resume as ASCII text (use the Save As command under File and then select ASCII text or Rich Text Format in the “Save as type:” drop-down window) and then copy and paste it into the message. Doing otherwise is likely to garble your resume as it moves through the Internet’s e-mail system. (For more on how to create an Internet-ready resume, click on the appropriate link to your left and take a look at WEDDLE’s WizNotes: Writing a Great Resume.)
Whatever the method the employer chooses, however, the key is that you follow its directions. In essence, that’s the way-and the only way-the employer wants it done. So, this job posting exam in Step 1 is pass or fail; either you follow the employer’s directions and are considered a genuine applicant or you don’t follow its directions and are designated a “graffiti applicant.” The former gets you into the zone of consideration; the latter gets you tossed in the reject pile.
Step 2: The Answer
As soon as you have completed Step 1, begin to implement Step 2. If Step 1 enables you to pass the test; Step 2 provides the answer that will ace it. Here’s what I mean: recruiters are inundated with applicant resumes these days, so it’s very hard for any single person-even one who is extremely qualified for an opening-to get noticed. To overcome that disadvantage, you must help your resume stand out.
The minute you have passed the test in Step 1, start networking to find contacts in the organization that posted your dream job. You’re trying to find one (or both) of two kinds of contacts:
Networking to such contacts is not as difficult as it may initially seem, thanks to the Internet. Use online databases and directories at the Web-sites of such organizations as your professional society, college or university alumni association, community softball league, parent-teacher association and community gardening club. Research shows that we are all only separated by six degrees of freedom, and the Web is the best way to make those connections.
The purpose of this networking is to ask your friend or contact to refer your credentials to the appropriate recruiter in the employer’s HR Department. When they do so, they move your resume from one of hundreds or thousands in the organization’s resume database to one of a handful or less on the recruiter’s desktop. There, it will almost certainly get noticed and considered. Why? Because recruiters believe that the best candidates are those referred by the organization’s own employees.
Simple as applying for a job online might seem, it’s actually both the first assessment an employer will make of your capabilities as a prospective employee and a way to differentiate yourself from the other applicants and give yourself a competitive edge in the real world. All you have to do is follow the Application Two-Step.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. WEDDLE’s Newsletter grows only by word-of-mouth. So, please … tell a friend or colleague (or two) about the newsletter. We’d be very grateful, and they will be too.
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
CareerBuilder.com announced the results of its survey of workers and hiring managers, conducted in late 2004. The key finding? Employees are increasingly restive and readying themselves for a move. Nearly one-in-four of the respondents plan to change jobs during the first half of 2005, and an astounding six-in-ten say they will make the move by the end of 2006! What does it all mean for you? More competition. When you apply for a job advertised in your local newspaper, you are competing against others in your hometown; when you apply for a position posted on the Internet, you’re competing against every other job seeker online-and if 25% of the workforce plans to change jobs this year, that means you’re potentially up against 35 million people. You can definitely win, but your resume has to be hard-hitting, your networking online and off has to be effective, and you have to know all of the tricks for setting yourself apart from the herd (like the Application Two-Step above).
CareerMetaSearch.com partnered with RolloverSystems, Inc. to offer a new service for those leaving an employer and searching for a way to roll over their 401(k) or other retirement plan balance. The feature provides a way to compare IRA offers from such financial institutions as Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, JPMorganChase and American Century Investments. Once a vendor is selected, an application can be submitted online. The service is free and, according to the site, takes just 15 minutes to complete.
ExecuNet released the latest results of its survey of executives in the job market. It found that confidence is up to historic highs. Almost two-thirds of the respondents (65%) said they were either confident or very confident that the job market for senior talent would improve in the next six months. That’s way up from the 38% who thought that in January of this year and surpassed the survey’s all time confidence high recorded in January of 2004. Still, looking for a senior level job is likely to be a long and arduous campaign. According to those polled, the average time spent in a job search was 6.5 months, down from 7.6 months in January, 2004, but still no quick dash to re-employment. Therefore, while your experience could be different (and, hopefully, much shorter), it’s important, that you manage your own expectations and those of your spouse and family members.
Healthehire.com launched its site as a portal for healthcare employment. It offers job seekers exclusive access to the Hospital Blue Book, a publication of Billian’s HealthDATA Group. According to the site, this publication enables healthcare professionals to “comparison shop” all 6,000 hospitals nationwide (using statistics on their training programs, benefits, accreditations, operations and more) and accurately identify those with the best value proposition for them.
Staffing Industry Report released the results of a recent survey of employers’ hiring plans. It found that 55% of the companies surveyed expect to use more contingent workers than in the past (28% said they would use fewer). The U.S. Government defines contingent work as “any job in which an individual does not have an explicit or implicit contract for long-term employment.” While such positions do not offer as much security as permanent positions (which are, themselves, hardly “permanent”), they do offer a way for you to demonstrate your capabilities on-the-job. In essence, contingency employment is paid marketing for You, Inc.. According to the survey, the usage of contingent positions will increase most significantly in the retail/consumer, government/education, business services, pharma/bio/medical, and automotive industries. If you work in one of those fields and are offered a contingent position, give it serious consideration.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. You’re a civil engineer with expertise in building highway bridges. Which of the following sites would put a pothole in your search?
2. If you’re a telecommunications technician looking for an opportunity with a cell phone company, which of the following sites would clearly connect you with openings that would interest you?
3. You’re a bi-lingual financial professional seeking an opening with a U.S. company in South America. Which of the following sites would translate into a successful job search for you?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005 Guides and Directories
Casino Careers Online
A WEDDLE’s 2005 User’s Choice Award Winner
Post full time jobs: Yes
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Part time, Consulting
Distribution of jobs: International
Number of jobs: 500
Salary levels of jobs: $20-30K/yr, $75-100K/yr
Offer a job agent: Yes
Resume database: Yes
How long are resumes stored: 365 days
Restrictions on who can post: If registered
Other services for job seekers: Assessment tests offered on-site, Career and job search information on-site, Links to other sites with job search and career management information
Answers to Site Insite
1. BridgePeople.com, a site that teaches children how to build bridges.
2. Only Cellular-News.com. CellPeople.com is the site for a software products company; CellTech.com is the site of an all-natural personal products company; and CallTechs.com is the site of an IT services company.
3. All but MultiLingualVacancies.com, a site for bilingual openings in Europe.