Top 5 Tips for Today's Job Seekers: It's a Whole New Game Out There

June 13, 2014

Milwaukee, Wisc. – Two to one: That’s the number of unemployed people actively applying for every one posted position in the U.S.
Latest statistics show that there are about 4.4 million current job openings and more than 9.8 million unemployed Americans actively seeking a job.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics stat on job seekers does not include those who have temporarily given up their search due to discouragement or took early retirement from an employer who gave them no other option, and still need to work to make ends meet.

It also does not account for those who are currently employed and looking to change jobs – they also are applying for one of those open jobs.

Now more than ever before, job seekers need to do everything they can to get an edge up on their competition to stand out in today’s job market.

The resume is a job seeker’s advertisement. It speaks to credibility, experience, professional level and ability to make a great first impression. Potential employers want to know if applicants are capable of making a great first impression as this will translate into how well a future employee will represent their interests.

There is not a lot of time to impress an HR executive weeding through a pile of resumes. Studies show applicants have about seven seconds to capture the attention of hiring personnel with their resume – seven seconds to get them interested enough to keep reading or get thrown into the “no” pile.

Here are the top 5 tips you need to know today to change up the job search game and get noticed, get the call and land the interview:

Your resume and cover letter and LinkedIn profile are your marketing tools to sell your skills, experience and savvy to a future employer. If you can’t market, present or sell yourself well, why would an employer want to hire you to sell, represent or work on their products, services or ideas? No matter which industry you are in, you must think like a marketing guru to get your resume noticed. This doesn’t mean crazy gimmicks or ridiculous ad and offers need to accompany your resume. Keep it classy and keep it relevant. Keep it authentic and FOCUS in on your absolute strengths applicable to the open position. Use words and phrases to help sell your abilities to a future employer.

For decades college graduates and most all job applicants have heeded advice to create a job objective for top of their resume. But HR execs and studies have weighed in – it’s time to get rid of these ancient and over-used phrases and replace with words that have meaning for potential employers. It’s now called the “career statement,” or “career profile.” Discard the “in search of challenging position where I can use my experience in a progressively responsible position to further my career” standard-speak. Instead, research the company and figure out how YOUR experience can help them – tell them what you can bring to the table to help that company’s bottom line. Convey to the reader how your qualifications can enhance their company’s goals as well as nail the responsibilities for the open position.

Example: As a highly motivated, well-spoken and enthusiastic direct sales earner and team leader, my background positions me well to take your product line sales to the next level. Ten years of sales management experience helping my team exceed annual sales quotas by more than 20 percent means decreased training time and increased sales for your company.

Of course, you should send it to the email address and person mentioned in the job posting but take it a step further and send a copy to a senior level executive who holds a position of power in that department or if it is through a job matching service, find out who the HR director is and send to them, too. Express to that person that you are copying them on your resume because you wanted to be sure they were aware of your interest and hope to meet them in person. Get your name out there.

Know your audience. Like a good marketer – understand who you are sending your resume to, what makes them tick, what’s important to them and then focus on what this potential employer needs to know about you to help them see you as a valued employee. Forget about mentioning things totally unrelated to the position responsibilities. That is great that you were voted the most likely to become a star in a toothpaste television commercial by your fraternity brothers, but these things are not what will sell you to a future employer. Try your hardest to zero in on your most applicable skills, talents, achievements and experiences so the employer knows you are not using a cookie cutter format for your resume and sending it out to all employers without paying attention to your audience.

Tweak your updated resume so that it can be easily uploaded, downloaded, scanned and edited. This means no bullet points, no boldface or odd fonts, no indenting, no zany paragraph formatting. Make it rich with key words and terms that will stick out for a HR executive doing a search on a job resume posting website or reading it in person.

In addition to the above, job seekers need to remember the value of updating and utilizing a LinkedIn profile to maximize reach and networking options. More than three-fourths of today’s recruiters utilize LinkedIn to find talent/job applicants for their client companies.

Read more on the value of LinkedIn here:

For more tips and advice on how to improve a resume and your job search go to

Janice Burch, author, and Barry Breit are co-founders of Pro Resume Center, LLC, a Milwaukee-based resume writing and interview coaching agency, specializing in helping job seekers stand out in today’s competitive job market. The agency offers resume and cover letter writing services, LinkedIn profile rewrites and face-to-face online interview coaching to help job seekers get noticed, get the interview and land the job offer. For information along with free articles and tips, visit

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