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How to beat the resumé robot

It’s safe to say that a lot of your parents’ job-seeking advice is now irrelevant.

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By Nadine Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: October 2, 2013

 Image: Slightly Everything/ flickr

It’s safe to say that a lot of your parents’ job-seeking advice is now irrelevant.

Gone are the days of a booming economy when recent graduates would don business attire, stride into the office of their preferred employers, hand in resumés printed on embossed heavy-weight paper, land an interview, and secure a job that allows them to climb the ladder of success.

Today’s job-hunting landscape is not as easily navigated as your parents might have you believe.

Most job postings are listed and applied for online; your resumé and cover letter are your first impression. Many employers don’t want phone calls or in-person applications, preferring instead to mercilessly whittle down ideal candidates from a sea of resumés.

Try searching online for “B.C. job postings.” Google brings up over 1.1 million results. And these are entire job-posting websites, not just single posts.

It can be tempting to spend hours scouring online job boards for the latest posting. After all, most of us have 24-hour access to the web that could let us search and refresh and search again until our eyelids drift automatically closed. But this habit can ultimately sour the long process it can take to acquire a post-post-secondary position.

Instead, settle on a reasonable budget of time to spend per day or per week searching for jobs. Focus your energy on applying for ones you really want and make a great impression. Set weekly goals and your persistence will eventually pay off.

Bigger online job-search engines such as Workopolis and Monster.ca are tiresome and at times disheartening to sift through. So spend less time refreshing on Craigslist and more time seeking smaller, more specialized websites that advertise careers you’re actually interested in.

Ca.indeed.com casts a wide net and the listings are generally of higher quality than your typical Craigslist or Kijiji posts. Workbc.ca is a government site that verifies employers and allows you to narrow your search by industry. Bigger companies, organisations, or municipalities will often post positions only to their own websites, so if you’re interested in a particular employer, you should look there.

Once you find a job-posting that suits your fancy, do your research on the employer and position. Because your cover letter and resumé are your way in the door, tailor accordingly. If you’re filling out a form or redirected to a recruiting website, chances are your application will be combed through by an applicant tracking system (ATS) known as the resumé robot, software designed to weed out applicants based on keywords or phrases.

Whether or not you use the phrase “customer care” could determine whether or not a hiring manager actually sees your application.

It’s important to use language found in the job posting as well as in the organization’s mission and values statement.

Job-hunting is more often than not a discouraging business; in this online era we seek immediate gratification, which cannot be expected in a job search. Many applications will be sent and never replied to. Graduates should set realistic expectations about how long it will take to find a job in their field.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Josh

    October 8, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I don’t think the author of this is entirely correct. Applying online is often a waste of time. Your time is usually better spent networking and building relationships with real people because they give you access to the majority of jobs that are never advertised. Start with your parents’ friends. Volunteer. Ask your professors. Real people get you jobs; not online applications.

  2. Jason

    October 9, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I agree with Josh; the anonymity of the internet is not often beneficial when applying for jobs. It’s better to display an eagerness and an ability to communicate clearly and concisely in person. It’s hard to charm people with a cover letter. Maybe the reason many applications are never replied to is because they’re easy to turn down when not attached to a personality?

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