Covid’s a bitch. Ain’t no other word for it.
Covid-19 has knocked the world on its keester and turned our lives upside down with big changes, and fast.
Being locked out of our jobs, or worse, losing our jobs altogether, is probably the hardest thing most of us has had to adapt to. Millions who have never experienced prolonged unemployment are seriously struggling with it.
For those of us not afraid to admit we don’t adapt easily to change, life has felt like a long and frustrating series of fruitless protests since March 2020.
It’s not just the loss of income…it’s the loss of the whole “experience” of going to your job each day, doing the work you enjoy, exchanging professional views and socializing with your co-workers, maybe running out to do a bit of lunch-hour shopping…gulping down a Big Mac while you run through the car wash…the whole multi-faceted work-a-day day.
Alas, cometh a monumental and nuclear shift that’s left many of us fumbling our way through the unknown, pawing at the air like Helen Keller.
Unlike Miss Keller, few of us have the benefit of an all-knowing, benevolent guide to still our flailing arms, stand us up straight, and gently push us in the right direction.
Feel like you’re job-searching in the twilight zone?
Some of us are going back to work, as in: to an actual building with other people and no kids. Some are heading back to their regular jobs by invitation, while others are bravely venturing into new jobs, if only to get out of the house, go somewhere, and do something.
For those actively job-searching during the Coronavirus pandemic, one of the strangest “new normals” with (for some) the steepest learning curve is mastering the online job interview.
Most of us normally feel nervous going into a job interview, but doing it online can be just as nerve-wracking as facing a three-person interviewing panel across a boardroom table. Chiefly, because it’s so different. Who of us, pre-covid, ever got interviewed for a job via Zoom?
Preparing for an online job interview goes far beyond how you’ll fix your hair or what tie you’ll wear. You have to think about your environment…lighting, background noise, locking the cat in the bedroom.
You have to “Find out which program the hiring company will use for the interview and do your research on it. You can typically download the software in advance, and I always recommend that you have everything lined up. Make sure the software works, your microphone works, and your camera works.” [Citation: Ralph Chapman, CEO of HR Search Pros, Inc]
But among all the unfamiliar and frustrating changes, there is one feature of the job-search milieu that has (thankfully) remained the same.
It’s the resume requirement.
Don’t worry…your resume is still your friend even during Covid-19
You have to submit a resume to get an interview.
There are a few exceptions, like Amazon, who doesn’t collect resumes.
But most companies and all recruiters definitely do collect resumes.
Even when you’ve been networking like crazy and scored either an interview or a strong referral, you’ll still be asked at some point, by someone, to submit your resume for the role you’re vying for.
In some cases, it may be only a formality.
Ya know…just so they have “something on file”.
In most cases though, even when you’ve made strong connections with key people at the company you’re hoping to get in with, you’ll eventually be asked to send in your resume.
Whether or not the resume you send makes you or breaks you is up to you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because your networking efforts got your foot in the door you can send in your five-year-old generic resume.
Has the resume itself changed in this crazy coronavirus world?
Not at all. It’s the one thing that hasn’t changed. Resumes still have to be super-customized for each role you apply for.
Think of the Covid-driven job market as an opportunity to step-up your game
Back in the early 2000s when jobs were plentiful and employers were desperate, a generic resume might have squeaked you into a job interview or two, but the job market is eons from where it was 20 years ago.
2020…and beyond…is the employer’s paradise.
Hiring managers and recruiters have the luxury of considering only the most qualified and best-fitting candidates to invest their sparse time in interviewing, and it’s only phenomenal resumes that get their time and attention. And, not just phenomenal, but phenomenal in 6 seconds!
Customized, tailored, targeted…whatever you want to call it…resumes have to scream …“I’m your daddy!”, more than ever before.
Even during Covid-19, job competition is mind-boggling. On average, recruiters and hiring managers are receiving 300 resumes for a single job posting.
Actually, it’s the ATSs who are receiving the resumes, and filtering them down to a digestible serving for the human readers.
If we do the math, according to Kayla Rozell, Staffing Consultant at Klopp Richards, that’s about 6 resumes. Kayla says about 2% of job applicants submitting resumes to her recruiting agency are actually qualified for the positions they’re applying for.
So, by the time the ATS rejects the generic resumes and others that just don’t hit the mark, recruiters are left with only a handful of resumes they’ll have to actually read, making the interview-selection process so much easier, faster, and more efficient.
Maybe that’s good news for you. If you can get your resume into the Applicant Tracking System, perhaps ultimately, it will have to beat-out only five others.
The way to get your resume into (not past) the ATS, is to use the keywords and phrases used in the job posting.
This is a good place to hammer home why generic resumes don’t work.
If you’re not customizing the resumes you send out, there’s a very good chance few, if any, contain the keywords and phrases the ATS is programmed to pick up on.
Keywords and phrases are provided in the job posting.
Resumes containing less than 75% of the job posting’s keywords don’t typically get favoured by the ATS, especially if there are plenty of resumes that do hit the 75% milestone. (Jobscan says it should be a little higher at 85%, with 75% being the minimum)
The ATS is programmed, by humans, to select resumes based on keywords and phrases. Other criteria is considered, like job start and end dates. (Multiple short stints send up a red flag but won’t necessarily put an applicant out of the running). Chiefly, the programmers tell the ATS robots, “We only want to see resumes containing these keywords and phrases.”
They allow for variations, like “significant results“ instead of “key outcomes”, so giving the ATS at least 75% of what its looking for isn’t all that difficult.
But if you’re sending out generic resumes that contain few, if any, of the job posting’s keywords, variations or not, your generic resume won’t get selected for human consideration.
So okay. You’re convinced. No more generic resumes.
But how do you know the best keywords and phrases to use?
I mean, take a long, detailed job posting like this one.
How do you know which keywords and phrases the ATS are programmed to pick-up on?
Well, if you’re experienced and qualified for the job, you’ll automatically use all kinds of relevant keywords and phrases, and some variations, when you describe your previous work accomplishments.
This is why I’m always harping about reading job postings carefully and thoroughly. Once you read it, and determine you are experienced and qualified, you can’t help but use most of the same keywords and phrases to describe your previous work.
Crush your competition with a crash course in writing that will pay-off big
I know for a fact where people get hung up is the actual writing of those work descriptions. It’s not that people don’t know what they did in their previous jobs.
It’s that people don’t know how to describe it in just a few sentences.
That’s why recruiters and hiring managers see (and discard) so many resumes containing one-liner bullet points, like this one:
Most people have a hard time coming up with meaningful descriptions of thier “job duties”. Generally, people just aren’t great writers. (By the way, I will bet you ATSs are programmed to reject resumes containing the word “duties”, so NEVER put that word on your resumes!)
So, I wrote this amazing workbook for job-seekers, clearly explaining and showing how to write really meaningful work descriptions.
It’s called HOW TO WRITE A KILLER RESUME! It gives tons of examples and a full resume and cover letter to see how it all comes together.
Be sure to grab your free copy below.
Job-search methods have changed dramatically in this Covid-19 era.
Networking is your best bet and, really, always has been, but even when you get a promising lead or referral, you’ll still have to send your resume to someone.
Take advantage of this one thing that Covid-19 hasn’t changed. Make sure you’re reading job postings closely and thoroughly, and customizing each resume you send out with those all-important keywords and phrases.
Terri is an expert resume-writer and a pretty good job-search coach. During her 30 years in the conventional work force, Terri was fired from 11 jobs, got laid off from 2 jobs, quit 3 jobs, sued 1 employer (successfully), made another cry, and wrote over 100 resumes for herself alone! Since embracing the good old “take this job and shove it” attitude, Terri decided to put all of her shitty “workin’ for the man” experiences and life-lessons to good use, and thus was born www.goresumepro.ca/blog. Enjoy!