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“Tell Us About Yourself”

Interview-Person

Five Tips to Answer the No. 1 Interview Question Expertly 

Yes, we agree. Job interviews can tend to be nerve-wracking, as most of us aren’t accustomed to talking eloquently about our skills, strengths and weaknesses. Especially while sitting across from a stranger. And even if your communications skills are stellar, the first question can unnerve just about everyone.

Every interview almost always starts with the interviewer saying, “Tell us about yourself”.  While this is something that should be practiced and prepared in advance, candidates often overlook the importance of this question and fail to take the time to formulate the right response.

Remember that the question isn’t an invitation to tell your life story. The interviewer just wants to know why you’re interested in this position and what makes you qualified. All that they wish to determine is whether your skill-set and personality are a match for the company culture? This is the right opportunity to show off your passion for your work and demonstrate how you are the perfect fit for the company with your answer.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the following five tips can help you articulate your response to “tell us about yourself” in the most effective manner.

Tip 1: Honesty really is the best policy.
The best way to answer interview questions about yourself is to be honest. You are who you are and nothing can change that. Trying to present yourself as someone you’re not may not be the best idea in the long run. And anyway, employers can often tell when a candidate’s answers are sincere, so just  be genuine with your reply.

Tip 2: Ensure that the skills match.
Prepare your response, keeping the company and the specific job in mind.  You don’t want to end up saying something that is not a requirement for the job. Therefore, be sure to review both the job listing and your resume before the interview. Think of skills, experiences, and qualities you have that make you a good fit for the position.

Tip 3: Research well.
Research is key to answering the opening question well. Before every interview, research the company and the job description so that you can speak intelligently about why it appeals to you. All that the hiring manager wants to see is that you are genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity and that you took the initiative to learn about the company and the role.

Tip 4: Consider the personality fit.
All said and done, you need to do a bit of background check to see if the job is a good personality fit. You need to consider whether the job would work out long-term if it’s not a match for your personality and work style. Go through the company’s website in detail to see if that’s what you’re seeking in your next position and your next employer.

Tip 5: Finish with a Power Statement.
The most obvious strategy is also one of the least-utilized: ending with a powerful finish to the most common interview question. The interviewer hears the same answer over and over again each day. So nothing will make them sit up faster and listen to you than a surprising answer. And that means you’ve got a significant advantage over all the other candidates who could give perfectly satisfactory, but often perfectly boring answers.

How about something like this: [Samples of a few power statement finishes.]

“I have always admired your company’s products and I was really impressed with the recent CBC interview with your CEO. The job description also emphasizes communication skills and leadership — two of my greatest strengths. I really feel that it’s a role and organization in which I could excel.”

 “One of the reasons why I chose to apply. I have always wanted to work for a successful company with strong leadership and vision, and this is one that recognizes and rewards performers.” 

“I take the time to continue learning even if it’s not a direct requirement of the job. I find that many times, my professional growth is based on what I study, both directly and indirectly related to work.”

“I consistently sets firm goals for myself. I am determined to do well in my job and have a successful career, as well as to make the company I work for, more competitive.”

“I have spent the last six years developing my skills as a customer service manager for ABC Corp, where I have won several performance awards and been promoted twice. This role will not only challenge me but also help me manage teams and solve customer problems with my relevant combination of skills.”

In summary: 
To sum up, “Tell us about yourself” will come up in just about every job interview.
Don’t waste the opportunity by simply diving into a long recitation of your resume.
Instead, try a concise, enthusiastic response that summarizes your big-picture fit for the job.

As you can see, while it may seem that your answer should be all about you and what you’re looking for, a great answer goes a step beyond that and establishes your ability to empower the organization in the position. Go ahead, tell them about yourself – with a flourish.

 

Instagram Your Way to Career Success.

Instagram

 

 

 

 

How to Use Instagram to Find a Job.

While LinkedIn continues to be the leading platform for job seekers, emerging sites like Instagram are fast raising in prominence too.

In the age of social media,  it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Instagram can be used for things beyond posting pictures of pets, recipes and vacations. With a little ingenuity  you can use Instagram to not only establish your personal brand but also demonstrate your social savvy.

Here are five easy steps to tap into the power of Instagram to research potential companies, reach out to employers and claim your dream job.

1: Research and Engage. 
Is there an ideal, dream company that you would love to work for? Browse through the company’s Instagram page, and you’ll get real insight into the company culture. Now go ahead and click ‘follow’ on its Instagram page! Engage with the company socially, ‘Like’ their photos, participate in contests and join conversations. And soon, you’ll integrate yourself into their social structure.

2: Establish Your Personal Brand.
Think of your Instagram page as a professional platform, one that is an extension of your personal brand. Companies and hiring managers love candidates who are passionate. So use your Instagram profile to tell your unique story. Also, you never know who will come across your profile, so put your best foot, and best work forward.

3: Be Relevant. 
You can have fun with your Instagram pictures and posts. Just make sure what you post is relevant to your brand, especially if it is intended to enhance your job search. At the same time, be mindful of your privacy settings. Make sure that your Instagram profile is set to the public mode to help you network freely with other professionals or connect with companies.

4: Use Hashtags. 
One of the most effective ways to get influencers to notice your Instagram account is by using hashtags. Use hashtags so that your photos show up in searches. Once you research a company to see what type of skills they look for in employees, then make sure to hashtag those skills whenever you tag the company in a post. You can automatically boost your picture’s placement in search results with hashtags.

5: Follow and Interact. 
Once you’ve found the right company and the people to follow and, have uploaded and tagged the appropriate content, the next step is to interact. Make sure you post pictures and information that are relevant and correspond with their values as companies use hashtags to view the social conversation about their image. Demonstrate your knowledge about the company and admiration for their work, and always remember to tag them in the comment to ensure that they will see it.

This sounds clichéd, yes even today, a picture is worth a thousand words. Instagram has now become the site of choice for companies to interact visually with their customers, and could be a great way to help you in your job search. Employ a little savvy, use Instagram as a personal branding asset and land yourself a picture perfect career in no time.

 

The 10 Qualities of a Smart Working Resume.

Be The Best You

Does your resume have what it takes to breach the 6-seconds barrier?

“Recruiters spend an average of six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision on candidates” – The Ladders, online career portal.

In an aggressive marketplace, average resumes get lost in cyberspace while smart resumes rise above the crowd and grab attention instantly. So what makes a resume great? And, will your resume win the six seconds battle?

Here are the top ten ways a smart resume immediately draws attention, positions you positively, communicates your value with aplomb, and sets you up to receive the interview call.

1. Makes a dramatic entry with a strong top one-third.
The eye is naturally drawn to the top third of the page and that’s why what you say in this section is very important in those crucial first few seconds.

The top third of your resume should contain the most impressive and noteworthy information about you. Ideally:

  • Your name, followed by the desired job title.
  • The basic contact information – preferably just the email ID and cell phone number along with an online link.
  • A compelling one-line brand statement that communicates your unique value and relevancy to the job opening.

2. Includes a link to your online profile.
It is becoming common practice for recruiters to anyway look up candidates online and review their profiles, so why not make it easier for them? Providing a link to your online profile, preferably your LinkedIn, blog or website URL, directs the hiring manager to the right place to find more relevant information about you.

3. Replaces the Objective Statement with a Value Proposition.
Think about this. What is the point of including a done-to-death, generic objective that claims “Energetic professional seeking challenging opportunities to leverage my skills in a dynamic organization” when it’s not adding any value whatsoever.

Why not replace it with a powerful value proposition or an executive summary – your ideal ’30-seconds elevator pitch’ that details who you are, what you’re great at, and how your skills ideally fit the job role.

4. Leverages the right keywords relevant to the job posting and your industry.
With the advent of the ATS (Applicant Tracking System), many companies use it or some other screening process to shortlist the first set of candidates. To make it to the first cut, make sure your resume features the right keywords, terminology, and key phrases that show up in job descriptions and are commonly used in your particular industry.

5. Quantifies your achievements.
Numbers are easy to remember. Don’t vaguely talk about the money you saved or brought in for your company, the projects that you delivered on time or the deals that you helped close. Add a numerical value to as many achievements and contributions as you can, in each major role mentioned in your resume.

6. Draws attention with white space and easy-to-read bullet points.
The best way to format information is to do it in a way that makes it easy to scan and train the spotlight on your key skills and relevant qualifications.

By avoiding dense blocks of text and by listing strengths, skills and achievements in three to five bullet points per job, you can automatically create white space and add elegance to your resume.

7. Uses reverse chronological order.
A dynamic profile followed by your key skills followed by your most recent job accomplishments draws the reader in and keeps him/her focused. Resumes written in this style are favoured by hiring managers because they’re able to do a quick scan and see what you have accomplished in the recent past.

8. Formats accomplishments in the STAR format.
Great story tellers often follow the STAR format – Situation, Task, Action, Result. This format also allows you to engage the recruiter by highlighting your skills and the result of your actions. Here’s an example to state an accomplishment:
“Revitalized the Client’s website with refreshing, SEO-rich content. The new site
leverages Web 2.0 and has witnessed web traffic increase by 60%”.

9. Avoids saying “references available upon request.”
The space on your resume is limited so make sure you don’t cloud it with phrases and lines that don’t add real value. Recruiters anyway know that you will provide references if they request so why state the obvious?

10. Avoids crazy fonts, colours, images or headers and footers.
As mentioned earlier in Point 4, companies use the ATS to shortlist candidates. So make sure your resume is ATS and mobile-friendly. This means, stick with basic black and white colours and regular fonts, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, or Calibri.

For the same reason, also avoid headers and footers, embedded tables, pictures, or other images in your resume. They may all look fine when you view your resume on your PC but could often get scrambled when put through an Applicant Tracking System.

Begin Your Resumé With a Compelling Top One-Third to Get Noticed

 

Be Empowered

A growing notion among recruiters is that the “Career Objective” statement found at the top of a resumé is becoming more and more outdated in today’s job market. They feel instead of focusing on his or her objective, the primary responsibility of the candidate should be to quickly impress upon the recruiter what he or she can bring to the table in the organization. And so an ideal resumé today replaces the “This is what I want” objective statement with a “This is the value that I offer” branding statement today.

Especially in a world where the resumé needs to get past the applicant tracking system (ATS) and score high on the preferred keyword-focused formatting, it is imperative to write something compelling and valuable in the top one-third of your resumé to stand out.

Brand yourself

A bold entry with a strong personal brand within the first five seconds, framed around your unique value and strengths, can open more doors for you.

Here are a few examples that could go right under your name.

>  Dynamic Customer Service Representative

>  Passionate Marketing Sales Head

>  Seasoned Mechanical Engineer

>  Accomplished Project Manager

>  Experienced QA/QC Analyst

The combination of a powerful job title headline followed by a positioning statement that connects your experience to the position, telling a potential employer what you can do for them, can literally make you unbeatable.

Because recruiters and employers generally spend most of their time looking at the top portion of a candidate’s resumé, you must be strategic with the content you place at the top — it should excite them to move beyond the first few lines and devote more time to reading the rest of it.

When drafting your personal brand statement, keep it tight enough to interest them, quantify your skills — mention the number of years of experience  — highlight the key areas of expertise, insert keywords that are appropriate for the job position and definitely sizzle with personality.

Here are a few examples:

> Accomplished business supplies and equipment professional with proven record of training teams and leadership development.

> High-performance, results-driven sales specialist with 8 years’ professional immigration consultation expertise.

> Energetic, passionate IT networking technologist with demonstrated skills in hardware software applications.

> Passionate sales and marketing manager with 10+ years’ successful experience in finding new leads and growing markets.

> Passionate and dynamic sales specialist with a focus on building effective relationships and driving clients to action.

> Performance-driven and self-motivated banking professional with high integrity and commitment.

Accomplished marketing, business development specialist with tested experience in diverse markets.

Sharp resumé extras
Think of your resumé as one of the arrows in your quiver. If it’s dull at the tip, you’re less likely to hit the mark. To make it sharper, it is also advisable to add a QR Code or a link to your LinkedIn profile or portfolio website link or any professional social media page — right at the top along with your email and phone number. Make sure that you make your hyperlink live as your resumé could most likely be viewed on a computer or mobile media.

At the end, it is totally your choice whether to start with an objective, summary, brand identity line or a value statement. Whatever you term it, I recommend opening the resumé with your name, the coveted job title that indicates the position you are looking for, followed by a well-defined brand slogan that sets you apart from others.

 

The Rise and Rise of Mobile Recruiting.

8 amazing tips to use your smart phone to get hired on the go.

Rapidly changing technology is impacting our lives everywhere. In the age of the millennials, tablets and smartphones have now taken over our daily lives.  Not to be left behind, the job-search process too has evolved from Print Ads to online postings to mobile recruiting.

Yes, mobile job search and hiring are the in-thing now and will continue to grow given the fact that by 2020, millennials will compose 40 percent of the workforce. In fact, currently more than 90% of hiring managers and job seekers use their mobile phones at some point of the recruiting cycle. As mobile surpasses desktop, hiring managers expect candidates also to keep pace.

Here’s what organizations are doing.

Many companies now offer branded, mobile-optimized career sites that match their overall web theme. Some have even created customized mobile apps for job search.

With talent on the move, companies are keeping it simple with a ‘one-click’ apply option. They have made sure that all links are easy to follow with a functional search facility, concise job descriptions and the option to apply using a LinkedIn profile without the need for cover letters or resumes.

Automated text messages have become an instant and effective way of leveraging the benefits of mobile technology by acknowledging applications, updating candidates on their progress and scheduling interviews.

Many companies add a personal touch by sending reminders to candidates on the day of their interview and confirming the time and names of the hiring panel.

Some are providing relevant mobile optimized content with optimized emails, and job postings for mobile interfaces.

A few companies have even gone a step ahead and are offering relevant and regular updates on developments and careers within their company. This not only helps them grab the attention of talent but targets the concerns of their prospective candidates by addressing topics such as culture, leadership and individual career development opportunities.

Here’s how you can adapt:

1: Keep pace with advancing technology. As mobile technology advances and becomes more popular, recruiters expect candidates to complete every stage of the process, from the search to the application through their smart phones and tablets. Make sure you stay updated with all developments. As with everything else, trial and error processes can make you an expert in no time.

2: Visit renowned online job boards. Craigslist, Monster, SimplyHired and many others have created mobile portals and apps for recruiters and job seekers to be involved in the hiring process anytime and anywhere they want.

3: Download some of the leading Android & iOS apps. These include Indeed, Intro, LinkUp, Simply Hired, Switch, Snagajob, Monster and of course LinkedIn that help you to track job listings and apply through your device.

4: Identify opportunities on the go. Start by browsing the career sections of company websites. Many of the sites have been redesigned and formatted to be easily browsed on the go with a mobile device.

5: Develop a short form resume. You can create an abridged version of your resume that just touches on career highlights and can be easily scanned and just. Your primary purpose is to generate interest. You can also use a document format that can be easily opened.

6: Update social media profiles. You can adjust your social media profile with all the basic information an employer will want to know. Although you may gain the interest of employers with a brief mobile friendly resume, they will still want to know your qualifications and history.

7: One click application.  Master the art of applying for job positions in one click that can be accomplished in a minute or so from a mobile device. Many companies have created simplified applications that job seekers can easily complete from their devices without getting frustrated. Others are enabling candidates to use their LinkedIn or other social profiles to complete sections of the application.

8: Follow-up with ease. Beyond applying and setting up the first interview, you can also display your mobile mastery by scheduling second interviews and follow-up meetings using e-mail, SMS, WhatsApp and other tools.

The rise of mobile recruiting has everything to do with convenience and immediacy. Go ahead – embrace the power of mobile and enhance your job search with speed, convenience and on-the-go access.

 

Do the Job Before the Job. The FREE Project – Gets You Hired!

The Pre-Employment Project – The smart, fast way to get hired.

‘FREE’. 
Don’t we all just love the word? It’s a great door opener and relationship-sweetener in every part of the world, cutting across generations and indeed across civilizations.

When it comes to your job search, you can use the same tactic to get hired faster. You may present an effective, balanced resume with the right combination of skills and experience but your job application still hasn’t answered the classic ‘WIIFM’ – ‘What’s In It For Me?’- the invisible sign hanging on every employer’s neck.

Today you need do something new, something different and over and above the conventional norm. I call it the classic ‘buy one and get one free’ approach. Why not impress the hiring manager by bringing to the table a complimentary project along with your resume? Even Harvard Business Review endorses this approach. [Google: HBR.org – “Projects Are the New Job Interviews”].

The only reason the job opening exists is because the organization has a problem that you can solve or a need that you can fill.  If you can deliver a Free Project that proves to them that you have the relevant skills, you instantly separate yourself. In other words, ‘do the job before you get the job’. You may not have the relevant ‘Canadian experience’ but a complimentary, pre-interview project can easily help you overcome that very hurdle.

Here are a few ‘stand-out’ suggestions:

Marketing: 
If you’re applying for a sales or marketing role, a good side project could be demonstrating how you could market or actually selling some of the company’s products and presenting a document about it.

Design: 
If you’re applying for a web or graphic designer related role, you could mock-up some new designs for the company and present in the ‘before-after’ format and rationalize why you recommend your new designs.

Sales: 
Maybe the company is looking to simply increase sales or reduce costs. Your ability to do either will certainly make the hiring manager or the company CEO take notice.

Why not take with you a 30-60-90 day plan to demonstrate that you can help generate money, save money or both.

IT / Product Development: 
If you are applying for product development related positions, you can run quick usability tests on the company’s products, document your strategy and approach, support it with some implementation suggestions and share at the time of the interview. And if you are keen in entering the game development field, you can showcase a portfolio full of work in game development.

Do remember that credentials and, certifications and paper qualifications do matter for industries like law, finance or medicine, but for most other fields you can stand out by working on some side projects.  Choose a project which you find interesting, and which you feel has a depth or complexity that you can explore.  You can read through the Job Position to get an understanding. Now that you know what the company expects you to do day to day, you can actually do it ahead of time and prove to them that you can solve their problems.

You don’t have to always do projects in isolation. If you work with any other individual or in a group, it will show an employer that you can work in a team and collaborate.

You can upload a Power Point Presentation on free sites like Slideshare.net and share on your LinkedIn Projects page. Or better still create a free, themed website through portals like Branded.me, Wix.com or Strikingly.com.

The pre-employment project is an excellent way to showcase your soft skills – your ability to take charge, be driven and creative, conduct proper research and put together a project with enthusiasm – all these valuable traits do influence the hiring process positively.  So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, take up a project and make a definitive, distinct statement without saying a word!

Lights. Camera. YouTube. Cruise to Job Victory on the World’s 2nd Largest Search Engine.

Insight #1: Did you know that YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, after Google? And the fact that Google owns YouTube?

Insight # 2: Sure, many people still associate YouTube with cute puppy videos, movie trailers and music videos. And while this is all true, did you know YouTube can also be an excellent resource while looking for a job?

Yes, using video as a recruitment tool is gaining big momentum in the HR industry.  Recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly using employment videos to tell their story and recruit, hire, and source candidates for an array of positions. And that explains why even popular sites like Monster.com  have dedicated YouTube pages for job search and career development.

Not only can you surf lots of “how to” videos on job search and even view virtual interviews, you can use YouTube to promote yourself in interesting ways.

Build Your Professional Brand with a Visual Resume. 
Personal branding is key to developing your career and YouTube is the perfect tool to help you build your brand. You can now post a video of yourself to convey your knowledge and passion for the position. This also lets you demonstrate both your soft, transferable skills and core technical skills in one shot.

Set up an Exclusive YouTube Channel. 
Consider creating a new Google account to set up a professional YouTube channel that can be exclusive to your job search. This can now be an additional asset to let prospective employers understand your value and your brand. Then share a few brief videos that show you highlighting your skills and familiarity with your chosen occupation and industry.

Build a YouTube Network. 
By curating and sharing interesting content, you can soon build an exclusive network on YouTube. You can also link to videos by experts in your field, add comments and share the impression they’ve made on you. This helps future employers see your involvement and enthusiasm.

YouTube  is specially a boon for people in creative and technology fields or for candidates with friends in those fields – you can leverage its strengths well.  Make use of the site’s built-in production tools by adding effects, inserting links or adding a soundtrack. This proves you know how to do the things your dream job requires.

Once you create your channel, link to it from your resume, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and any other relevant media or marketing material you use for yourself in your search.

Final Tips

  • YouTube is a simple, quick way to get yourself seen.
  • Fancy film work and high tech cameras aren’t key to success.
  • Recruiters hire people, not two stapled pieces of paper. If they see you in action, they will be more likely to want to connect with you.
  • Keep your videos to a max of one or two minutes.
  • Use HD settings and make sure the lighting reflects you well.
  • Shoot as many takes as necessary; edit ruthlessly using YouTube’s built-in tools.
  • Look and dress professional, have a professional backdrop, practice with a friend first, and make the video conversational, yet professional.

Insight # 3: If Justin, so can you. 
Yes, one of the most famous YouTube discoveries is Justin Bieber!  It all started when Bieber posted homemade videos of himself singing. He quickly garnered interest and created a buzz as the views jumped from hundreds to thousands. And it was only a matter of time before he was discovered by his now manager, Scooter Braun, and introduced to Usher.

 

So if Justin can, why can’t you?

 

ACE The Panel Interview.

10 Panel Interview Tips to Set You Up For Success.

Panel interviews are becoming increasingly common as organizations look for even more rigorous ways to screen job seekers and spot the best talent. Though they may be uncomfortable for candidates, panel interviews save time for organizations and enable a teamwork approach to hiring.

As the name suggests, a panel interview is where a candidate is interviewed by a senior management group, where each person will ask the candidate a question in turn. At some point in your career, you’ll most likely go through a panel interview.

To the uninitiated, these can feel like a cross-examination panel! The key is to remain calm and focused, develop an element of rapport with each interviewer and be well prepared for the questions you are likely to be asked. And so, here are some simple panel interview tips to make the process work to your advantage

1. Make an excellent first impression. 
The way you meet and greet your panel will impact the rest of the interview. When you enter the panel interview make swift eye contact, shake hands firmly and engage with each interviewer. It may be difficult later to build rapport with each panel member during the interview, so your introductions are key to creating the right first impression.

2. Be prepared for the panel’s questions.
When answering the questions, highlight your full range of abilities, skills and knowledge. Behavioural interview questions are commonly used in panel interviews. Develop relevant behavioural examples that demonstrate what you are able to bring to the position.

3. Do a background check on the panelists. 
It’s a good idea to be aware of who will be on the panel and what their function is in the organization. Look up LinkedIn or the company’s website to help you in your quest. Each panel member will approach the interview from his or her own viewpoint and you need to be aware of their perspectives, to respond to their questions better.

4. Be aware of verbal and non-verbal communication. 
Purposeful use of relaxed and pleasant body language helps convey your professionalism. Make initial eye contact with the person who asked the question and then include the other panel members in your answer. Focus on speaking to each individual and then, as you finish your answer, return your focus to the person who asked the interview question.

5. Address each member’s concerns effectively. 
A good strategy when answering panel interview questions is to cross reference a question with one that has already been asked by a different member. For example: “To elaborate on my answer to Elliott, my project management experience also includes …..” This way you are reinforcing the positives you have already discussed and are addressing the concerns of two panel members at once.

6. Impress with personal success stories. 
The panel may ask you for examples of demonstration of certain skills or experience. It’s a good idea to have three to four success stories up your sleeve to share on the day. Think about how your individual actions and approach led to positive results each time.

7. Close the panel interview successfully. 
Once the interview concludes, ask if there is any other information they would like to have. On your part, have at least one question ready for each member if they give you that opportunity. As you close, shake hands and thank each person individually, again using each person’s name.

8. Send a thank you letter. 
Make sure you take each person’s business card. Follow up on your interview with a personalized thank you to each panel member within 24 hours. Refer to each person’s area of interest and customize your comments to make them relevant to that person’s particular role.

As you can see, panel interviews are nothing to fret about. If you come armed with a positive attitude and plenty of success stories then you have nothing to dread. With a decent amount of preparation, you can rise and shine in every panel interview.

 

Crack the Applicant Tracking System Code

ATS

Get your resume in front of recruiters every time.

“You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust the sails to reach your destination.” The meaning is obvious in Jimmy Dean’s famous quote and hugely

relevant for job seekers in the marketplace today. There are some things you just
can’t change and, when you come across a challenge, you simply need to make a few
adjustments in order to reach your objectives.

With the sheer volume of resumes that recruiters receive each day, many of them
today must first make it past the Applicant Tracking System [ATS] before a live
person even looks at them. An ATS is a specialized software highly favoured by
employers, which literally filters through thousands of resumes before it submits
the top most recommended resumes to the employers.

ATS make recruiters’ lives easier, saving them hours and days’ worth of time by
performing the initial evaluation and by narrowing down the candidate pool from
100s of resumes to the top 10 candidates. This means that the more the employers
depend on the ATS, the more the chances that qualified candidates may get filtered
out. And your only hope for breaking through the ATS barrier is to understand
exactly how the system works and effectively format your resume to get through.

How Applicant Tracking Systems filter your resume

Regardless of your stellar qualifications, if the resume isn’t formatted in the right
way, which means if the right keywords and phrases are missing, the Applicant
Tracking System will simply misread your resume and rank it as a bad match with
the job opening.

The most important criteria used by the ATS to determine a match includes the
appearance of a keyword or phrase that can be measured by its presence in the
document, as well as the number of times the keyword or phrase appears.

Plus, the ATS contains different database fields for information on a resume, such as
an applicant’s name, contact details, work experience, job titles, education, employer names and periods of employment. These systems try to identify this information on a job seeker’s resume, so it’s essential that you format your resume to fit these criteria. And thus, the higher your resume ranking by the ATS, the more likely the application will end up being reviewed by a human reader.

How to format ATS-friendly Resumes:

  • Always submit your resume in an ATS approved format [.doc, .docx, or .txt.].
  • Remember, PDF, RTF and Jpeg formatted resumes may not be ATS-friendly.
  • List your contact information at the top of the document, with each piece of information labelled, “Phone”, “Email” and “LinkedIn.”
  • Simplify and streamline section headings “Qualifications”, “Summary,” “Work Experience,” and “Education.”
  • Avoid the temptation to use fancy dingbats, design templates, shading and borders and opt for simple bullets instead.
  • Ensure that the content is set in a simple single column format by minimizing the use of tables, multiple columns and text boxes.
  • Write your resume using safe, ATS-accepted fonts like Verdana or Arial.
  • Do not include images or graphics because the ATS can’t read them anyway and worse, they could clog the system.
  • As always, thoroughly check for spelling errors as the ATS may not recognize misspelled words.
  • If you are using abbreviations, like “PM”, make sure you also spell out the full version – “Project Management”.
  • Customize your resume for the individual job using keywords from the job position itself. If you are formatting a new resume, look up a few job postings from sites like indeed.ca and cut and paste relevant keywords and add them in your resume strategically.
  • Keep the section around your name clean. If you intend to add your credentials like PhD, CPA etc, make sure that you list them separately but not along with your name as that may confuse the ATS.

In summary, the ATS can be a very powerful ally if you understand how to make it work in your favour. If you can research jobs and optimize your resume wisely with the right keywords and in accepted layout and design formats, in no time you can be sitting face to face across the table with your potential employers.

Here’s wishing you all the luck in cracking the ATS code.

Top Ten Twitter Tips to enhance your job search

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Twitter – A tremendous tool for job success

According to the latest Jobvite survey over 55% of recruiters and 40% of job seekers have actively engaged in Twitter for job search. How about you? Twitter is one of the most popular, social networking websites with more than 20 million active users. These also include the very recruiters, hiring managers and the CEOs of the companies that you wish to work for. With its popularity continuing to rise, here are ten creative ways Twitter can help you with your job search strategy and online branding.

1. Build.
Getting started is easy. Set up a free profile on Twitter.com. Write a compelling, keyword rich introduction, with preferably the same professional image that’s on LinkedIn, for consistency. And, add a link to your resume, portfolio or blog on your Twitter profile.

2. Connect. 
Shortlist the top five to ten companies that you wish to work for. Follow them and also follow influencers and key people working for each target company. You can also try to search “their name + Twitter” in Google for effective results. As a next step, you can begin to share what they say through re-tweets.

3. Engage. 
Pay attention to what those influencers are saying and what they’re sharing. Brush up on tips about why people follow on Twitter to improve your odds of them following you back. Now get in conversations with the influencers, ask intelligent questions, follow up with links to your best work., offer help and re-tweet the good information you see.

4. Tweet. 
Post intelligent, industry-relevant Tweets to demonstrate your skills, abilities, knowledge, and separate yourself from the competition. Don’t just re-tweet what others are saying; create meaningful content that people care about. Be a thought leader. Similar to how Google indexes your Tweets in the same way indexes your LinkedIn profile and Blogs.

5. Share. 
Share content that is valuable. The more relevant contributions you make, the more others will want to continue to follow you. Show what you are passionate about to give recruiters an idea of your personality. Keep your conversations focused on your area of expertise, or job search topics. Participate by joining hashtag discussions related to your field.

6. Search. 
With recruiters and hiring managers across the globe posting jobs on Twitter, it is now serving as a mini job board. You can go to the Twitter search box and search for the roles you are interested in, find the relevant Tweets and then follow the links provided to learn more about the open positions.

7: Read. 
Hundreds of Career Experts regularly post advice and links to job search resources on Twitter. The quickest way to find these experts is to use the Twitter Search function and enter the hashtag #jobsearch, #career or #jobseeker. The amount of excellent ideas, tips, leads, news, informative articles, and best practices going by all day long is amazing.

8. Absorb. 
Directly connect with companies and people that you want to work for. Find companies and people using Tweepsearch and follow them. Read their Tweets, respond and share. Many companies have job-related Twitter handles and following those is a great way to keep tabs on job openings.

9. Comprehend. 
Knowledge is power. Regularly follow the news items, trends and industry chatter on Twitter. You can become much better versed in your field and with the new and valuable information. And when you eventually get an interview with one of the companies that you are following, you will be much more prepared in the interview conversations.

10: Excel. 
Take advantage of Twitter’s unique open platform. Twitter’s openness makes it a useful platform for showcasing your talents, personality and interests. Recruiters can get an idea of who you are, and if you would be a good fit at their company. It’s not just about the transparency of candidates but companies as well.

Twitter can be a tremendous tool to build social credibility during a job search and help you establish a strong online reputation. The reputation you build on Twitter, just like the any other site will greatly aid your chances of finding the right position. Go on, have fun and start making your mark online in less than 140 characters.