Chapter 1: Excerpt
from Jumpstart Your Online Job Search
DOUBT ABOUT IT. Looking for a job is stressful, ranking right up
there with moving or getting a divorce. The average person doesn't like job searching
and avoids it, even to the point of staying in a non-challenging or low-paying
You may already
know from personal experience, but job searching is one of the top stress-producers
in the "lifestyle stress quiz." I find this to be true for my own clients
as well. During the past 19 years, I've worked with more than 10,000 job seekers,
and regardless of their personalities or professions, they have much in common:
not savvy about self-marketing, and they don't feel comfortable selling their
skills on paper.
believe that networking is just one step above bugging their friends for a job.
have little perception of their marketable skills, and they don't know how to
position themselves in a competitive job market.
don't know what to do first.
concerns sound familiar, don't worry. This book will show you how to tackle and
overcome these challenges.
and recruiters are also learning to appreciate the benefits of online recruiting,
and consequently, its popularity is rapidly surpassing even the most optimistic
growth projections. For example,
in "Pounding the Virtual Pavement" (Business2.0 magazine, June
1999), Rebecca Vesely reported some interesting facts:
electronic recruiting market was
estimated at $4.5 billion in September 1998 and is growing at an annual rate of
100 percent, according to interbiznet.com's 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index.
1998, employers spent more than $105 million on Website job postings. By 2003,
96 percent of all companies will spend a projected $1.7 billion to recruit employees
via the Internet.
If you have any doubts about the validity of online job searching, you can rest assured:
Online recruiting is not a fad. It's firmly established, rapidly growing, and
beneficial to employers and job seekers alike. The
purpose of this book is to tell you how to tap into the electronic job market
without the cost, hassle, or stress associated with traditional job searching.
If you follow the guidelines I've developed, your job search can be a successful
and positive experience. By the time you finish this book, you'll know how to
market yourself online and you'll be ready to start an exciting new journey: your
online job search.
the Electronic Job Market
In the past, before online job searching became de rigueur, hiring companies
invested a great deal of time and money searching for candidates who had the right
stuff. Besides spending big bucks on newspaper ads, employers had to take weeks or even months to read, compare, analyze, categorize,
and file the huge volumes of incoming resumes that arrived by mail. Many companies
turned to recruiting firms to handle searches for executive talent, but this was
spendy as well and there was no guarantee of success.
The Birth of Electronic Resumes
the 1980s, a new technology what we know now as optical character recognition (OCR) was born.
This technology enabled computers to read printed characters and translate them
into text, and facilitated the development of electronic resume processing. When combined with artificial intelligence and database systems, OCR technology ushered
in exciting breakthroughs in resume processing. For employers, this meant:
more reading through piles of resumes
more comparing, sorting, and categorizing
more filing and storing
more lost resumes
technology also sped up the recruiting process, as employers could now scan resumes
into searchable databases instead of filing them into filing cabinets. With these
systems, just by typing a few specific skills (or keywords), an employer
could allow the OCR software and its applicant tracking system to do the reading,
sorting, and grading.
the underlined, italicized, and bolded text on paper resumes didn't always scan
cleanly, resulting in a high percentage of errors. The examples shown here illustrate
what can happen to text when processing errors occur:
for leasing and management of 14,000 sq. ft. retail building.
same text with scanning errors:
for leasing and ma~g~nt of 14,000 sq. ft. retail lmildi~
alleviate these kinds of processing errors, companies developed new rules and
started requesting resumes with no formatting enhancements (or minimal formatting).
Because they were designed for scanning purposes, these documents were called scannable resumes.
technology continued to evolve, and once it caught on, it facilitated paradigm
shifts in virtually all areas of human resources, recruiting, and job searching.
Transition: OCR Technology Catches On
the same time, online pioneers like James Gonyea (Worldwide Resume Talent Bank)
and Bruce Skillings (CareerMosaic) were busy developing electronic resume databases
for the Internet.
new wired job market (used mostly by techies) was more concerned with expediency
than visual appeal, so many resumes were simply cut and pasted from word processors
into e-mail windows, which had the effect of stripping out the formatting. (Most
e-mail programs allow only plain text - or in technical
terms, ASCII text.)
long the general public discovered the benefits of sending e-mail resumes, and
the ASCII resume evolved into an online job search staple.
The Present: The Web as the Driving Force
the mid 1990s, the visually oriented World Wide Web captured the public's attention
and drove the unprecedented development of Web-related technologies. The Web has
grown exponentially ever since, expanding at the rate of more than 1,000 new Web
sites a day. The electronic job market has grown right along with it and
like the Web itself, is not even close to reaching its peak.
Your Job Target
you can begin searching for a job, you have to research and define your job target.
At this point if you're like many of the people I've worked with
you're rolling your eyes and mumbling profanities. Unfortunately,
this step is not negotiable; you can't work around it, ignore it, or rush through
it. The truth is that most
job seekers don't like preparing for a job search any more than they like job
searching itself. Perhaps it's a defense mechanism to protect their egos if their
preparations fail; or maybe it's a side effect of our give-it-to-me-now society.
But regardless how you feel about it, you need to understand that the absence
of a defined job target will seriously hamper your online job search. Why
is the job target so important? Aside from traditional wisdom (that is, "you
can't hit the mark unless you aim for it"), the job target sets benchmarks
that help you make important decisions throughout your job search. Once you establish
your job target, you'll be able to answer questions like these:
kind of resume should I prepare?
keywords are most important?
accomplishments and special projects should I emphasize?
resume distribution method will help me achieve my job search goals?
short, job target development is a two-stage process: researching your job target
and creating your Master Keyword List (which I explain later). As you develop
and refine your job target tonight, I will explain why the right keywords are
so important in online job searching.
Is a Job Target?
job target is your objective or career goal. In most cases, it's a specific job
title (for example, marketing manager) or a particular job area (for example,
ensure success in your job search whether pounding the virtual pavement
or not you must build your resume around a specific (not generic) job target.
In addition to being specific, the job target must exemplify a real job, not
just a career fantasy.
the Right Keywords = Success
kinds of electronic resumes are transmitted through cyberspace, but no matter
what type you use, employers judge them all on the basis of keywords. Why? Because
employers can save a great deal of time and money when they use computer technology
as a recruiting and resume-processing tool. Indeed, for many companies, Web-based
recruiting costs are about one-third the cost of traditional recruiting methods.
understand keywords better, take a look at how online businesses use keywords
in marketing. They spend huge amounts of time and money looking for the right
combination of keywords that will get them top-ten placement in search engines
like Alta Vista or HotBot. The right keywords on a Web site like the location
of a fast-food restaurant determine traffic volume and number of customers.
This point is crucial because there is a direct correlation between traffic and
job searching, we're selling a different product to a different buyer, but the
strategy is the same: The right
keywords determine whether you are successful in getting your product or
your message to your targeted audience. Whether you're trying to attract customers
or employers, the right keywords equal success.
use keywords to search for candidates with specific qualities. Some of the most
common keyword categories include the following:
manufacturing supervisor: Electronics, team leader, production scheduling,
fabrication, surface mount, MRP, inventory management, ISO 9000, inventory, troubleshooting,
world class manufacturing, safety management, outsourcing, cross-training, production
manager, QM, bilingual, Spanish, Just In Time, JIT, process engineering, train
the trainer, quality control
executive: Fortune 500, strategic planning, cross-functional, international,
joint ventures, leadership, quality management, finance, coaching, capital budgets,
project management, MBA, Yale, sales, Internet, emerging technologies, startup,
e-commerce, Pacific Rim, team building, distribution channels, MIS
Keywords and Transferable Skills
keywords are tangible like those gleaned from job descriptions and course
titles while others are more subjective, like the personality traits one might expect in a given profession:
essence, soft keywords describe the core qualities that employers want their ideal
candidates to possess the characteristics needed to do a particular job
well. Soft skills are also searched for as keywords, and at least one resume tracking
system has the artificial intelligence needed to read resumes for meaning and to extract soft skills. Transferable skills like communication,
problem solving, leadership, computer literacy, and so on are also
critical because they can be used in virtually any type of position at any level.
you should avoid the temptation to simply add these words to your keyword summary.
To build credibility with employers, you must demonstrate your transferable skills
by example. You can't just claim to have well-developed problem-solving skills;
you need to provide examples that show how you solved problems.
Your Job Target
you ready to start researching your job target? Here's what you'll do next:
an online keyword search.
job postings that match your job target criteria
and select the best three
from the job postings, distill them,
and use them to develop your Master Keyword
you jump into your keyword search, you need to determine your search criteria.
Depending on your objectives, you can use any of the following keyword categories:
current job title (if you're looking for a similar job)
ideal job title (if you're trying to make a transition)
next logical job in your career path (if you're trying to move up the ladder)
skills required in order to do a specific job
Don't be concerned if your first search misses the mark.
You may need to
complete several searches to figure out which
combination of keywords yields the
a Keyword Search
you conduct your keyword search, don't be afraid to try different approaches.
For example, if you'd like to receive a large volume of postings, start
by using broad keyword terms like these:
chief executive officer
it's thrilling to get 172 job postings, most job seekers get better results
when they narrow the search by including specific keywords. For example, try using job titles combined with specific skills or expertise:
administration, UNIX administrator
your search yields too many off-target postings, you can add additional criteria
to the mix for example:
software, high-tech, international
accounting, manufacturing, apparel
administrator, Internet, Microsoft, user support
consumer products, startup, entrepreneurial
experimenting with keywords (and their order/sequence) until you find the combination
that produces the results you want.
your search results by following these guidelines:
your search by checking for jobs in your ideal geographic location, but for the
purposes of research, your main objective is to find jobs that match your ideal
job title, scope of responsibility, and required skills. If you can't find what
you want in the specific area where you live (or want to live), hold down the
Ctrl key and select multiple locations to query at once.
you don't get enough matches, try using more generic terms or a different set
of keywords. Once you get a good match, you can use other keywords from that posting
to try a slightly different search string.
attention to the results of your efforts. The process of conducting a keyword
search can be very illuminating, making you examine your skills against what the
job market requires (i.e., reality check).
you must be able to qualify for the jobs you want to pursue, so look closely at
the required skills and credentials. Wishful thinking doesn't count, but qualifying
credentials can include any combination of paid experience (old or new), volunteer
work, short-term projects, courses, classes, and seminars.
final objective is to select the three best opportunities. When
the program finishes searching, you'll have a complete list of information at
your fingertips: job titles, locations, job sources. By clicking on a job title,
you'll also be linked to the hiring company's Web site.