Executive Job Search Strategy

Executive job search strategy

Remember when you were early in your career and you’d apply for a job then go home and wait?  You knew you had all the required skills and experience, so it was just a matter of time. A few days go by and the call comes in. The next day is the interview.  3 days later you have the job and you start next week. Well, those days are long since gone! Nowadays if you don’t have an executive job search strategy, you come close to setting yourself up to fail.

Truthfully, now that you’ve positioned your career higher up the salary chain, those quick job search turnaround days are non-existent. The path to senior and executive-level job placement is an extended process that requires patience and good strategy.

Pro Tip: Manage Expectations

The challenge is to manage expectations that meet the reality of your job search. On-average an executive-level job search requires 4 months to 1 year from the initial point of contact to an actual first day of employment.

The average time it takes to find a job depends on many factors such as:

  • Time of year
  • Geographical demand for your skills
  • Whether you encounter ageism
  • Experience and salary requirements
  • Professional network
  • Job search skills

Time of Year

Q4 is traditionally the slowest hiring period so don’t go rushing into October with high hopes of December placement. However, in contrast, the busiest season for hiring is the first quarter. Manage expectations and remain positive to keep pushing on through slower times of the year.

Geography

All across the country, there are region-specific industry dominants. Depending on your career path, your advancement could depend on your flexibility towards a potential move of house and home.  Consider your chosen industry and region when outlining your timeline for ideal job placement.

Experience & Salary

Aim for your goals, however, do a little research into the companies you are applying to. You want to ensure they have the capacity and need for your set of skills and salary requirements.  Are they in an upswing or decline?  Have their social media channels just blasted news of a hiring fair? These elements can either hinder or expedite the hiring process and in turn, your job search strategy.

Your Network is Gold.

We’ve mentioned this in previous posts and it’s worth rehashing. Your network is solid gold.  At the Senior and Executive career levels, your LinkedIn profile should already be well polished with several years of connections to draw from. When it comes to job searching, this is your ideal go-to for making quick work of landing a job with ease and accuracy. 

Your job search skills.

How’s your job search game?  Ultimately, your drive dictates how fast a job can be obtained.  The steps are defined, now it’s on you to get organized and progress with confidence.

A quick note on ageism.

If you’ve been in the workforce for a while, the chances are good that you’ve seen or experienced age discrimination at work—as two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 have at some point, according to AARP. From a recruiter’s perspective, there are concerns that older employees not only require increased salaries but will be with the company for a shorter period.   Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for the big picture. 

Ageism can slow your job search process by the assumption that retirement is near.

If you are in a category susceptible to ageism, be prepared to talk about how much longer you plan to work.  Make sure you’re up to speed on technology and current education, as applicable.

Additionally, find the right company by considering what work environment is ideal for your own daily routine. Some company cultures trend younger – startups, for instance- and you may not want to be significantly older than everyone else in the room.  Or that could be exactly what you seek. Either way, due diligence is highly beneficial.

Resume specifics: To show yourself in the best light, hire a professional resume writer to modernize and retool your resume. Seriously, at this stage, a professional is a value-added investment to career advancement.

Extensive work history can begin to look muddled on a resume, as can the skills section after a few decades of career growth. Allowing a professional to optimize your resume, and LinkedIn for that matter will give you the leg up with ATS and recruiter processes.

Here is a link to our schedule at Power Writers USA so you can see availability and book a free 15-min consult. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

8 Tips to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

8 tips to beat applicant tracking systems

From the first known resume in 1482 by Leonardo DaVinci through the 1500s in England into the 20th Century and current Digital Age. Resume formats have changed dramatically over the years. Modern-day resumes must now contain a very specific format in order to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

If you’re on the search for a new job and not getting the desired traction, your resume may not be ideal for ATS. In which case, have a read below for 8 tips to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

#1 – Use ATS Resume Keywords Correctly.

The design of Applicant Tracking Software is to scan for keywords that relate to the job and industry. The proper usage of keywords is what sets your resume apart from others by gaining ATS high ranking. Like a high score in PacMan, ATS high ranking means your resume levels up.

Look at the job description of your ideal position. If you’re applying for a job within a specific industry, this is where you can identify the major keywords that relate to that industry or the position you seek. 

Include these keywords in a core competencies or skills section.

But be careful, one thing that’s just as bad as not having the correct keywords is over-using them. The ATS will reject an overstuffed resume as quickly as it would a resume with insufficient keywords.

#2 – Format Your Resume Correctly.

Stick to a traditional resume format at all times.

Text boxes, footers, headers, and graphics read as clutter during the scan which can result in your resume being rejected. Choose a basic format like reverse-chronological, functional or hybrid, to ensure the resume can be scanned by ATS and easy for a recruiter to read.

#3 – Send The Correct File Type

 Applicant tracking systems need to be able to scan and read your resume. The safest way to ensure that your resume will be read is to submit it in a Microsoft Word Doc file. 

Even though many of the systems are now advanced enough to read a PDF, you should still send a Doc file to be on the safe side. A Doc file is the preferred file type for both ATS and many recruiters.

You should also always check the job description to see if the employer wants a certain file type. Often times, employers will specify a certain file type, so it’s recommended to have both versions available.

#4 – Label Sections

If your layout is not done properly, the ATS may have trouble identifying where you worked, what you did, and how long you were there. We want to ensure the ATS can read the entire resume correctly. To do this, label your resume sections properly. Use subheadings such as work experience, education, and interests, etc.

Also, verify that the location, position, and length of employment information you provide is clear and consistent throughout your resume.

use a professional font

#5 – Use A Professional Font.

We can’t stress this enough, stick to a professional font. When your resume passes through ATS, the next step is recruiter review. And professional recruiters generally do not favor comic sans.

The best fonts to use for your resume are:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica

#6 – Make Spelling And Grammar Top-Level Priority.

Spelling errors can, and will, cause a resume to be automatically rejected. Additionally, the majority of recruiters will also dismiss a resume even if it contains only a single error.

Consider this, according to CareerBuilder, 58% of resumes contain spelling and grammatical errors. Read that again, over half of the resumes out there are a hot-mess in the actual wording department.  Join 40% of applicants that get spelling and grammar correct.

Pro-Tip: Grammerly is a wonderful tool!

#7 – Resume File Name

Yes, what you name the file matters. Even though it might get through ATS, recruiters will often ignore unprofessional resume names. Use your first and last name, or a combination of the two.

You should also add either the word “resume” or the position you seek.

Examples:

JohnS.Resume.doc

JohnSmith.Resume.doc

John.SalesManager.doc

This is also important because if a recruiter needs to go back and find you in the system, they can easily do so by searching your name in the database. This also holds true if someone is referring you. Your resume needs to be easily found should the recruiter want to pull up your file. 

#8 – Make Sure You Are Qualified For The Job.

To sum it all up, make sure you meet the qualifications of the job posting. Blindly sending out tons of resumes is a waste of your time.

It’s better to take your time and go through each job description to verify that you’re qualified. The ATS are designed to see if the candidate is a good match for the job and verify that he or she has the qualifications needed.

However, don’t be discouraged from applying for jobs where you meet most of the qualifications. If a position asks for 2 years of experience and you only have one, go for it anyway!

Patience and persistence are the names of the game now. It may take longer than you anticipated, or you could find the ideal fit quite quickly. Stay with it to step up to your next opportunity!

If all this overwhelms you…

Remember, you can always hire a professional. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWU has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Why Resumes Must Be ATS Compatible

why resumes must be ats friendly

To have the best results on your job search, we took a look into why resumes must be ATS compatible. Applicant Tracking Systems, you’ve heard of them, probably even had a resume (or many) scanned by them.

While the task of job searching has changed dramatically over the years, fortune now favors the strategized resume and digital communication channels.

OLD WAYS: A company posts an ad and receives 100 applicants. 

HR then spends an entire day sorting through all these resumes to select a handful of potential interviewees.

NEW WAYS: A company posts an ad and receives 100 applicants. 

Files are auto-loaded into ATS software. Then scanned and sorted according to keywords, experience, and education. Depending on the company, resumes deemed fit for interview are then forwarded either directly to HR Departments or Corporate Recruiters.

All This Before The Document Is Ever Seen By Human Eyes.

The system itself operates in a hierarchy. High ranks are awarded to resumes that check the most automated boxes. This means that no matter how qualified you are if your resume is not ATS friendly, it is very likely you will never be invited to discuss your qualifications in an interview.

How to play the game.

First off, the overall use of Applicant Tracking Systems has increased dramatically in the last few years. According to Zipjobs, 95% of large companies use ATS for all hiring purposes. And if you’re applying within a mid-sized company, you’re looking at a 50/50 chance that your resume will make an ATS connection.

large and mid size companies use applicant tracking systems

Corporate Recruiters.

Recruiters use applicant tracking systems as a tool to stay organized and speed up their placements. In fact, once again referring to ZipJob, some stats show up to 75% of recruiters are using applicant tracking software. Of that percentage, 94% believe the software improves their hiring efficiencies.

All Credentials Must Be In a Machine-Readable Format.

A few resume focus points are listed below:

  • Keyword Usage
  • Basic Formats
  • File Type
  • Organized Sections
  • Professional Font
  • Spelling and Grammer
  • Correct File Name

If you’re looking for more specific ATS resume tips, check out our LinkedIn article on 8 Tips To Beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

Want the big picture?

Take a look at these stats! This graphic really shows what your resume is up against when you apply for a job.

If all this overwhelms you…

Remember, you can always hire a professional. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWU has what you need. Feel free to connect if you have any questions.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

How Applicant Tracking Systems Will Affect Your Job Search

Applicant Tracking System

The use of Applicant Tracking Systems is becoming more common in today’s hiring arena but what exactly are Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)?  Why are they used?  Who uses them?  And how do they affect your job search?

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS for short, are software programs that are designed to process and weed out large amounts of incoming resumes and job applications.  A hiring manager can set parameters and keywords that they think qualified applicants will include in their resumes.  If your resume doesn’t include the right content and keywords your resume will not be considered.

Why are Applicant Tracking Systems Used?

The use of ATS greatly limits the number of qualified applicants a hiring manager needs to consider.  ATS reduces the burden of having to read endless amounts of resumes to find the veritable needle in the haystack.  Applicant Tracking Systems are also used to track where candidates are finding job postings.

Who Uses Applicant Tracking Systems?

You might think that Applicant Tracking Systems are only used by large corporations, however this is not the case.  More and more, small and mid-sized companies are using ATS to improve the efficiency of their hiring practices.

How Will Applicant Tracking Systems Affect Your Job Search?

Simply put, if you don’t have the right keywords, phrasing, or content in your resume, your resume will not pass and will not see the likes of the hiring manager.  There are many things you can do to get your resume past ATS for consideration including researching job postings and incorporating specific keywords in a job posting.  We generally don’t recommend having more than one version of your resume floating around during a job search so optimize your cover letter to make it job or position specific, again, using keywords that you think a hiring manager will be looking for.

Summary

While it may seem daunting to craft a cover letter and resume that will get past ATS screening on your own, taking your time and putting in the preparation can make the difference.  Working with a professional resume writer can also greatly increase your chances.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWUSA is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!