It seems like everyone’s talking about jobs and the economy these days.
If you’re looking for a job, or looking to change career, all this talk of recession and struggle can make you feel like giving up before you even start!
But what are job prospects really like in the U.S. just now? Is it all doom and gloom? And how can you use your resume to attract attention in this competitive job market?
Is It All Bad News?
Not at all! In fact, the American economy is starting to show strong signs of moving in the right direction. It’s slow going of course, but there is growth.
According to the data, 165,000 jobs were added to the job market in April 2013, representing the best growth yet in a year that has seen a steady increase in job numbers month on month.
- Meantime, unemployment has hit a four-year low, which is a very good sign for the U.S. economy.
- Growing numbers of jobs and falling unemployment? That’s exactly what analysts – and job seekers – want to hear.
- Progress is slow and there is a long way to go, but that the signs of recovery are there.
Job Seekers Need To Grab Attention
- There’s no denying that the economy, though improving, is not like it was before the recession.
- Things are still tight, and high numbers of applicants per job mean that employers can afford to be choosy.
- That’s why your resume is your best tool for getting a job in the current market. Your resume is a brief guide to you, an Excellent Employee 101 if you will. Use it to highlight all the reasons you are the right person for the job you are applying for.
- Done right, your resume is an at a glance list of reasons to hire you.
Here are some to-dos and don’ts to make your resume work for you:
- Do be stylish – make sure your resume is cleanly laid out and easy to read. Ditch the fancy fonts and tables for a simple, clear, well-spaced layout with a crisp font;
- Do be targeted – one size fits all resumes won’t do you any favors. Target your resume to the job you’re applying for, highlighting skills and experience that are especially relevant;
- Do be results oriented – don’t tell, show. Instead of saying you worked in a team, explain your role in the team and what you achieved for the team;
- Do be succinct – two pages is enough for a resume. Any more risks losing your prospective employer’s attention;
- Don’t be too personal – leave out your marital status, date of birth, and that snazzy headshot. Employers are interested in what you can actually do;
- Don’t be too fluffy – stuffing your resume with business catch phrases like “results oriented” and “looking for a challenge” sound hackneyed. Use specific words and phrases to describe your personal achievements and aims;
- Don’t be disorganized – keep your layout logical and chronological, with clear headings;
- Don’t be mysterious – if you have gaps in your resume, explain them. Whether you were unemployed, traveling the world writing a novel, or working at a lower level job, employers want to know the reasons for any breaks.
There’s never been a more important time to really focus on your resume and make sure it does what you want it to do.
Spend some time polishing it – you’ll be much more likely to make a good first impression.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, positive thinking, Steve Wynn, and business.