Here's a secret -- job placement isn't a matter of inclusion, but one of elimination.
In today's economy, recruiters are deluged with resumes and have to funnel them through pre-set filters designed to separate the competition. On average, a recruiter spends only 30 seconds reviewing each application, meaning if you aren't marketing your skills correctly, not only are you not getting hired, most times your application won't even be seen.
Joe Weinlick is vice president of marketing for Beyond.com, a career network that allows people to search thousands of jobs and manage their careers.
"Picture the hundreds of people applying for a job seated in the same auditorium," said Weinlick. "Now picture that you're one of the few standing up. Who do you think will get noticed first?"
Here are five recommendations from Beyond.com to improve your job search:
Play the part: A recruiter works with the same job description that is posted online, and if you're not using the same language, a communications gap can develop. Treat the job description like your compass, and use it to guide each answer by tailoring your wording to match.
Get noticed: It's difficult to stand out when others have similar qualifications. Think about your unique qualities, and lead with them. Don't wait until the end; the recruiter might never get there.
Get feedback: Every time you apply for a job, strive for the perfect application. Clean up grammatical errors, cut unnecessary words, and focus on details. Send your materials to colleagues for advice, and take advantage of other resources, like a free resume critique from Beyond.com that can catch any errors.
Follow protocol: Submit only what the job posting requests. This will show that you can follow directions. Don't lie about experience; rather relate the experiences you have, and show how they apply. The candidates who follow the rules and look the best throughout the process have an advantage.
Nail the interview: At this point, the hardest part is over, but you're still the underdog. Be scrappy. Focus on remaining present during the interview. Research the company and your profession. Browse news outlets, like News and Advice on Beyond.com, to stay current on your profession.