Archive for June, 2014

Study Finds Recruiters Scan Resumes in 6 Seconds. Here’s What They Look For.

recruiters scan resumeEver wish you could read recruiters’ minds to know exactly what they look for (and at) on your resume? Now you may have a little insight! A study by The Ladders career service tracked recruiters’ eye movements across resumes. The study noted which items captured recruiters’ attentions, how long they spent viewing each item, and what content was overlooked.

These are some findings:

Recruiters spent only 6 seconds reviewing each resume.

Recruiters spent almost 80% of their time on the following data points.

  • Name
  • Current title / company
  • Previous title / company
  • Previous position start and end dates
  • Current position start and end dates
  • Education

Beyond these data points, recruiters scanned for keywords to match the open position.

What does that mean for job seekers who want to make the best impression possible in 6 seconds?

  1. Pair down clutter. Have a strong, clean layout with plenty of white space.
  2. Highlight the information above – the items recruiters spend 80% of their time looking at (according to this survey).
  3. By the same token, if there’s something you consider crucial to your story that isn’t on the list of items recruiters focus on – place it clearly, prominently, concisely, and uncluttered on your resume so it begs to be seen.
  4. Finally – ask for help with your resume from someone who is good at resumes.

This is only one study and many recruiters spend more than 6 seconds examining your credentials. However, the findings are still great insight. They help you give yourself the best possible advantage in a worst case scenario.

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Don’t take just “any” job.

There’s a fine line between being too picky or over-thinking things, and settling.  And according to economists from Duke University and the University of North Carolina, “settling” for the first job that comes your way out of college can set you up for less earnings down the road.

The economists based their findings off government data following Americans between ages 14 and 22 in 1979. They found most people were “overqualified” for their first jobs.

The impact? Wages that are 2.6 to 4.2 percent lower, over the next 10 years, than they would have been had these candidates given themselves a little more credit and taken a job more equal to their qualifications.

The sampling was of the general population, not specifically engineering, IT, accounting, or finance professionals. So the numbers may be different for STEM professionals, but the conclusion is likely the same.

The lesson here isn’t to hold out forever for the “perfect” job. It’s to not underestimate yourself, or perhaps more importantly, to look for a job that stretches you, challenges you, and makes you grow. And that you’ll be rewarded for those efforts for years to come.

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How (and Why) to Determine Cultural Fit

company culture

According to recent polls, only around 30% of workers are actually engaged on the job. The rest are either not engaged or (yikes!) actively disengaged.  (Check out this employee engagement infographic.)  Why is this? Your technical skills certainly make you marketable, but if you don’t enjoy the culture of a company, you too may find yourself looking elsewhere.

For this reason, employers are looking harder at candidates to gain not only an understanding of their skills, but also of their personalities and goals.

You should be thinking of these things, too.  Do your research before the interview, and you’ll be much happier on the job. Trust us; it really makes a difference.

For example.

  • What are the current employees like?   Search on LinkedIn for a company, and browse its employees to get an idea of their career backgrounds.  Use social networks like StackOverFlow, GitHub, and other platforms to connect with employees and listen to them talk about their jobs.  Not only are these are the people you’ll be working with – they also speak volumes about the company you’ll be working for.
  • Can you grow?  How and where do you want to grow? Do you want to pick up certain new skills on the job? Which ones? Does this company have the budget and training in place to help you achieve these goals on the job?
  • Do your business values align?  Take a look at the company’s business model and recent earnings reports to see how its values align with yours – and what tomorrow might look like.

Take a little time to find out the answers to these questions before your interview. You’ll be more knowledgeable during the interview, more likely to impress, and more prepared to dig deeper with the questions you’ll ask the hiring manager.

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New White House Hosts Science Fair to Promote STEM

Image credit Stephen Crowley, The New York Times

Image credit Stephen Crowley, The New York Times

The White House, as part of their initiative to promote STEM, hosted a science fair last week honoring talented youth and achievers in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As part of the event, the president announced a $35 million Education Department competition to aid his goal of training 100,000 teachers. He also announced a “major expansion of STEM AmeriCorps,” in order to improve STEM education for 18,000 low-income students.

The president also spoke of mentoring programs springing up across the country in which students and employees at over 200 companies including Cisco, Chevron, and others collaborate to share knowledge and bridge the skills gap.

“Superstar biologists and engineers and rocket scientists and robot-builders, they don’t always get the attention that they deserve,” said Obama, “but they’re what’s going to transform our society.”

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