Bias in the Job Search – Avoiding Triggers in Your Resume

Last week, we had an awesome webinar on the topic of bias in the job search, focusing on things that you as a jobseeker can do in order to avoid falling victim to the biases (conscious and unconscious) of a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR person.  Thank you everyone for the great feedback – we are so glad that you enjoyed it.  For those of you who weren’t able to attend, the recording is available in our webinar archive – but, here are some quick tips to help you fortify your resume so that you can get to more interviews!

  1. – Cut down on the amount of personal information you’re giving away

I know, I know – your resume is your marketing piece.  It’s where you put your best foot forward and give your potential employer the opportunity to get to know the *real* you, right?  Well, sort of.  Your resume is absolutely your strongest marketing piece for your job search – however, it is also rife with opportunities to count you out of a job based on triggers.  Avoid putting too much personal information in the resume.  Certain things are just not necessary in order to have a strong document, and they can hurt you more than they help you.  Some things to avoid including are:  your address, graduation dates, photos, and specific years of experience (if you have more than 10-15 years, that is).  You want an employer to look at your whole document, and not get hung up on one little thing – so the best thing to do is simply eliminate those things when and where you can.

  1. – Always have a clear, specific headline

Back in the old days (meaning, 10 years ago or so), we used to use an objective statement for every resume.  This was an easy way to customize your resume for specific employers, and a clear way to communicate what your professional goal was.  Unfortunately, including an objective statement on your resume today is a sure fire way to get passed over, because it immediately ages you (even if you’re a 20-something or 30-something) and makes you seem out of touch.  Instead, we opt for Professional Summaries that give the reader an idea of who we are and what we are about, rather than simply what we want.

The problem, though, is that sometimes we become a bit too lofty with our professional summaries, and not everyone has the time to read them.  One of the best things that you can do on your resume is create a “headline” (think, LinkedIn) immediately below your name (you know, where that address used to be), so that the reader knows who you are and what you do right off the bat.  Remember that the average recruiter spends less than 20 seconds reading through a resume before making a decision on whether or not to recommend you for next steps – it is your job to connect the dots and make it as easy as possible for them to see who you are and what you offer, so that they feel comfortable going forward with you as a candidate.

  1. – Master the AI aspect

Artificial intelligence, including those awful applicant tracking systems (aka, the resume robots) are here to stay.  Instead of railing against them and bemoaning their use, learn to make them work for you.  With regard to your resume, ATS are trained to do one thing:  use your skills and keywords to match the best candidate with the requisition from the company.  In order to be chosen as the best candidate, you need to speak the ATS’ language.  Use a wordcloud generator, or a tool like Jobscan.co to figure out how the ATS is reading your resume, and adjust it so that you are highlighting the same keywords, skills, and attributes that the computer is designed to look for.  This will help you get an interview, and from there, you can land the job.

Bonus:  Understanding the technology of today’s job search demonstrates awareness and ability to learn new things, which is always a plus for mature jobseekers, or those who have been out of the market for a while.

We hope that these tips will help you as you begin crafting your bias-proof resume.  As always, if you would like some one on one advice from one of our career consultants in the Office of Alumni Career Management, we are more than happy to assist you, either in person or virtually.

Have a great day, and Go Bucks!

Three Tips for Rocking an Out of State Job Search

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to spread your wings and relocate to another state for your next career move.  If so, you’re not alone.  A recent survey from MSN shows that 1 in 4 jobseekers are willing and ready to relocate in order to facilitate a career change.  With those statistics, you might think that employers are open to candidates from varying locales, but ask any number of job seekers who have been in the hunt for a job outside of their current area, and you will likely find that securing a position in another state is a bit more challenging than you’d expect.  Oftentimes employers do not offer relocation packages, and they may look poorly on candidates from different areas because of the time and effort that it would take to have them move to the job location.  Sometimes employers just don’t want the bother.

So, what can you do about it?  Below are three tips to help you move your interstate job search forward.

  1. – Remove location markers from your resume

Most recruiters agree that when they see a resume with an out of state address, it comes off as something of a red flag.  They anticipate that employers will give pushback on those candidates, and therefore they are moved to the bottom of the “priority list”.  One of the easiest things that you can do to make yourself more competitive in the out-of-state job market is to remove your address from the document altogether.

Also, keep in mind that an address is no longer an important element of the resume – in fact, it is pretty erroneous information at this point.  You would be better served to use the area traditionally reserved for your address to instead showcase a link to your Linkedin profile or a headline introducing yourself to the employer.

You can also take it a bit farther and remove the locations of previous jobs that you have held as well (since this is also not pertinent information) and use the Google voice app to create a local phone number.  These two strategies are less common, but still considered acceptable according to most recruiters.

  1. – Talk about it and BE HONEST

Once you’ve been called for an interview, it is best to address the topic upfront.  When talking with a potential employer, you should use affirmative language and reference a time-frame for your move.  For example, you might ask for a Skype or phone interview for the first round.  At that point, you would let the company know that you are planning to relocate by saying something along the lines of, “Yes, I currently live in Ohio – however, I anticipate moving to Boston within the next 8 weeks.”  You should also include that you are prepared to move at your own cost, as many companies rule out candidates for whom they feel they will have to make a substantial investment in up front (such as a relocation package).

Also take care not to lie or lead an employer on.  I’ve often seen candidates use a local address on an application in order to avoid getting red flagged for being a non-local applicant.  This is fine – however, be sure that you explain clearly to an employer that this is the address you anticipate staying at once you arrive in the area, and not your current address.  Telling an employer you currently reside in LA with a current employer in Colorado is a sure fire way to get those red flags raised again, and, what’s worse, now you look like a liar to the hiring manager.  Don’t do it – this is never a good idea.

  1. – NETWORK!

Aside from the above two tips, you should treat your out of state job search largely the way that you would a local search – with the exception of needing to cast a much wider net.  Network with as many people as you can from your target area – Linkedin is a great tool for this.  You should be making connections with people in your industry and preferred area – be diligent about this, and make sure any meetings/informational interviews/etc. are as fruitful and meaningful as possible.

You should also be prepared to make a few trips to your target area as well.  Doing this will allow you to meet with your connections in real time, as well as become familiar with the area itself.  Depending on your familial situation, you may also need to research housing, schools, etc.  All of this will be much easier to do in person.

Monster Releases Top 10 Best Companies for Veterans List

November is the month for veterans.  Veterans’ Day is this month, and in recognition of that, and of the wonderful people who have chosen to serve our country, we choose to focus on some of the specific needs and interests of those who are currently or formerly serving in the armed forces.

For those who have left the service and are looking to begin a career in the civilian world, there’s a new article on Monster.com that may be of interest to you.  Monster has released its list of the “Top 10 Best Companies for Veterans” for 2017. Take a sneak peek at which companies made the list below, or get the scoop on why each company was chosen by visiting the full article here.

Mantech International – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  46%

Intelligent Waves – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  47%

US Customs and Border Protection – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  29%

Lockheed Martin – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  23%

Booz Allen Hamilton – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  30%

Schneider International – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  28%

USAA – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  15%

BAE Systems – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  16.5%

Union Pacific Railroad – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  17.5%

Boeing – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  15%

What is perhaps most interesting about this list is that it is comprised by a high number of federal contractors, as well as many transportation and logistics companies.  This means that there is a high chance of being able to easily convert many of the skills veterans were trained on in their time in the service to practical application in the civilian workplace.

Remember that Alumni Career Management offers one on one support for all alumni of Ohio State, and welcomes veterans who are in search of advice while planning a career transition.  Additional resources can be found on our veterans’ resource page located here.