In case you haven’t heard, now is a great time to do a job search! We have seen record numbers of employees leaving their jobs, for a variety of reasons. As a result, lots of employers are struggling to find the talent they need to keep their businesses running. For someone interested in re-joining the workforce or in bettering themselves by making a strategic move from their current role, the timing for a career reboot likely couldn’t be better than the present.
Reasons for a career reboot
In short, it’s a job-seeker’s market right now. In times like this, employers will often entertain candidates who don’t have the “perfect” resume. Or, maybe they’re willing to offer an extra-generous pay rate or sign-on bonus for candidates who have the experience and skills to hit the ground running right away. When there are so many jobs out there and too few candidates to fill them, it’s a major opportunity for you to further your career.
Get ready for the career reboot!
Not surprisingly, the first step is to ensure you have your resume (and potentially some cover letters) ready to go. Here are some key resume tips:
Always customize your resume to each job
Doing this makes it really easy for resume reviewers (who are likely short-staffed and fatigued) to quickly see why they should call you for an interview. Remember, readers spend fewer than 10 seconds per resume on average. If they have to look hard to see your brilliance, they will likely just move onto the next resume.
Keep it concise and focused
You don’t have to limit the resume to one page. However, if you can do so without leaving out key information, then certainly keep it to one page. Either way, you’ll want to keep only the most relevant experience and qualifications. Also, we recommend going back no further than 10 years of work experience.
Keep all sections neat and orderly. Double-check to ensure fonts and formatting are the same throughout; those little details count! Use bullet points to keep everything easy to read. The more dense or difficult to read your resume is, the less chance you have of readers really looking at it.
Do I really need a cover letter?
Maybe. If the advertisement requests it, then yes. In that case, not submitting a cover letter means you did not follow directions. When it’s optional, there are a number of reasons you may wish to consider it.
It can help you to stand out
With a letter, you have a chance to use narrative to make the case for yourself. Maybe it’s explaining a gap of employment you took to care for an aging family member. Or maybe you need to highlight transferrable skills that make you perfect for this role. In other cases, perhaps you’re hoping for a chance to really show off your written communication skills. For recent grads, this is the perfect moment to show readers how passionate you are about this opportunity and how some of your experience (classes, jobs, internships, etc.) align with the needs of this role.
The only caveat here is that customizing is key. If we take a general cover letter that we use for each job application, readers can instantly pick that out. Without customization, a cover letter really can’t add much value to your application. It takes a little extra time, but it’s very much worth it.