Keep Yourself Marketable

 

Many of us have gone through an unemployment slump. Whether we were laid off or in hopes of a new opportunity, many people have found themselves without a job. During this time, it is important to maintain and continue to grow yours skills. Often times, employers will look past your period of unemployment and appreciate your continued efforts to grow as a worker. Here are some things you can do to boost your resume and hireability while looking for a new job.

1. Temporary/Contract Jobs
Temp jobs or contract jobs are great way to keep your skills sharp and continue to build your portfolio. Even though the job will only last for a short time, you can still let your abilities shine through your work. Showing that you can do great work for a job that has an expiration date is an indicator to employers that you have strong work ethic and integrity.

2. Volunteer
In our socially and environmentally aware society, volunteer work can go a long way when applying for jobs. It allows employers to catch a glimpse of your character and shows that money isn’t number one.

3. Seminars/Webinars
There are many great resources out there for people of all industries and skills. Attending a seminar on your industry or participating in a webinar shows employers that you want to grow as an employee. Having employees who are willing to learn and know that there is always room for improvement are invaluable.

4. Take Classes
It’s time to go back and hit the books! A great way to further your career and impress employers is to take classes while you’re unemployed. Many community colleges offer individual classes as well as online classes. It never hurts to learn more about your field or learn a new industry. You may find you will qualify for a variety of positions by taking classes that focus on different aspects of your industry.

5. Join Professional Organizations
Professional organizations not only provide a plethora of resources in speakers and industry materials, but also in networking. By attending events put on by these organizations, you can widen your network with people within your industry as well as add connections from other industries. By making these connections, your chances of getting a job increase through recommendations and a potential inside track to companies for which you are applying.

Unemployment doesn’t mean you spend your days on job sites in your PJs. It is essential to continue developing your skills and stay connected with those in your industry. If you need help in your job search, visit our homepage  to set up an appointment with one of our recruiters. We are here to help!

Rescue Your Resume from the Black Hole

“I’ve sent my resume to a dozen companies weeks ago and I haven’t heard from one.”

If you’ve been in the job market or know anyone in the job market, you’ve heard this statement. Your resume has been sucked into the infamous HR “Black Hole”. Today we’ll explore how the black hole is created, and some ways you can rescue your resume from the abyss and get it in front of the hiring manager.

Big companies can get hundreds of resumes for a position. If the company has several open positions at one time, multiply that number. Simple math will tell you that the handful of recruiters in a typical HR department simply can’t process thousands of resumes each month. That’s why most companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS), which automatically parses incoming resumes and converts them into database records.

When searching for candidates, corporate recruiters will plug in keywords related to the particular job opening, and resumes containing those keywords will turn up in the search. If your resume turns up toward the top of the list, it has a chance of being viewed.

How can you increase your chances of turning up in that search, or perhaps bypass the black hole completely?

Keywords are key 
The ATS will return results that contain the keywords the HR person has entered. Be sure your resume contains plenty of words that relate to the particular job you’re seeking. Think like an HR person – if you were searching for candidates for this job, what terms would you use? Also, try to include variants of those keywords. For example, if you are applying for a copywriter job, include copywriter, copywriting, writer and writing.

One caveat – be sure the words you use make sense in the context of your resume. If you include a block of text at the top that reads “analyst analyst analyst analyst analyst”, you may show up at the top of the results for an analyst search, but it’s going to look ridiculous to the HR person when they actually open your resume.

Format is important
Always submit your resume in Word, plain text (.txt) or rich text (.rtf) format. DON’T submit a PDF. A PDF is basically a snapshot of your text document. It’s visible to the human eye, but an ATS, which is designed to parse text, won’t recognize any information on a PDF document. It will most likely attach your resume to a blank database record, which doesn’t do you any good.

Also, keep your resume formatting simple. An ATS will look for certain patterns when parsing your resume. It will assume that the first block of text is your contact information, and then it will look for common headings like “education”, “experience”, and “skills.” If you have a complicated format with graphics or pull quotes, there’s a good chance your information will either go into the wrong database fields or not be imported at all. The best format for an ATS is a simple, straightforward, chronological resume.

So remember, don’t let your resume get trapped in the black hole! Remember you are writing for a computer AND Human Resources.

Breaking In to the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is seeing a major boom in the United States, and if you’re looking for a new career, you shouldn’t overlook the possibility of breaking into it! With the boom come some very large paychecks, as well as great experience in a career that you can grow in.

There are a lot of jobs out there, and many of them are entry level or can be entered from another field! Here are a few to consider:

Field Workers
If you like getting out and working with your hands, this is the way to go for you. No college degree is required, though it helps to be certified in CPR and industry-related skills such as driving an ATV, confined space entry, drilling, team management, and other abilities. An understanding of heavy equipment is also helpful, so if you’ve worked in construction or other labor-intensive jobs, this might be a great fit for you.

Operators
These jobs involve managing the various equipment involved in oil and gas acquisition. They form the backbone of oil drilling and there are more of these jobs than any other in the industry! As such there are a wide variety of opportunities which you can acquire with or without a college degree (if you’re still picking your major, go with chemical or mechanical engineering). This position may fit someone who’s worked with high-tech machinery before, such as operators from manufacturing fields.

Admin/Clerical
Every business needs administrative staff to help keep things running, and oil is no exception! If you have administrative or clerical experience from another field, consider making a move into this industry for a pay bump. If you’d like to hop above some of your competitor candidates, consider getting certified in skills related to administrator or the petroleum industry specifically.

While many of these jobs don’t require a post-secondary education, it never hurts! If you’re not sure about these careers or want career coaching to evaluate your ability to get into the industry, please come visit us in Corpus Christi, Texas!

 

Image © Ed Schipul

 

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