Iowa is about to send a new crop of job-hunting high school and college graduates into the marketplace, and some will find success much faster than others. Susan McBroom, a vocational rehabilitation counselor in Urbandale, says the quality of your resume will quickly determine your odds of going from a job-seeker to someone’s newest employee.
McBroom discusses the most common resume error. “People are not matching the resume to the job that they’re applying for,” McBroom says. “It’s really important that they match their skill sets to the position they’re applying to. If they don’t know their skill set, there’s a resource called O’Net Online that they can find each job broken down to the specific skill set.”
The address for that website is: www.onetonline.org. While a one-page resume was once the rule, McBroom says a two-page resume is now standard, but she says don’t go beyond two pages.
“It takes a recruiter about 15 seconds to look through a resume,” McBroom says. “What I tell new grads is to be sure that if you don’t have a long work history, put things in there that would be internships, big projects, things like that.”
About 90-percent of employers now hire electronically, so having an e-resume that can be attached to an email cover letter is a must. Resumes need to be kept simple, using plain lettering and nothing fancy. Despite the economic downturn of the past few years, McBroom is optimistic about the job market, adding, it’s excellent if you’re looking for positions in the medical field.
“Anything in nursing, certified medical assistant, medication aid, psych aid, and the last two don’t require a four-year degree,” McBroom says. “The job market is getting better. The unemployment rate for ages 19 to 24 is about 12% but that does include new graduates so, it’s really important to have a perfect resume out there.”
Iowa’s jobless rate is about 5%, well below the national jobless rate of about seven-and-a-half percent. Being aggressive is key. Many ads say “no calls” but she says to call anyway, a week after you send your resume, just to see if they got it or have any questions.
While social media sites are popular, McBroom doesn’t recommend being on one unless it’s private and visible by only a limited number of people. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, she says: “Be careful what you put out there. Employers do research social media. If possible, set your Facebook to private. Keep in mind, others may access information from it.”