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Tips ready for eager job seekers, new book helps with resumes

As the semester goes on students might be thinking more about what they are going to do when they graduate. Today, looking for jobs can be a long and involved process, according to Brenda Greene, author of the book “Get the Interview Every Time: Fortune 500 Hiring Professionals’ Tips for Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters.”

“The job market has changed dramatically in the last few years,” Greene said. “Today, job openings are on the internet and resumes are sent electronically which differs from the old technique of hand-delivering resumes to companies.”

Brenda Greene surveyed 50 Fortune 500 hiring professionals from various companies such as Heinz, Continental Airline, Fannie Mae, Chubb, Bank of New York and Pepsi to find out how the new technology has impacted the hiring landscape. From the surveys, Greene learned some interesting tips for finding a position in today’s job market.

The first and foremost action a student should take is to view a company’s web site before sending a resume, according to Greene. Looking over the web site can determine the normal procedure for submitting resumes, whether it is by snail mail, e-mail, fax or electronically.

“While looking over the web site, applicants should pay attention and familiarize themselves with the goals and culture of the company,” Greene said. “Taking this time will be well worth the effort in the end.”

The next thing to keep in mind is to tweak each resume submitted to make sure that the resume contains a number of keywords that match your skills to the open position.

“These keywords can be found in the job description” Greene said. “Pull keywords like skills that the company is looking for and be sure to include them in your resume.” Fortune 500 companies said again and again that job applicants are asked to interview when their skills are the closest match to the open position.

The skills listed on the resume should be skills that the applicant does have. “In interviews, hiring professionals will be able to tell if the applicant does have skills listed on the resume,” Greene said.

“Always include a cover letter whether it is required or not,” Greene said. The cover letter should tell the prospective employer what position you’re applying for, how you heard about the job and what skills you have that make you stand out above the rest or the applicants. Greene said that Continental Airlines receives 500 resumes a day, so competition is stiff because there are so many people out there with great experience.

“When telling the company where you found out about the job, sell your interest in the company,” Greene said.

When putting together a resume, more time should be spent on content rather than design, according to Greene. She also suggests that applicants should have two versions of their resumes, one in a plain text version (ASCII), and the other as a standard version with design elements like bullet points and italics. Fortune 500 hiring professionals said the best resumes are easy to read, logical, accurate, demonstrate a familiarity with technology and results-oriented. They also say that resumes should be, on average, two pages long.

“After resumes are written, applicants should have them proofread by other people,” Greene said. “Everything must be 100 percent free of errors.”

It’s important to remember that finding a job can take some time, according to Greene. Follow multiple leads, talk to people in the industry, but don’t stalk a job.

“While applicants don’t have jobs, they can spend their extra time taking additional courses or joining professional organizations,” Greene said.

Courses could help applicants become familiar with new technology such as HTML and other computer languages, or any other experience which should be included on the resume.

“When applicants get an interview, they should arrive at least five minutes early and be dressed as if they are doing their Emmy performance,” Greene said. “Why apply to jobs through trial and error experiences, the most important things to remember are to do the research and that the information is out there.”

“This is all about learning how to take your experience and put it in the best terms to get the job that you are qualified for and that you deserve,” Greene said.

Editor’s Note: Brenda Greene has a book that was published previously titled “The Business Style Handbook: An A-to-Z Guide for Writing on the Job with Tips from Communications Experts at the Fortune 500” published by McGraw-Hill.

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