Pssst. May I share a secret with you? Actually, may I share eight job-search secrets with you from a Google recruiter? Get the inside scoop from somebody who has seen thousands of resumes and who is responsible for hiring at the Internet giant.
The job outlook for 2012 is brighter, but high unemployment rates remain an issue. It's not uncommon for companies to receive thousands of applicants for a single position. When you're one applicant out of thousands, how do you make your resume stand out? How can you get prospective employers to notice you? What does it take to get hired in 2012?
Bryan Power is a hiring expert who has worked in various areas of recruiting at Google for more than six years. In my recent interview with Bryan, he discusses what major companies look for in applicants and how you can make your resume stand out from the crowd.
Q: A lot of people have been unemployed for a long time. It's easy for job seekers to get frustrated. They send out hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes, but they aren't getting any response. At that point, there may be this compulsion to try something different. Is that wise?
BP: If you're going to send one resume to a wide range of prospective employers, then that resume has to be generalized. You're going to talk about things in a way that is aimed at getting lots of different people interested. I've seen people who manage to stand out from the crowd by focusing on making their resume interesting to a smaller group of people. And there's just no way to do that if you're going to blanket an audience of thousands.
If you're going to spend three or four hours working on your resume and looking for job opportunities, it's better to narrow the scope. But if you spend two or three hours learning as much as you can about the company and really try to figure out who you know who can help you get that first introduction, that's hard work and takes a long time. Ultimately, though, it'll be more productive.
[Related: 12 Steps To a Smart Resume]
Q: What mistakes do you see applicants make on their resumes?
BP: The biggest mistake I see with resumes is that people want to put down everything that they've ever done. Their resume turns into this laundry list of responsibilities and how they spend all of your time. So if your resume reads like a job description, you have to understand that there is probably a lot of other people that have similar jobs. That's not going to help you stand out from the crowd. If you focus on your accomplishments -- and the most important way to do that is to quantify what you were able to accomplish -- that is what will differentiate you from people in similar roles. You only need one job, so focus on the groups of people who are going to be more attracted to your set of accomplishments.
[Related: Do You Need an Interactive Resume?]
Q: Any other tips that will help job hunters land a job?
BP: You want to make sure during the interview that you take a deep breath before you answer a question. That's probably the best advice I've ever given to anybody, because it's such a stressful environment. You're going to be wound up, you're going to be running on adrenaline, and they're going to ask you a question. If you take a breath, it'll help you to give a better answer. It will calm you down. Your blood won't be flowing so fast and that will come across as more confident and more poised. And that's actually more important than making sure you've got exactly the right answer.
[Related: Comebacks for Tricky Job Interview Questions]
Robert Pagliarini is a CBS MoneyWatch columnist and the author of The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose and the national best-seller The Six Day Financial Makeover.