Most employers today look for employees that already know how to use the software that employer uses.
Few employers have training budgets for new employees – to use their training budgets more efficiently, employers want to hire new employees who already have the necessary training. While there are exceptions, you should consider this the rule.
Because there’s a shortage of jobs combined with mass applicant competition, hiring managers look for employees who don’t need training to handle basic job functions. With an average 1,000 applicants competing for each job, most employers can find and will favor candidates who don’t need basic skills training. This is even true for most entry level positions – where you’re expected to have basic skills in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or other software.
To succeed in today’s job market, you’ll need to show employers you have the skills to do the job now, to hit the ground running, without additional training. When employers do train new employees, it’s typically for specialized jobs to train rookies in unique employer processes/systems, not to learn basic work skills.
This is less of a problem for candidates just entering the workforce – you’ve grown up with technology as a part of your daily lives, starting in grade school (or earlier). But this can be an issue for many candidates over 40, where employers may be wary of your technical skills. Just because you have current technology skills, doesn’t mean employers will automatically realize you have them.
Remember, few employers aren’t reading your whole resume to decide if you’ll get an interview – interview decisions are made through a combination of automated pre-screening and a brief scan. Employers have to see that you’re current in a quick scan if you want an interview spot – it’s part of your resume’s personal brand. So it’s got to be easy and apparent for them to find.
Your technology personal brand extends beyond your resume – it extends to social media. This can present challenges for those who haven’t invested much time in social media.
Here’s 6 Ways To Brand Yourself As Technologically Current:
- Use Today’s Resume Techniques…not yesterday’s: Effective resume techniques have changed. Lose the Objective, Summary/Profile, Achievements sections – they’re yesterday’s news, and give you a dated first impression.
- List Your Technology Skills: List your tech skills, so they will show up in ATS searches. Be detailed – List the components of MS Office (recruiters don’t search for MS Office, they search for Excel, Word, PowerPoint); list modules of enterprise packages you’ve used (recruiters search for SAP MM, not just SAP). This applies to factory workers as well as CEOs – employees at all levels are expected to be technologically up to date.
- Don’t List Legacy Technology Skills (unless you’re applying for a legacy tech position): Do you really think that listing the COBOL class you took in college (or used in your first job) makes you up-to-date? Of course, if you’re applying for a COBOL position to maintain old systems, then list away, baby.
- Use Social Media: Today, companies are trying to get up to speed and improve social media presence. What holds most companies back? A lack of talent that understands social media. The best way for you to demonstrate knowledge of social media is to walk the walk. Do more than set up profiles, actively post, answer questions, participate in groups/lists on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.
- Blog: Want to show that you know more than the basics of social media? Blogging is your next step. By creating (or curating) a blog, you’re building a personal brand, building your ability to be found on Google searches, starting to understand SEO, all skills needed by businesses trying to increase their own social media presence.
- Create Other Content: While video is the most effective other content to concentrate on (YouTube gives a big boost to SEO), posting photography on Flickr can help also, especially if you’re good at editing pics and creating special effects on Photoshop.
If you’re missing on opportunities you think you’re qualified for, you might be giving employers the impression that you’re not technologically current.
Impressions can be more important than facts, since most employers make interview decisions based on a quick scan of your resume – so they aren’t reading detail.
While this often affects 40+ job seekers and those returning to the workforce, your technology brand can make the difference between an interview and the discard pile.
Good thing there are some simple things you can do to affect how your resume is viewed by readers.
Phil Rosenberg is President of http://www.reCareered.com, a leading job search information website and gives complimentary job search webinars at http://ResumeWebinar.com. Phil also runs the Career Central group, one of Linkedin’s largest groups for job seekers and has built one of the 20 largest personal networks on Linkedin globally.