Manitowoc County Job Center - Manitowoc WI





Feb 24

What are Resume Keywords?

Posted in Job Center at 11:55 am

What’s all this talk about keywords? We’re told they’re essential to a job search — we should use them in our resume and cover letters and use them when searching for job openings. But what are they really, and how do you know you’re using the right ones?

Keywords are specific words or phrases that job seekers use to search for jobs and employers use to find the right candidates. Keywords are used as search criteria in the same way you do research on the Internet. The more keywords you use, the more closely the job will match what you’re really looking for.

For example, if you type the word “retail” into a search engine, you’ll get literally thousands of job descriptions. But if you type the phrase “merchandising manager,” you’re going to get fewer and more useful results.

Get keyed up.
Most job postings are loaded with industry- and position-specific buzzwords. Take your cues straight from the source and include those same words in your resume. To find more keywords, research industry trends and visit professional association Web sites to uncover current buzzwords — especially those used by the hiring company or industry leaders.

Don’t get lost in translation.
Most companies use applicant tracking software, which scans resumes for keywords relating to skills, training, degrees, job titles and experience. Make sure your resume gets through the gatekeeper — present your qualifications as if the reader is comparing the words on the resume to a list of desired qualifications.

Remember the magic words.
Here are some specific examples of popular keywords. Make sure to also use keywords that are specific to your industry.

*Strategic planning
*Performance and productivity improvement
*Organizational design
*Infrastructure development
*New media
*Change management
*Competitive market
*Product positioning
*Investor and board relations
*Oral and written communications
*Problem-solving and decision-making
*Project management
*Customer retention
*Business development
*Corporate vision
*Long-range planning
*Cost reduction

Feb 24

Keeping Your Résumé Out of the “No” Pile

Posted in Career Article, Tips & Tricks at 11:35 am

The last time you applied for a job and didn’t get an interview, was your résumé tossed on the “no” pile after someone skimmed it for only a few seconds, or did the employer read it carefully and you just missed making the cut?

Seventy recruiters met recently at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business to discuss what can make or break a résumé. The recruiters represented a variety of industries including oil and gas, tourism, technology and financial services, and some of what they revealed may surprise you.

An employer may review 100 or more resumes in an hour, spending only 20-30 seconds on each one. “Recognize that most employers are using the résumé to screen you out rather than to select you in,” says Derek Chapman, Ph.D., professor of industrial organization and psychology at the Haskayne School of Business.

Getting Attention

“If you don’t catch my eye, you’re out,” one recruiter said. That doesn’t mean you should use bright pink paper or multi-colored lettering, but several recruiters said they don’t mind applicants including a photo. Creative photos (such as the shot an applicant included of herself in a snow suit with snowmen on either side and a caption saying “I’m the one in the middle”) might help land the interview.

However, Chapman cautions against including a photo. “A photo can be used to screen you out on the basis of your sex, age, national or ethnic origin, etc. If someone hires you for your good looks, are you sure you want to work for that supervisor?”

Name Dropping

A better way to catch an employer’s eye is to include names of well-known companies you have worked for. As one recruiter explained, if you previously worked for a reputable company, it enhances your application “because they have some standards.” Employers are likely to assume you will be a good employee because you successfully passed that company’s hiring process and were well-trained. If you haven’t been employed by any large companies, consider doing an internship or volunteer work for a well-known organization.

Surprisingly, “name dropping” only works when mentioning companies. The recruiters said they are turned off when an applicant writes in a cover letter that they were referred by someone such as a company executive. The employers said if someone really thinks you are a good applicant that person should deliver the résumé to the recruiter or phone on your behalf.

Résumé Mistakes

While employers want résumés that are error-free, making a mistake such as addressing your cover letter to the wrong company won’t necessarily disqualify you from the job. Of course, it depends on the employer. For some recruiters, that kind of mistake is inexcusable. However, many others will allow one or two mistakes — even stapling the second page upside down — as long as you have the right qualifications.

To minimize mistakes, proofread your résumé. Your spell-checker doesn’t know you meant to say “manager” instead of “manger”.

Another surprise is that about one-third of the recruiters at the session said they do not read cover letters. To make sure your important information doesn’t get overlooked, it should be in your résumé.

Making the “Yes” Pile

Here are some additional tips to help you make the “yes” pile:

Have a conventional e-mail address. Your name is fine; or are not.

Tailor your résumé to each job you apply for. Make sure it shows you have the skills the employer is seeking for that particular position.

Use lots of white space and bullet points to help information stand out.

Include interests that are relevant to the job. If you are applying for a job in agriculture, for example, show that you have rural roots.

If you are submitting an electronic résumé use a standard format such as Word to ensure it can be opened.

Don’t disclose irrelevant personal information. (“I don’t want to know you are 5’6,” and weigh 195 pounds” one employer said.)

State your accomplishments rather than just your responsibilities. “For example, simply stating: ‘Managed a budget of $200,000 annually for training and development’ is not nearly as powerful as ‘Reduced training and development costs by 20 percent while maintaining the quality and quantity of training provided to employees’,” Chapman says.

“Placing positive information at the very beginning and again at the very end of the résumé helps keep the employer’s attention and capitalizes on the psychological principles of memory to work in your favor,” Chapman says. “Remember, most employers are only skimming your résumé at first to make a preliminary decision. Make sure they can find your information easily.”

Feb 01

The Career Exposure Network Shares Top Job Search Tips For a Tight Market

Posted in Career Article, Tips & Tricks at 11:19 am

A tight employment market is creating new demands on job seekers according to The Career Exposure Network, the leading source of niche job sites for women, diversity and MBAs.

“With more candidates applying for each open position, standing apart from the competition is increasingly critical to getting the offer letter,” stated JillXan Donnelly of “The rules for job seeking are changing and candidates need to switch up their game to make new connections and learn new skills that will get them noticed.”

To this end, Career Exposure offers the latest tips to getting noticed.

1) Make every resume unique
Gone are the days where one resume or cover letter will get the interview. Customize every resume and cover letter to showcase why your skills and experience make you the best match for each job.

2) Use broad and niche job-seeking tools
Broad job sites are easy one-stop-shops for job seeking, but don’t overlook niche sites that are tailored by profession, industry, skill set or gender. By using these sites, such as, and, job seekers can connect with employers that are targeting their specific demographic. Who can afford to miss that?

3) Employ virtual and in-person networking strategies
Certainly call and e-mail former co-workers, colleagues and business associates to get connections. You should also join associations or volunteer in your area of interest to create new contacts. Use online networks such as LinkedIn and build connections virtually. Consider jumping into social networks such as Twitter where you can find, follow and chat with people who work at companies or in industries you find of interest.

4) Take a class for content and connections
Staying sharp is one reason for taking a class; however, other reasons could include making new connections by way of classmates or the professor. Classes can also add extra beef to your resume that will demonstrate your commitment to your career and skills.

5) Stay positive
A positive attitude is tremendously appealing to an employer, both current and future. Look at your job search as an adventure that will have both high and low points. Being positive about the process, while sometimes challenging, will help you get through it.