According to Doug Hardy of Monster.com, some resumes go online into a database or get sent to a corporate website.
For that type of resume, Hardy says it doesn't matter how it's formatted because it's going to get broken down into key words and job descriptions. The key is having a great title that says something about what you do.
"An employer searches through a database of millions of resumes," Hardy says. "When they search and they're looking for key words and when they pull up a resume, they're going to see a title -- facilities manager. Then there's one that says, 'I can save you 10 percent on your energy cost next year.'"
It may sound gimmicky, but it will stand out among the thousands of other resumes.
The second type of resume you will need is a paper copy especially for a job fair. Hardy says don't worry about the format as much as the content.
"It's good to use what we call power words," he says.
It should have a clear summary or objective -- one that states the type of results you produce. For this kind of resume, numbers can be very effective.
"You can quantify anything," Hardy says. "Sales position -- if you manage a staff, you managed a staff of seven, including three freelancers."
If you were terminated from your last job, don't put that on your resume. However, you should be able to explain why you were fired if asked.
Hardy says you should never hide the fact that you were fired. Instead, find a way to grow from it and move forward.
"If you were fired for poor performance you have to get ahead of that story," Hardy says.
You need to change a potential employers perception of you by giving them a good perception of how you are handling the termination.
"They've got your resume, they've called you, they're interested," Hardy explains. "The last thing you want to do is make them think they can't trust you."
He says once you land the interview, it will come up and you should be straight forward, but you can turn the negative into a positive.
Hardy says the employer was to know is the problem taken care of and can they trust you? Once you've answered those questions, it's up to the company.
But what if it was your fault? What if you were terminated because of a bad attitude and things were stacking up against you, or you were difficult to work with?
How do you overcome something like that?
"You overcome something like that by fixing the problem," Hardy says. "If you have a bad attitude, I don't want to hire you and it's really that simple.
In addition to those tips, there are details you need to know about how to make an impact on potential employees.
Being prepared is key. Meeting employers at a job fair or having an interview is your chance to make a lasting impression. There are three things you need to have in order to be prepared.
"When you go to an interview, the last thing you need to worry about is whether you've got everything together," Hardy says.
That means you need to get your act together before you leave for the interview or job fair.
"I want you to have a folder with a presentation resume -- one that's nicely designed, not just whipped out really fast on a word processor," Hardy says.
He also recommends business cards.
"People use all their senses in an interview, so when you hand someone a business card, that's a little touch, bond, a little social interaction," Hardy says.
Don't forget a notepad and pen. Once you leave the job fair or interview, you will be glad you took notes.
"Your mind is racing in an interview and you want to remember certain things. I'll tell you why because after the interview, you're going to write a thank you note and you're going to remember something they said," Hardy says.
And that's your basic kit.
There are also some more obvious tips Hardy says you should remember:
- Know where the job fair or interview is ahead of time so you're not late. You don't need the added stress.
- Bring breath mints, but never chew gun.
- No cell phone.
Hardy says, "[There's] nothing worse than your cell phone going off as you're trying to land a job. There is one thing worse, when you say, 'I have to take this. It's important.' Don't' do that either."
What to Wear
We know you think you look pretty spiffy in your leather jacket, but unless you're applying to be a bomber pilot, it's probably best to leave that jacket at home.
"Fashion blunders in an interview include all sorts of things [like] loud nails, loud hair, loud jewelry," Hardy explains. "Open toed shoes, anything that is distracting -- too much perfume too much cologne -- anything that distracts from the task at hand is a blunder in an interview."
Hardy says first impressions, no matter what's on your resume, can leave a lasting impression. So dress conservatively for your job interview. That way the employer can focus on the skills you bring to the table rather than the fashion distraction.
"Look at the people coming out the door and dress a little better than they do," Hardy says. "Another thing about fashion blunders is the interview attitude. If you can lean forward, that'll help."
Hardy suggests having one good suit in the closet for interviewing.
"If you have to borrow the suit from your brother or best friend, go ahead and do it," Hardy says. "And then save up your milk money and buy a suit. You should have one for professional situations like this."
NC RECOVERY JOBS
More than $6 million in federal recovery money is headed to N.C., and a lot of it is being used for projects that will create jobs and put people back to work.
"Seventy highway and bridge projects have been announced," Hardy says. "The governor's office estimates that 14,000 jobs are going to be created here in the next 18 months or 2 years."
Hardy says those jobs are open and up for grabs right now.
"These jobs are going to be in construction, but there's also going to be transportation jobs, jobs created in the Research Triangle here in energy," Hardy explains. "Also, there's going to be a pick up in tech, going to see money going to health care. You're going to see some money in NC in social services. I think that might be good in Raleigh-Durham area especially because there's a big increase in food stamps."
If construction and health care aren't your thing, Hardy urges you to think outside the box. Don't just look at the specific job being created. Also look at the industry it is in.
If money is being spent in health care and you have a tech job, when you open a new wing of a hospital, you need people. You need people who are going to tackle that big project of updating medical databases.
For more information about what kinds of jobs are being created in NC by the Federal Recovery Act, go to ncrecovery.gov.
Some say a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. If you've been laid off, don't waste an opportunity to switch careers.
"It's scary," Hardy says. "It's difficult. It's a great time to say maybe it is time for a change."
Changing careers is a process that takes a lot more knowledge than you may think. Hardy says if this is what you want to do, great! But double down on your research. You should probably start with finding out who's hiring.
"If you don't have the skills, you have to acquire them somewhere," Hardy says.
Your first option is to go back to school, and the second option involves building on-the-job skills for a different position.
"If you're a reporter and you'd like to work in marketing, then help the marketing department at the station or newspaper you work at and then look for a job in marketing elsewhere," Hardy explains. "A lot of people are using these layoffs as a revamping of their lives, maybe making that switch to the dream job they never had the courage to try. I am so much in favor of people making the best of a layoff and saying, well ok. Is this what I should be doing?"
Monsterjob.com offers a feature called career mapping, which shows the path others have taken to land the job you want.
The Monster.com job fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the north Raleigh Hilton.