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Ten Ways to get Your Resume to the Top of the Pile

Any advantage that you can get to help get your resume to the top of the pile is worth looking at. I have some employment agency contacts that I asked about what people can do to put them to the front of the line when the jobs are being handed out. Iíve put together their replies. These tips apply to whether your going for a permanent or contract position.

1. As in every business, personal relationships are crucial. If you have any agents with whom you have a good relationship, keep in touch with them, especially if you have done a good job for them in the past

2. Send your resume out to as many agencies as possible. It does no harm, and they take most notice of you when your resume first arrives. Often it is sent around to all the sales people at the company. Send out a certain amount each week, e.g. ten, to keep you in the mindís eye of at least some agents

3. Make sure that your resume is presentable and easily readable. Make sure that your best skills are right at the front. Donít clutter up your resume with old skills and ones that you donít have much experience in Ė unless theyíre very marketable

4. Keep calling agencies even though it is soul-destroying. Keep yourself in the front of their minds. The right job might have just come in and youíll be at the front of the line. Out of sight, out of mind. If you havenít been in touch for a while, theyíll probably assume that youíre off the market for whatever reason. Have a list of agencies that you call every two weeks, calling a selection of them every day

5. Always, always, always adapt your resume for each job that you are applying for rather than just sending out your standard resume. Itís not the job of the agent or the employer to find the skills that they are looking for. Itís up to you to bring it to their attention. They may have dozens of resumes in front of them (or even hundreds) and they arenít going to give your resume more than thirty seconds in the first crawl through to cut the possible candidates down to a more manageable number

6. Be friendly and alert when an agent calls out of the blue rather than surly and suspicious. He may be one of those reference spammers, but he also may be the genuine article and could be put off by your response

7. Send scanned references along with the resume when applying off any of the job boards with managers contact names blanked out so that agents donít mine them for leads. It always looks good and impresses agencies to no end. If you send them and others donít, then youíve gained a little competitive advantage on them Ė and thatís crucial in the current climate

8. Follow up the resume with a friendly, positive call. Agents are human, too, and react positively to a friendly approach.

9. One contractor that Iíve heard of actually told the consultants at one agency that he would pay whichever recruitment consultant got him a job a personal bonus of ,000. According to the guy who owned the agency, this put the contractor right to the front of the line.

10. When you do get an interview, do some research on the company so that when youíre asked the inevitable ďDo you know anything about usĒ you donít end up saying ďI think Iíve heard of youĒ.

Preparation, hard work and a friendly demeanor are crucial to getting your resume to the top of the hiring managerís pile. Try these ten tips today and see what will come of your job or contract search.

About the Author: Gerry McLaughlin has fulfilled every role in Software Development from Trainee Programmer through Systems and Business Analysis, Project Leader and Manager, Systems Manager and Chief Information Officer with a department of 80 people. Tens of thousands of IT Contractors visit each month to keep themselves in touch with the market.

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