This article, written by Diane Winiarski and copied directly from Forbes.com, discusses the importance of submitting a strong, concise resume tailored to each specific job application.
Strong, Concise Resumes Improve Job Prospects For People With Disabilities Who Return To Work
Sep 27, 2023,12:03pm EDT
Imagine missing out on your dream job, not because you lack the skills or experience, but because your resume failed to make it past a computer algorithm. In today’s competitive job market, a well-crafted resume is more than a formality—it’s a necessity. An updated, carefully written resume is one of the most important tools an applicant needs when searching for work.
Now more than ever, employers are using sophisticated software to identify candidates who can meet their job requirements. This suggests that resumes need to hit the mark so candidates can move to the next step in the application process. For individuals with disabilities who are returning to work with Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program (TTW), a strong resume can set them apart from other applicants.
September is International Update Your Resume Month, proclaimed by Career Directors International (CDI), an association and learning lab for career industry professionals. It is an ideal time to review professional accomplishments and career aspirations and refresh that resume. CDI explains that frequently, job seekers wait until the last minute to update their resumes, perfect cover letters or prepare for interviews. Setting aside the time to focus on job prep can be beneficial.
In my experience, taking the necessary steps to search and apply for jobs can feel overwhelming. Social Security-authorized Employment Networks (ENs) can help by connecting individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses, to job sites that offer resume tips and job-searching techniques such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter and LinkedIn, and resources for resume-writing.
Employers today are relying on applicant tracking systems (ATS) to initially screen candidates before their resume reaches the hiring manager’s desk. An ATS looks for certain keywords or skills that closely align with the job opportunity. It is essential for applicants to carefully review job specifications and add any relevant experience, skills and accomplishments with strong keywords to their resume. In fact, some experts like Resume Worded, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, recommend that individuals have several variations of their resumes tailored to specific jobs.
AI can also be used to ensure resumes have appropriate job-specific keywords that employers can easily spot with their ATS. AI can check for fluff or filler words, even overused clichés that potentially diminish credibility. With AI tools such as Kickresume, Resume.co or Jobscan.co, individuals may come closer to creating a resume that gets them to the next step in the hiring process.
In a survey by Resume Builder, a resume career resource center, of 1,000 current and recent job seekers who were using ChatGPT to apply for jobs, 46% were using it for resume and cover letter-writing. ChatGPT is an AI tool that generates natural language solutions. Seventy-eight percent said they received an interview when using application materials written by ChatGPT and 59 percent said they were hired after using ChatGPT-written materials.
In February 2023, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 21.3 % of persons with a disability were employed in 2022, up from 19.1% in 2021. For persons without a disability, 65.4% were employed in 2022, up from 63.7% in the prior year. The unemployment rates for people with disabilities (7.6%) and those without (3.5%) both declined in 2022.
Build a solid resume
Some general tips for producing get-the-interview-and-job resumes include these from myperfectresume, a subscription-based resume-building tool:
· Do not ignore soft skills such as teamwork, communication, dependability and problem-solving. Be sure to back up soft skills with examples.
· Carefully review the job ad or specification to ensure your skills match the employer’s needs. If lacking, consider special training to fill the gap.
· Data or metrics from previous jobs is vitally important.
Resume Builder also offers guidelines for job-seekers. They recommend:
· Limit resume to one or two pages with clear and concise statements. Bullet points are helpful.
· Highlight specific qualifications that meet the job requirements, such as proficiency with software or certain types of equipment or machinery.
· Write a cover letter to accompany your resume even if the job does not require one.
As I work with individuals who are going back to work through the TTW program, they often ask how they can address employment gaps in their resumes due to illnesses or medical treatments. While these individuals have no obligation to disclose on their resume, they may need to be prepared to address the question in an interview. Finally, new skills and volunteer experience are as valuable as employment and should be highlighted on a resume.
While International Update Your Resume Month may not be well-known, it signals the importance of taking time to focus on the materials necessary for getting the right job. As more individuals with disabilities choose to return to work when they are medically able to do so, they will benefit from a well-written resume that succinctly conveys their strengths, skills and accomplishments to future employers. In addition, Employment Networks can provide vital support on this journey. Seize the opportunity this month; a compelling resume isn’t just a piece of paper—it’s your ticket to a brighter, more fulfilling future.