Keep your resume up to date for the upturn

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 September, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong is gradually working its way out of the economic doldrums. Major companies in the banking and finance sectors are taking the lead in boosting manpower in order to catch up with their business needs. It is a sign that the local job market is becoming active, with more job opportunities becoming available.

Despite this, job-seekers can still expect competition in the local job market to remain strong and so will need to spend a longer time job-hunting.

For those who are seriously thinking of a career change or seeking new opportunities, getting prepared and being resourceful in your job search are key to boosting your chances of securing an interview.

Riding on steady economic revival, employers are using different strategies to secure the right talent. Depending on the role of the candidate being sought, companies search through different channels including placing advertisements in recruitment publications, and subscribing to executive professional search agencies.

To maximise the chances of finding a new role, it is important for job-seekers to stay alert to the kind of jobs available in the industries or sectors they want to work in. To get a head start, it is important to keep an eye on salary trends and update your resume with your most recent qualifications and achievements.

Employers are now more resourceful in their mix of recruitment activities to attract candidates. These could include organising job fairs and going online to search for potential candidates on recruitment sites.

According to Andrea Williams, managing director of Ambition Hong Kong, the number of Hong Kong employers using web-based recruitment sites to identify potential candidates has been on the rise in recent years.

'Employers are now seeing recruitment sites as a tool to supplement traditional recruitment initiatives. They want to maximise all possible recruitment channels to find the right candidates that match their requirements,' she said.

She cited the example of a Hong Kong job-seeker who was approached by an information technology company in Japan for an interview opportunity simply because the company found his resume posted on a well-established recruitment site.

With online recruitment sites becoming an increasingly popular option, it is important that job-seekers select quality and reliable ones for security reasons.

From the employer's perspective, they have more confidence in candidates whose resume can be found on established career sites, as they boast a more sophisticated search engine and provide better protection of personal data.

From the job-seeker's point of view, there are things to consider when selecting which sites to post your resume on. A professional recruitment site can help job-seekers maximise their chances of finding not only local employment, but also overseas opportunities.

Competition for a prospective employer's attention in cyberspace can be as severe as the actual job market. An employer can access thousands of resume at the click of a mouse, which allows them to pick only the best candidates who are a perfect fit.

To market yourself effectively in the cyber employment marketplace, your key responsibility as a job-seeker is to ensure your resume is accessible to the hiring manager with as much information s possible.

There are strategies to help you achieve this. Instead of simply posting your resume in a word document format, take the time to fill in the fields specified on the resume page, if there is such a function. This will facilitate the hiring manager's search when key words are typed in.

Some sophisticated sites may even ask the job-seeker to complete a teaser which is a brief description of the job-seeker's career profile to make the search process easier for the hiring manager.

'Try to be jargon-free for the online version of your resume on a recruitment site, particularly when you want to attract a broader base of prospective employers from a multitude of industries,' said Williams.

'Select which industry drop boxes on the site you want to upload your resume to, because this will determine how searchable your data is by the search engine.'

Nothing is worse for the hiring manager who has spent hours searching for the right candidate only to find a slovenly prepared resume that displays chunks of incomplete information and was last updated two or three years ago. So remember that it is vital you keep your resume up-to-date.

Be prepared

Stay tuned to industries and sectors that are hiring, especially in the field you want to work in

Keep an eye on salary trends in your own profession or industry

Update your resume if you have acquired new qualifications or taken on a new role

Select only established and reliable online recruitment sites

Format your resume in a way that is most searchable and accessible to the hiring manager