Keep Your Resume Ready: Powering a Mobile Job Search

By Laura DeCarlo

Before you begin your job search, you want to have a working version of your resume handy. Embarking on a mobile job search carries a certain amount of uncertainty and frustration. To increase your productivity and save you time from chasing dead ends, consider the following basic advice.

Choose job search apps wisely

Cheerleaders for employment-related apps explain that they are super-convenient, offer intuitive and user-friendly interfaces, and are plentiful. That’s true, but your best bet is researching the apps for your own preferences. Here’s a mere snippet of what’s available in the apposphere:

  • Many popular job-search web services have created apps that search their own sites, such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, and Beyond.com.

  • Staffing companies are fielding such creations as Adecco Jobs, produced by employment service Adecco USA.

  • Not to be left behind, employers are joining the app crowd, as illustrated by Hyatt Job Search for Hyatt Hotels.

Most job apps enable you to apply for a job on the spot, but some ask you to email the job’s link to yourself. (Check your options on how to respond.)

Beyond personal experimentation, seek referrals from fellow job seekers and media experts. Analysts for PC Magazine and website Mashable.com regularly comment on the quality of specific apps, as well as report what’s coming up next in the app business.

Watch type size and font

Readability is the password to your resume. In typefaces, serifs are the small elements at the end of strokes. Typefaces come with or without serifs.

You can never go wrong when using a clean sans serif text for the resume body, whether using it online or for print. Select sans serif typefaces such as Verdana, Helvetica, and Arial.

Font sizes smaller than 12- or 14-point are often hard to read on mobile devices and web pages.

Formatting can be a concern as well. If you’re sending a resume attached to an email, your formatting should remain intact, but when you’re writing an introduction or cover letter on a website, remember that your formatting may go out the window. Keep it simple and direct. This is a good reason to send the opportunity to yourself so you can respond later when you’re at your computer.

Empower RSS to send job news

Before you launch a mobile search, download a free Really Simple Syndication (RSS) reader to your smartphone or tablet. Subscribing to a reader means you get immediate notice of new jobs in your industry or career field.

The free Google suite for mobile phones works on all smartphones and gives you an RSS reader, Gmail access, Google Docs, and more.

Sign up for free job alerts offered by job boards and job search engines (using RSS or e-mail), but less may be more. Unless you are selective in choosing to hear about jobs that meet your criteria, you may suffer from too much information. If you find yourself oversubscribed, cancel some of them. Choose the best and lose the rest.

CEO Jason Alba confirms the free service at entry level is “forever,” but moderately priced upgrades are available if you choose.

Stay in the running with a rehearsed salary strategy

Using the correct salary strategy is critical when filling out online applications. Being overpriced or underpriced screens you out of consideration for a job that’s already been priced in a company’s budget — computer software will see to it. But you can have an effective plan for handling online application salary questions.

When including requested salary data, use an option that gives you the most flexibility possible, if the website allows it. You can choose from several options:

  • Do your homework. Sites like Payscale.com, Glassdoor.com, or Salary.com can tell you what your qualifications are worth. Be sure to factor geographical cost of living into that number.

  • Go with negotiable whenever possible. You will always face factors you can’t know about the job until you have the interview. So, when possible, type negotiable or competitive.

  • Use a range when you can. Sometimes you want to be more specific; this is when using a range is best. For instance, if you know this position ranges from $65,000 to $85,000 and this is the range in which you are also seeking, then list that as your range.

  • Shoot for the middle. When you can only enter a number and not text or a range, use the research you did to shoot for around the 50 percent of the salaries you identified. If this number seems low to you, be sure you’re targeting the right level of job opportunities for your experience.

Pick your work site with GPS

When you live in the north end of a city and have zero interest in commuting to work in the south end — or when you want to work in a specific geographically desirable area — use a location-finding app equipped with GPS (global positioning system) technology, such as CareerBuilder’s free Jobs. This tool tracks down jobs in your target area by keywords. Location-finding apps are increasingly available for mobile job search apps.

Score with proven keywords

As with all your employment documents, anything you send via a mobile device needs to be keyword enhanced. When sending your resume note (a synopsis or summary with fewer than 500 characters that includes a link to your full-design resume on a web hosting site), be sure that your note is keyword rich for the position. With a limit of 500 characters, your note won’t have the space to say much, so what it does say had better be choice, or your note will be deleted as spam.

When you know the specific keywords that target a job you want, use them. If not, do your homework by looking at job descriptions for your target positions to identify the necessary keywords that represent the qualifications you possess.