Employers are increasingly looking for recruits who are comfortable with technology. In fact, when Accenture recently surveyed Fortune 1000 corporations, it found executives rank technology efficiency among the three most desirable skills for new hires. In today's tight job market, it helps to demonstrate your technology skills during the job-seeking process. How can you do that? Microsoft Corporation offers some tips:
- Use professional resume templates. Microsoft Word templates for resumes and cover letter templates are available on the Microsoft Tools Web site. The site also has templates for follow-up letters after an interview, along with templates for business plans, accounting spreadsheets and more.
- Get organized. You can organize your interview trips and company contacts on an Excel worksheet. The "Sort" feature allows you to reorganize your list quickly, e.g., into alphabetical order by company name, contact name, or company location. Or you can use the calendaring tools that come with Outlook to keep track of appointments and deadlines, remind you when it's time to follow up with contacts, and store your to-do list.
- Ensure speedy delivery. These days, employers often receive hundreds of resumes by e-mail within 24 hours of posting job openings on the Internet. E-mail keeps you competitive and gives you a choice of formats, i.e., as an attachment or in the body of the e-mail message using either plain text or HTML. Microsoft suggests you find out in advance exactly how the recruiter wants to receive your resume, so you don't send an attachment if they prefer plain text and vice versa.
- Use vCards. Microsoft Outlook supports the use of vCards, the Internet standard for creating and sharing virtual business cards. By adding a vCard to your e-mail signature, you can include your contact information with each e-mail message you send. Also when you receive a vCard, you can double-click on it to open it as a contact item that you can easily save to your Contacts folder. To create a vCard, follow the steps to create a signature, making sure to select the vCard option.
- Add watermarks. You can add style to your resume by applying watermarks, i.e., text, graphics or pictures that appear muted behind the document text. When negotiating a contract, you can use watermarks to indicate that a document is confidential or a draft. To add a watermark in Word 2002, select "Backgrounds" in the "Format" menu.
Microsoft's tips are written for its own software, but most can be adapted for use with other software as well.