Last week, while sitting on the set of JobQuest at Blue Ridge PBS, I was placed right next to a headhunter as we both manned the phones, helping callers with their job search questions. The show’s anchor Julie Newman informed me she wanted to interview me on live television about the state of the job search. “What’s it like out there? And what are you hearing from your clients?” I was like a deer in the headlights trying to think of what I would tell her in a concise elevator speech of less than 30 seconds (Broadcasters hate it when you take too long to answer a question.)

Thankfully, the headhunter sitting next to me came to the rescue! He had told me only a few minutes prior that he published a vacancy announcement for an administrative assistant in the Sunday Roanoke Times and within 24 hours had 100 resumes. 100! I asked him how many of those resumes were good enough to pass along to his client. He told me ONE. That’s right — 1%.

The fact is it’s taken longer to find a job in today’s market than it did a few years ago. There are fewer positions available and more people applying for them. The U.S. government reports that for every opening, there is something like six unemployed people out there to fill them.

If candidates want to find work, it is available, but it’s up to them to compete effectively. That resume from 5 years ago just won’t cut it, just like the IRS won’t accept deductions and tax credits from rules that applied to an earlier year that may no longer be applicable. The point is, if you’re trying to save money during this tough economy the last place is with a do-it-yourself resume. In the long run, how much will it really cost if it takes you LONGER to find a job?

–Susan Geary, CPRW / 1st Rate Resumes