Last week my colleague wrote about tailoring your resume to the job you want. She had some great examples and if you haven’t already you should definitely go back and read her article.
This week, I’d like to take your resume a little bit further.
So, you’ve written the resume and sent it out. But you’ve gotten no responses – or worse, a bunch of spam and scam responses.
What went wrong?
I talk to Hiring Managers and heads of HR all day and let me tell you they are busy people.
Human Resources normally handle all hiring and internal issues for the entire company, even the smaller companies have a busy HR representative.
Hiring Managers? Even busier. Not only do they have a department to run but if they’re actively hiring it means that they’re most likely missing at least one member of their staff which gives them even more to do.
Both of these groups are too important in their roles and too busy to read hundreds of detailed resumes.
What does this mean?
On average you have 8 seconds worth of resume to make an impact. That means that within 8 seconds of picking up your resume from that stack on their desk, the HR rep or Hiring Manager will decide whether or not to move forward with you. If they don’t see something that catches their eye they will move on to the next person.
Before you start crying that this process isn’t fair, think of it from your own perspective. You make snap judgments based on content daily whether it’s an article you choose not to read because the headline isn’t catchy enough or a new novel with a poorly written synopsis.
So, ask yourself: What does your headline and synopsis say about you in 8 seconds?
1. Put the meat of who you are on TOP.
I look at resumes every day that have their technical skills on the very back page underneath their educational and volunteer history. Why? Put your skills front and center. This crosses all industry lines, it doesn’t matter if you’re a computer programmer, an office manager, or a day-care worker. Whatever it is that makes you qualified for the position you’re applying for needs to be the first thing they see.
2. Kill the “cute” fonts.
Seriously, if you’re applying to work at a Fortune200 company and have comic sans anywhere on your resume you should probably stop and reflect on where you lost control of your writing.
If you’re wanting to be taken seriously in whatever industry you’re in the more professional the better.
3. Keep It Short and Simple.
I know if you’ve been in the game for a while it’s very hard to keep your resume to 2 pages. But take a look at it, how much filler do you have in there?
4. Eliminate traditional buzz words.
Everybody knows that you’re an “effective team player” who holds your “company record” and wants to “make an impact”. Why does everybody already know that? Because, everybody says that on their resume.
5. Your LinkedIn profile is not a substitute for a solid, well written resume.
I love Technology. I’m a Technical Recruiter by trade and a huge geek in my private life. But at this stage LinkedIn is not your resume. At least once a week I get told by a candidate that they don’t have a resume but that I can look at their LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is an amazing tool, I use it daily. But when you rely on it you’re assuming that a potential employer utilizes it as much as you do. Not only that, but you’re putting your fate into the formatting of LinkedIn. If your intention is to get noticed quickly can you be 100% sure that the information that employer is looking for is front and center? Also, how did they find you? You’re leaving a lot of your future up to chance.
Once your resume is perfect and appropriate: NETWORK. It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.
I’m going to leave you with a fun fact: Did you know that when you apply for a job through a job board the odds of getting hired are about 1 in 219 due to all the other resumes being sent in.
But, if you’re introduced to the HR rep or Hiring Manager directly – whether it’s through a recruiter or a referral from someone inside – your chances are 1 in 10.