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Why Isn't My Resume Working???

You’ve created the “perfect” resume! In 5 pages it lays out every great thing you’ve done in your career in terrific detail. It’s a work of art! It’s a literary masterpiece and shows ALL the reasons any company should want to hire you! So why aren’t you getting called with job offers?!?

A “masterpiece” is often very different from an effective resume.

First, it’s important to understand what happens in the selection process when you send your resume to a company.

If you applied through an online system, your resume goes into a database. The recruiter, HR person, or hiring manager periodically does a search of the database to see if anyone with the right skills has recently applied. Typically they do a keyword search. If, for example, they are looking for an accountant with a CPA, QuickBooks, and supervisory experience; they may enter the keywords as (CPA QuickBooks Supervisor). If your resume said “Manager” or “Leader” but not “Supervisor” they may never see your resume at all because it didn’t come up when they ran their keyword search. Frustrating, isn’t it?

If you mailed or emailed your resume to a main HR address, to a hiring manager, or to a main company address… Congratulations! You are likely one of 50, or 100, or 500 people that did the same thing! The person picking candidates to interview looks at the pile of resumes on their desk, or the long list of emailed resumes they received and starts the ELIMINATION process. You'd like to believe they will read your resume with a mindset of finding reasons to interview you. However, the reality is that they are looking at each resume for a grand total of 15 to 30 seconds each to find reasons to eliminate you. They are scanning each one looking for a few key things that may qualify you, and looking for any reason they can to put you into the “No” pile. They hope to eliminate enough to leave a small handful in the “maybe” pile to bring in for interviews. Pleasant thought again, huh?

So… How in the world do you make sure your resume gets found in the database or makes it through the elimination process??? What really is a “perfect” resume?

I’ll be posting more about resumes, but here are some points to consider:

  • Make your resume Keyword rich!
    ----- Somewhere in your resume make sure to use every possible term they might search
  • Read your resume from a defensive viewpoint
    ----- Fix anything that may knock you out (i.e. spelling errors or no chronology)
  • Modify your resume for every job you apply to
    ----- Use keywords used in their job description, and emphasize relevant experience
  • A resume doesn’t get you a job, it might get you an interview
    ----- You can give more detail in the interview, it doesn’t have to all be in your resume
  • Your resume can be as long as you like, as long as it’s 2 pages or less!
    ----- If you can’t say it effectively in 2 pages, you can’t say it effectively in 5, AND
    ----- They won’t look past your second page anyway
  • Make sure it’s easy to see your relevant experience in a quick scan of your resume
    ----- If why you’re a fit doesn’t jump out in their 15 second scan, you won’t get a call
  • Write in short, but substantive, sound bites
    ----- In a scan, “sound bites” get read, paragraphs do not
  • Always try to get it directly to the hiring manager vs. HR
    ----- They have the greatest sense of urgency to fill the role

Now, take another look at your resume from the hiring manager’s, or recruiter’s point of view and start the process of tweaking it for success!

1 comment:

Ed Han said...

Egads, are there candidates who think 3 or more pages are a good idea still?!

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