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Order Matters!

Job seekers often are diligent about getting all the important information into their resumes, without considering what gets noticed most by someone that doesn't know them.

They read their own resume, and since they know their experience and background well, don't read it the same way someone else might. They assume that the relevant information will be noticed, and are surprised to hear when it's not. I often hear people say something like:

"I can't believe they asked me that question in the interview! If they had read my resume, they would have known the answer."

How, and where something appears in a resume creates an impression of its relevance. Here's what I mean…

Emphasize top requirements! When reviewing a job description, keep in mind that in most cases, the first few points in the requirements section are the most important qualifications they are looking for. Sometimes job seekers feel a job is a fit because they have 6 out of 10 of the listed requirements. However, if the ones that fit are the last six instead of the first six, the job is probably not a fit. The top few requirements are typically the most important, and have to be the most obvious on your resume if you're to be considered.

Listing your experience with those requirements first, is critical to being viewed as a credible candidate. Listing the most relevant experience as a 3rd or 4th bullet point in your list of responsibilities will either go unnoticed, or be viewed as minor. Be sure to put the most relevant experience at the top of each list!

Order the most current, relevant, and marketable skills first! As a technology recruiter, it's common for me to see resumes that have lists of their technology experience. They will list programming languages, operating systems, network equipment, databases, and other tools and technologies they've gained experience in over the years. Unfortunately, it's not unusual for them to keep adding their newest and most relevant experience at the end of their list instead of the beginning! Someone that may be quickly scanning the resume to decide if the person is qualified or not, will not likely read the whole list, but only read the first few items. Or, if they do read the entire list, it's not unusual for them to assume that the first few items are the skills that are strongest or most important in regard to that candidate… and not necessarily ones most relevant to the job.

Emphasize the most relevant education! Often, a job seeker may have multiple degrees or may list several continuing education courses they've taken over their career. Listing them in order of when they were taken doesn't necessarily highlight the most relevant education for the job they are pursuing. A highly relevant course buried 4th in a list of 9 courses taken will not likely get noticed. Emphasizing it instead at the top of the list is more likely to have a positive impact on the reader.

It's relatively common advice to customize your resume for each position you apply to. In a sea of other resumes submitted for a job, it's hard to be noticed, even if you're a perfect fit. It's even more difficult to be noticed if your most relative experience isn't immediately apparent on your resume. The order in which items appear on your resume has a great deal to do with the response you may get.

Review the job description to discern which requirements are likely to be the most important to the potential employer. Then list your most relevant experience as the first bullet points, and the first items in your lists.

Your odds of being selected will improve dramatically!


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1 comment:

Donna @ HomeBusiness said...

Of course, the most important things go first in order to catch the employers eye. Naturally, people should think their strong points first before make some choices about their CV.

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