I happened on a great article recommended on Twitter composed by a corporate recruiter in Western, MA. Jobhunters of any age and experience level would do well to understand the resume review process from her vantage point.
She writes about the frustration of dealing with lots and lots of resumes:
“Yesterday I took an hour to scan and file a massive amount of résumés. Two reasons here: my record retention, and the hiring manager’s ease of access… Out of scanning and indexing frustration, I tweeted yesterday that no one needs a two-page résumé. Originally, it was because I had to bust out the staple remover, merge two PDF pages, etc. If the two page résumé was printed out on the front AND back? Forget it—that back page will not see the light of day. I hope all of the pertinent info was on the first page.”
She writes about how she reviews the resumes:
“What I look for are two aspects. The first: Do you meet the base qualifications required for this position? I look for this information quickly—maybe a “skills” area where you tell me about software you’re proficient in. Do you have a college degree? Maybe your skills are highlighted in each position you discuss. Either way, these pieces should stand out.
The second aspect I look for is this: Does your job history tell me that you could handle the responsibilities of our current opening? This one is tricky. How do you do this without writing out your entire life story? Maybe you don’t have all of the experience, but you know you could learn it quickly—so how will I know that?
This is where excellent communication skills come in. Short, succinct descriptions of your role at that company are perfect. Were you just a plebe who got coffee, but then you rose up to become an account executive in a short period of time? AWESOME. Tell me that in one shot. Don’t feel compelled to write out each position you held in the company on the way there.
I also don’t need to know about your various daily tasks, unless you think it’s absolutely relevant to the position in question. If you tell me in the skills section that you are proficient in Excel, there is no need to also write under your job at ABC Industries that you created tracking spreadsheets. What I want to know is that you created a more efficient process… if you think that is important to the position.”
She writes about the lessons from all of this that the Jobhunter should keep in mind:
“The key to this? Short. Sweet. I am visually scanning, sometimes even running through the documents with a highlighter, or putting your skills and qualifications into a rubric so I can pit you against other candidates. The best way to make this process easier for me is to keep it simple.
In both aspects, it is important to tailor your résumé to the job description you are applying for. Make it easy for the hiring person to see that you have the qualifications. Think of it this way: A cover letter is “tell.” A résumé is “show.” Show, don’t just tell me that you’re the right person for the job.
Do you get where I’m going here? You have to start thinking like me. Scary thought, I know. But it is important that you don’t blitz HR people with résumés, because we can absolutely tell when candidates haven’t put any thought into the position. Look at the job description as your insight to the employer’s mind. They are (hopefully) being very clear with their requirements.”
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