To win the job offer you have to first get an interview. Getting the interview can sometimes seem more daunting than the interview itself. Every recruiter and company is different. I would argue you will never write a resume that every single person will love or even like. But you can write a resume that gets seen AND lands you an interview.
The first key is to write a resume that cuts down the amount of time the recruiter needs to spend reading it. Make the life of the recruiter easy by formatting your resume so it’s clear and the most important information is easy to find. A recruiter will spend about six seconds looking at your resume. Additionally a survey using eye-tracking technology revealed where the recruiter is physically looking on the page. You want the key information to fall in that pathway which is along the top and the sides of the paper.
Recruiters are looking for the second key, which is key words. The recruiter and the software they use are looking for key words. They aren’t the hiring manager. They’ve spoken with the hiring manager to determine the attributes of the best candidates. Those six seconds are all about finding out if you meet them. They best way to choose the key words are to look at the job description and industry knowledge. The key words they want are right in the job description. They’re also scanning quickly to see your current and previous titles along with work dates for any gaps in your history. I recommend making it easy for them and putting a section at the top of your resume called “core skills”. It can be up to three columns about 3-4 skills per column. They should be short and sweet, 1-3 words. “Financial modeling, Emerging Markets, Software Implementation, Product Management, Communication,”. You get the picture. By the way the software they use is doing the same thing. When you apply for job online and enter your resume information, the software is cataloging your resume by key word. The recruiter comes along and does a search.
The third key is an executive summary which is also key-word rich. This used to be an objective statement which is mostly used by new graduates. The executive summary explains your strengths, highlights successes and tells the story of your career. If you like you can end it with an objective statement such as “Seeking an opportunity to expand leadership skills as a Director of Finance”. That way they know why you’re applying for the role. This probably won’t be read thoroughly by the recruiter but if you put in the correct key words and it comes up it will be read by the hiring manager when it’s passed along for review.
Fourth, put your work experience first. Typically new graduates will have their school information as the first section. If you’ve been working for a while putting your work experience first is acceptable and cuts down on the amount of reading the recruiter has to do. Make sure your title, company, start and end date are clear. I always put the dates along the right side so the reader can see the timeline readily and quickly. Your bullet points should highlight measurable successes and not simply be a repetition of your responsibilities. For example “Worked on a $1M project focused on delivering 5% year over year revenue growth from a key demograhic. Achieved 6-month timeline with 7% growth the first year”. Make it short and specific. Again, the recruiter may not read this detail but the hiring manager and other interviewers for certain will.
Customize your resume to the job you’re applying for. One strategy to always having a resume ready (and I recommend always having your resume ready) is to write a long general resume with all of your roles and success highlights. Then you just have to cut stuff out to apply to a particular job and change up the key words as necessary. The work history is followed by education and additional information such as awards, relevant training, etc. Your resume should be no more than two pages but there are various ideas about one versus two pages. Put the most important information on the first page and the secondary information such as education and additional on the second page. That way at a glance it will be clear to the reader that’s supplemental. People with longer work histories will run into this issue. If you only have one page the recruiter may interpret that as your entire career history. One way around that is at the end of the experience section list previous experience that has nothing to do with the role you’re applying for. That way the recruiter knows you have a full work history. Simply the title, the company, and start/end date (month and year or just years). I have read hundreds if not thousands of resumes over my career and I never threw my hands up at a two-page resume.
Fifth and last key to a winning resume that gets seen is to give it to someone who can give it directly to the recruiter. Most job interviews go to someone who was recommended to the recruiter. The recruiter may be trying to fill dozens of jobs at one time. If they get a recommendation delivered right to their hands, they’re going to take a look at it. If you’ve incorporated the keys above and you’re qualified for the job you will get a call. Be ready for the first call which is all about determining if you meet the requirements.
Have any tips you want to share with the New Black Chick audience, comment below. Please like and share especially with any job seekers you know.
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