Unfortunately, technology has all but destroyed the recruiting process. Although it varies, ERE’s Dr. John Sullivan reports on average 250 resumes are received for each corporate job opening so your resume faces a lot of competition. I have even read numbers as high as 1,000 resumes per posting. If you post your resume online on a major job site like Monster you are one of the 427,000 other resumes posted each and every week according to BeHiring.
If you are applying to a large organization then chances are your resume is being screened by an ATS (Applicant Tracking System), a topic for another discussion. For this discussion let’s focus on the human factor.
1. Spend time reading the job description
Because recruiters are inundated with so many resumes it can be a challenge to manage and to identify the right candidates. Is it any wonder that a study by The Ladders found that recruiters spend about 6 seconds before they make the initial “fit/no fit” decision? That is just plain scary! The Wall Street Journal reports that over 50 percent of applicants for a typical job fail to meet the basic qualifications for that job. That means recruiters spend a tremendous amount of time weeding out unqualified candidates. Don’t apply for a position if you don’t meet the basic requirements. In today’s current climate hiring managers are only interested in candidates that meet all the requirements. Employers are seeking someone who has held the exact same title as the job they’re trying to fill. They’re not ready to take a chance on someone who doesn’t meet the exact requirements for the position. It doesn’t sound fair but it is today’s truth. There is only so much selling a recruiter can do when dealing with clients or hiring managers. That is why the next point is so important.
2. Review and Revise Your Resume
You heard it before and that’s because it is essential. You must customize your resume for each position. Don’t just mimic the job requirements, demonstrate where in your past employment you have already solved the problem (your achievements) your future employer needs solving. This is the step many applicants get wrong.
Keywords are great, but they’re not effective if they aren’t accompanied by results. The achievements need to be succinctly integrated into your resume. Laying out your achievements in a separate section will likely cause recruiters to skip it in order to get to the meat of your work experience. To really put your achievements front and center, include them in a list under each relevant position. At least that is my preference as a recruiter.
3. Focus on relevant experience
If you are an experienced professional you may want to remove extraneous information and focus what is relevant to the position. If you had limited responsibility and you’re applying for a position larger in scope, you have to go back to your past jobs and find the aspects of your experience that are translatable. Remember, the company wants to see what you have accomplished and how that helps them solve the problem they have today.
Sadly at this stage it is important to recognize the employer doesn’t care about your potential — at least not before they’ve had the chance to get to know you which is why you want that resume to get you the interview. I look for potential in my candidates and bring that into the discussion after the candidate’s first interview. This leads me to my next tip.
4. Disregard the one-page resume myth
If there is a lot of valuable information that simply cannot fit on one page, a second page is fine. One page resumes may make sense for new graduates or applicants with less experience. Be sure you don’t sacrifice good relevant content for the sake of the one-page myth.
5. Be sure to list your Certifications and Training
Certifications are specific and focused and demonstrate the applicant is interested in expanding his or her knowledge after their initial education. Training demonstrates that an individual is interested in perfecting their skill sets as well as the desire to successfully evolve in a role or an organization. Has the person made a strong effort to remain educated throughout his career?
6. Include Employer descriptions
As recruiters, we often need to hire candidates from a specific industry or candidates that excel in certain size organizations. Employer names aren’t always as obvious as the big brand names so it is helpful to communicate employer information. The easiest way to do this is to hyperlink the company url to the company name when you list it under experience. Another way is to reference in your bullet points. For example: “Hired and managed a team of 8 project managers, set business priorities, managed eCommerce project teams, and identified e-business opportunities for a global provider of computing solutions.” This tells me that this is a global company in the high tech industry and is most likely large given the term global.
Hopefully, these tips will help you as a candidate to deal with that human being on the receiving end of your resume. Next time I will share with you some helpful tips when dealing with the non-human aspects of recruiting. The big bad ATS! Stay tuned.
Tricia Lucas has over 25 years of demonstrated success in recruiting, marketing communications, and social media and helps technology companies recruit more efficiently by focusing on Recruiting Efficiencies, Employer Branding, and Social Media.
At Lucas Select, based in Raleigh, NC, we are passionate about technology startups and about sales and marketing as professions and have built extensive national networks of top-performing executives and managers. Unlike typical staffing agencies and headhunters, our recruiting services ensure that your company maintains a sustained growth model that is supported by strong sales management, talent recruitment at scale balanced by on-going people development while aligning with your Company’s core values.