So You Want Someone To Actually Read Your Resume?

Resume Tee Back

There are more and more people looking for new jobs and many of those people need help with their resumes. If you're reading this you are probably a recruiter. I wrote the following article in 2004 and the content is equally valid today. I've found it helpful to share it with candidates. I ask them to read the article, update their resume as they see fit, and to send the revised resume to me for review. Perhaps doing the same will be helpful to you too?

And now, the article:

You create a perfectly crafted resume. Your cover letter is a literary masterpiece. You respond with both to numerous opportunities and can hardly wait for the influx of phone calls and emails from company recruiters just eager to talk with you about working for their companies. You wait. You wait. You wait some more. Nothing...

Perhaps, just perhaps, you don't really know what makes a resume and cover letter attractive to a corporate recruiter. Perhaps you don't know what will increase the chances of your resume being read. If you've been doing the same thing in your job search for some time without success and you plan to keep on doing the same thing...then perhaps there is something of value here for you. Read on to learn my Top 10 ways to increase your job search success when submitting resumes to corporate websites.

1) A human being never looks at most resumes that are submitted to corporate websites. That's not wrong. It's just the way it is. Use this to your advantage. The reason most resumes never are looked at by a human being is that most resumes don't meet or exceed the requirements for the position. Corporate recruiters are professionals who are paid to source candidates who meet or exceed the requirements for the position. Most recruiters run Boolean searches on corporate resume databases. If you don't meet the requirements then, chances are your resume will be ignored. Simple approach here is to read the requirements and make sure your resume covers the majority of them.

2) If your cover letter has ever stated something like, "I don't meet the requirements for the position but I'm a really fast learner" then perhaps you could look for another line of work. Recruiters are experts at time management. If you're telling them you don't meet the requirements then they'll stop reading right away and move on to the next resume.

3) If you voted for Harry Truman and you think you can hide that you are old enough to have done that then think again. Be honest!

4) If you don't have a degree and you think you can list something nebulous under the university name where you partied hard for a semester and someone might think you have a degree then think again. Be honest!

5) If you've had 16 jobs in the last 10 years and you think leaving employment dates off your resume may hide this fact then think again. Be honest!

6) If your objective says something like, "I want to work for a company that values it's employees, is committed to altruistic acts, and has a great benefits package" then GET A CLUE! The objective ISN'T about you it IS about what you can provide for the company. Get the difference?

7) If your resume contains things you did 20 years ago that you're so proud of and you think will positively influence a corporate recruiter then read and understand the following sentence. Anything more than about 5 years ago is ancient history on a resume. Focus on the past 5 years. Keep the rest brief, very brief.

8) Many recruiters never read cover letters. Some recruiters reject candidates who don't write a cover letter. What is an applicant to do? Write a short, well written, cover letter that is clearly written in response to the position being applied for. A couple of short paragraphs are all you need. Those who like cover letters will read and understand why you applied. Those who don't read them will ignore them anyway.

9) Do research. You may have been the Chief Vice-President of Bottle Washing for World Wide Bottle Washing but if you're applying for a position as a Temporary Glass Enclosure Technician the recruiter may not make the connection. What terms are currently in vogue? Don't know. THEN FIND OUT and make sure they are on your resume. People exiting the military are experts at this. They know and understand that people outside of the military don't have a clue about the jargon used in the military. They translate their resumes to be understandable to the corporate recruiter. Smart.

10) If you send the same resume and cover letter to every opportunity then you really need to think about that. Yes, it's hard work targeting each and every response. The alternative is that you'll spend your days emailing resumes with little or no response.

Take to heart these 10 points and think about them before you hit the send button each time you apply for a position. Please let me know what differences you experience as a result. Thanks for reading.

Views: 4

Tags: how, job, resume, to, write

Comment by Daisy on October 21, 2008 at 1:17pm
Great post!
Comment by Simon Meth on October 21, 2008 at 1:26pm
Thanks Daisy!
Comment by Dan Nuroo on October 22, 2008 at 9:05am
I think it needs to be remembered that a resume is a sales document. The product is YOU! The resume must gain the interest in the perspective reader, like when we all write advertisements, the 2 most important things to remember are the "What's in it for me?", ie what does the Recruiter get out of reading your cv, hopefully a closed requisition and a happy hiring manager, and of course the "SO WHAT" clause. if your resume goes on and on, mentioning the facts that in 1986 you were school captain of your grade school, how your cat got first prize in the competitive 1990 best whiskers competition and that your Great great Grandfather drank the second ever coca-cola ever poured, it will probably be a little too long and not relevant to the person reading and will most likely get filed in that recycling file. :)

I also always recommend using some old fashioned techniques, like picking up the phone and talking to the Recruiter first, setting the scene as it were to get some excitement about your resume before it even arrives. Be prepared with intelligent questions, calling up with a "I'm calling about the XYX job" won't cut it. Have something to say, you need to stand out. I see i've been blurting again. sorry, just my 2 cents...
Comment by Simon Meth on October 22, 2008 at 9:25am
Hi Dan,

Nice blurt . I agree with you 100%.

Thanks,

Simon

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