Well, it’s started. Here we are in 2015 and back to the usual grind, looking for opportunities and hoping for some good news. It might be time to take another look at that resume, dust it off, and see it with the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. What is that resume telling you?
There are lots of theories about resumes out there, but one thing is sure: recruiters don’t spend much time looking at it. That means you don’t have much time to get your point across. It has to be crisp, impactful and give action-packed bulleted accomplishments designed to impress the hardest-hearted recruiter. If you haven’t been in the job market for a long time, even a few years, you may have a rough time with this kind of format.
There are plenty of examples at career sites. Some people talk about a more personal resume, something that doesn’t sound like the person who wrote it was a robot. It’s true that it’s nice to have a personal touch, but what about those recruiters who are sifting through hundreds of resumes, they may not want to know that you’re a beekeeper on the side, or that you can your own tomatoes. Do they want to have a logical chronology of what you’ve been up to? Yes, it has to make sense, be believable, and be relevant to the job at hand.
Now I want to take a moment to consider the plight of the recruiters and HR folks out there who day after day receive totally irrelevant resumes to be considered for jobs. These people have to read all this material. I know, you going to say that applicant tracking systems screen them out. Not for everyone, many companies don’t have these systems. If they do have them, they still will get unrelated resumes that they have to read over. So first of all, make sure your resume is relevant for the job you’re applying for. That might mean you have to tailor it for the actual role you’re targeting.
Think about my friend Javier. He’s very experienced in IT both in the oil industry and in healthcare. His resume has a lot of material, but he needs to put it into a format that companies will recognize. It was written more as a narrative of his considerable career, but how will the poor recruiter be able to sift out the relevant information? Javier’s got to condense his accomplishments and make them relevant to the job he’s looking for.
This is understandably more work than just sending the same resume out there time after time. It will be worth it, because it just might make the difference in the recruiter actually reading through your resume instead of discarding it into the ‘do not call pile’. You can even create a base resume and then add embellishments depending on the job you are applying to. There are ways to make your job easier, even by having a much tailored cover letter specific to the job and the company. So take a break from your new gym routine, and put aside that list of resolutions, and start writing the resume that exemplifies your personal brand.