Rule #1: A winning resume describes a candidate in terms of what the hiring manager needs. A winning resume is focused on the hiring managers needs, as opposed to the candidates' wants. When a resume is first read by a hiring manager, he or she is looking for words that suggest the candidate might be able to help resolve the hiring mangers' key problem. The candidates wishes and wants are unimportant at this point.
Resumes that generate interviews exhibit these best characteristics:
They show how the candidate can help resolve the hiring manager's needs.
They create interest quickly. Hiring managers and the recruiters who support them don't read resumes, they glance at them; their eyes quickly scan the resume. Well-written resumes generate interest quickly. If readers are not excited about what they see within 5 seconds or so, the resume is toast.
They are written in a crisp and concise style. Brief statements help make resumes easy to read quickly. Resumes are advertisements, not biographies. Readers want to get the message quickly and easily. They are likely to trash massive, densely packaged resumes.
They contain keywords that are relevant to the hiring managers' needs. People and ATS software search resumes for keywords that describe the hiring managers' needs. Extraneous information, like fluff is a turnoff. Fluff is space filling information that does not add to critical needs content. Fluff makes reading more difficult. It includes self-assessing adjectives and common clichés used by many people.
They contain a brief, clearly stated personal brand statement with a marketing 'hook' that excites people to read further. The candidates' objective is the job being responded to; therefore it is redundant to have an objective statement. The hiring manager wants to know what the candidate does, so create a personal brand statement instead of an objective.
They describe the candidates experience in terms of the results of the candidates work. Responsibilities are important but it is the results of one's work that generates interviews. The most effective results are quantified whenever possible. Numbers or percentages grab the reader's attention.
They have a professional appearance. They are neatly organized, with like things neatly aligned and have decent borders, font and font size. Fanciness does not help, particularly when excessive.
They are written using proper spelling and grammar. Poor spelling or grammar is an indicator of carelessness at best and ignorance at worst. It stands out like a sore thumb.
They are compatible with Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software used by companies on the front end of their hiring process. ATS may gag on over 40 possible resume attributes. Writers must understand what generates each of the attributes that cause data extraction issues for the ATS so as to avoid building ATS problems into the resume. ATS may reject qualified candidates because it cannot properly extract their information from the resume.
The takeaway is this:Writing good resumes is not a trivial matter. A compromised resume can extend a job search by many months. A good resume writer will save a candidate many months of lost income by paying attention to differentiating the candidate from his or her competition with a superior resume.
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