Monday, June 19, 2017

3 Resume Tips That Win More Interviews

You can write your own resume..... if you know how. Whether you are a professional resume writer or a DIYer there are some essential things to understand before writing.

A resume is an advertisement all about the job seeker, but it must also respond to the hiring managers' key reasons for hiring, his or her pain. Resumes that can be read easily and very quickly, that have an interesting marketing 'hook' presented early, and have compelling work results statements that are easily found, will generate far more interviews than resumes that lack interest.

Generate interest within 5 seconds. Most people who read resumes, including hiring managers, really don't read them. At best they will spend 5 seconds or so quickly scanning the top third of the first page to see if anything of interest jumps out of them. If not, most often people won't pursue reading further. They are done with the resume. It's a very permanent binary decision; There are no second chances. Therefore writing a resume that quickly generates a lot of interest in an easy to read manner, is one key to resume writing. People who read beyond the first 5 seconds rarely spend more than a half a minute total scanning a resume and only if further information of interest 'pops' out at them quickly.

Densely packaged resumes are forbidding to read. Cramming information into a multi-page resume, using the wrong choice of font and font size and setting narrow margins is likely to cause people to toss a resume without attempting to read it.

White space makes scanning easy: Reduce word count to those relevant few words that respond to the hiring managers' pain. Save the rest for interviews. Culling words enables using an ideal font size such as Arial 12pt with 1 inch side margins making it easy to read. And it focuses the resume on the critical few things that win interviews.

Create work results bullets that generate interviews. The bullets should demonstrate achievements that relate to the hiring managers' key needs to hire. These needs are rarely adequately described  in a job description. It is usually necessary to find out who the hiring manager is and make direct voice contact. There are resources for learning the necessary skills and techniques to do so. For instance among others.

Most people write extensively about their responsibilities and activities. It is true that responsibilities are important, but not nearly as much as the results of one's work. Properly written results statements is another key resume writing skill.

ATS may reject qualified job candidates. Compounding resume writing is Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software used by over 60% of U.S. companies and many other countries. One of the many functions of ATS is extracting resume information it has been told to search for and scoring candidates on a scale of 1 to 10. In most hiring processes ATS 'reads' resumes before a human ever sees them. It forwards only the top scoring candidates to HR where a human will then decide which candidates should be sent to the hiring manager.

There are over 40 attributes that can be unwittingly built into a resume that will cause ATS issues that result in either non-response or outright rejection, regardless of the actual qualifications of the candidate. Since it happens without human intervention, understanding what the 40 attributes are and how to work around them is a necessary skill for anyone who writes a resume.

The takeaway is this: To generate more interviews, write a resume that creates initial interest quickly, write work results bullets that are responsive to hiring managers' real needs, and learn how to avoid ATS rejection.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cover Letter Writing Tips

Why don't people read cover letters?

The answer is simple. Most cover letters are a waste of time to read. They are boring, mundane, self-focused, and don't deliver the right message.

Many people seem unable to write a letter that attracts attention. But that doesn't mean a cover letter that differentiates you from your competition can't be written. Try these guidelines:

Start by making it a business letter.
Give it a header. Using the header of your resume is a great way to tie the two together.
Date it.
Focus it on the hiring manager's pain, not your wants.
Keep it short. Make your message brief, crisp and concise. Capture attention by showing you can get to the point succinctly and concisely.
Be respectful.
Say thank you.

Direct it to the hiring manager by name and title.
There are many ways to get that information. Never address it to "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam" or some other equally impersonal way or you might as well say "Dear Trashcan". As a last resort address it to the manager of HR, not some other HR person, and only after trying hard to find the hiring manager's name.

Focus the letter on the hiring manager's most pressing needs.
Job descriptions do not always prioritize or accurately describe the hiring manager's pain. Make direct voice contact with the hiring manager to learn what the hot buttons are so you can address them in the letter (and resume). Only after trying hard to make voice contact should you try making direct voice contact with the ranking HR manager.

As a last resort use email, but don't be surprised if you don't get a response. Everyone has a delete button. It's far better to spend time prospecting for names, learning how to prepare scripts for making voice contact, and practicing them.

Create an attention-getting opening sentence.
This is where most cover letters fall flat. People tend to write about what they want, their objective, in the first sentence. Simply put, the objective is the job they are applying for, so why be redundant. The hiring manager needs to know why he or she should respond to the letter, and that's not because you want a job. It's because you have described what you can do to help solve his or her key problems (the ones you learned about by talking to him or her).

Don't beg for an interview.
Send a logical reason why the two of you should talk. Don't ask for an interview. Say so in a polite but commanding way like "We need to talk". Don't send a "Please call me, I'm desperate" message.

Be confident.
Don't say things like "I believe I meet the requirements of this job". Saying you "believe" sounds like you are uncertain, not confident in what you say. Show that you "know" you fit by describing how.

Write generalized statements that support your resume. Don't just copy and paste them from your resume. If you waste the reader's time by repeating things verbatim you are likely to annoy them.

Establish rapport.
Align yourself with the company. Show them you've researched them, you understand them and have something in common with them. Show them you and they are alike.

Finish by using a sales 'close'.
Sales may not be your profession, but as a job seeker you are now a salesperson. Set their expectations that you will follow up within a specific time, and then do it.

Say thank you.

Whatever you do don't forget to be polite and respectful of their time.

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