#1 Reason Your Resume Sucks -
If It's Not On The Resume, It Doesn't Exist
Have you ever been perfect for a position, yet you didn't get a callback?
This is one of the most frequent shortcomings of candidate resumes - they assume that the reader is telepathic.
Hiring managers (and therefore recruiters and HR reps) believe what they see on a resume as the candidate's representation of themselves. Cover letters or marketing pieces are seen as "seller's fluff". In the 15 seconds that the average reviewer spends to make an interview/non interview decision, they are typically making that decision based on one document - the resume.
This is probably one of the reasons that a recent poll I've run over the past two years shows that 97%+ of hiring managers make their decisions based on resumes and ignore cover letters (http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/12/is-your-cover-letter-obsolete-tradition.html). Yet in that same study, 96% (yes, almost the complete opposite) of candidates use cover letters to differentiate their resume, rather than customizing a resume for an individual job.
As an example, back when I was recruiting, I recall talking to a technology candidate. To start the interview, the candidate talked about how upset he was with my firm – he had submitted his resume for a job he was perfect for, and didn’t even get a call. He brought a copy of the ad to show me how close of a fit he was.
When comparing his resume and the job description side by side, I saw that approximately 40% of the criteria listed in the ad were not addressed on his resume. When I asked about each gap, the job seeker gave great answers, clearly stating where he had this experience. After talking to him, he built a strong case why he was a great fit.
I asked him to show me where each of these experiences appeared on his resume. All of a sudden, his eyes demonstrated his understanding … they got wide, and his voice dropped in tone as he said “I planned to discuss this in the interview.” I replied that even the best recruiter isn't telepathic (http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/01/recruiters-and-hiring-managers-arent.html).
The candidate realized that a busy recruiting office or HR department gets thousands of applicants for each job. The job seeker had even implemented Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for his past employers, so he knew how companies set up processes to pre-screen resumes and to centralize the nearly 50% of the resumes that it's own employees receive through their personal networks. Yet, he overlooked how these same systems applied to him as a candidate.
For more information to help you make sure your resume includes all of the experience that is relevant to a specific employer see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/03/if-its-not-on-your-resume-it-doesnt.html.
( Continued ... #2 - Your Resume Is WIFM, Not WIFT ... )
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