Saturday, January 30, 2010

How Effective is your Resume? Here’s how to measure: Best of reCareered

When I’m asked for resume advice, I’ll often first ask…what's your resume’s hit ratio, or response rate?

Usually, this question is answered by the sound of crickets.

It surprises me, especially Finance and Technology professionals whose professional lives revolve around measuring and interpreting data, don’t think to measure the effectiveness of their resume.

Isn’t it natural to track how well your resume works for you?  Here's some easy ways to track this important metric - resume response rate.

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At a minimum, couldn’t you easily track how many callbacks, interviews, and offers each version of your resume generates?

An effective resume generates a 15-20% direct-employer (non-headhunter, non informational interview) resume response rate.

If you’re getting less, then your resume works against you. But most job changers don’t have a clue how to measure this. When I help them measure, most candidates I talk to think their resume is good, yet currently have a resume response rate in the 0-5% range.

There are two alternatives I’d suggest. One is a do it yourself solution, and the other is a web service.

Do it Yourself: Build a spreadsheet to track results of your resume. List date sent, company, contact person (if known), source, next follow up, and check boxes for Phone screen, Interview, 2nd Interview, Offer. Include a column for notes.

Keep a running average of in-person interviews (exclude recruiter interviews and informational interviews)/total resumes sent.

Make sure not to double count interviews if you multiple rounds for the same job. It’s a more effective measurement when you only track actual job interviews, and leave outside recruiters and informational interviews out of the equation - While these may lead to a job interview, but they aren't truly job interviews.

Web Service: There’s a great web service called JibberJobber, run by Jason Alba. Jason built JibberJobber as a way to track metrics of his own job search, then started letting others use it. It became so popular, that his promotion through social media caught on and he created a successful web business from the idea.

JibberJobber brings a recruiter’s dashboard to the job seeker. This tool keeps manages job search stats, resume versions, recruiting and job seeking contacts, personal network contacts, and organizes your job search like a CRM organizes a sales forces’ efforts. You can even import networking contacts through social networks like LinkedIN. JibberJobber simplifies your search, can point you in the right direction, keep track of next steps, and best of all, it’s free for a limited version.

Which one to use? It depends on personal preference. While the structured detailed approach of JibberJobber works well for those who are very disciplined, an Excel spreadsheet allows you the free form style of doing it yourself, ability to customize and track the statistics that make the most sense to you, and an unlimited database size for free (JibberJobber charges a small monthly fee once you reach a minimum size).

Either way you prefer, track your resume results. And if your resume isn’t generating a 15-20% direct employer response rate, talk to professionals to get resume advice.

What's your resume response rate?

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