Resumes That Work: 3 Steps to More Interviews

All of us involved with helping you get a new job, whether as third party recruiters or as representatives of a company evaluating you for employment of all receiving hundreds of emailed resumes a day. Having done professional search work for more than thirty years, I have seen both resumes change and how they are delivered change. The change in delivery means that how you think of your resume being seen needs to change too.

1. Few people are really looking at resumes in the traditional sense of pieces of paper. They are looking at screen shots of approximately 1/4 -1/3 of a page per shot and attempting to make decisions based upon a few quick Page-Downs (or PgDn on your keyboard). For this reason you need to think of your resume in a different way than you may have before. Critically examine your resume each time you scroll down. Where does your eye fall? Does it convey meaningful information about your experience for that particular position?

2. Generic resumes are less effective than targeted ones. Only use a generic resume if you are sending out a mass email or mass mail. Where you have a job description to work from, revise your resume to include information about your experience relevant to the particular job. Don’t assume that someone will read your resume in detail, think about nuances and call you to inquire whether you have the relevant experience. Few people have the time to email or call you to find out whether their interpretation of your experience is correct. Make it simple and put it in your resume!

3. For years, if people were going to attempt to forward a resume to an employer directly, I would encourage them to write a three paragraph cover letter. The first paragraph would explain why they were writing (I’m forwarding my resume in response to your ad in . . . for a Java Developer); the second would include several relevant points about their experience that pertain to the job (I believe my 5 years of experience with Java including 2 years of J2EE experience, coupled with my experience with your industry would allow me to be a productive performer within your organization). The third paragraph would extend a hope that they contact you for an interview or might indicate that you’ll be calling with an eye to meeting with them (I look forward to hearing from you about joining your firm . . . I’ll be calling you in the few days about our meeting to discuss my experience and the opportunity you have).

Today, I receive attachments of cover-letters. I never open them and few people I know open them because we don’t have time. Instead of attaching a cover letter, use the message to which you are attaching your resume as a place to write a commercial that pertains to the position.

We encourage people to copy and paste position descriptions into the message area of the email and go point by point and describe their relevant experience so that it is obvious. Sure takes the guesswork out of whether some is qualified, doesn’t it? 🙂

And that is really what you need to do–take the guesswork out of communicating whether you are qualified for a position. It’s one thing to not get an interview because you’re not qualified or because you are asking for too much money; it’s another to fail to get an interview because your resume doesn’t communicate that you have the experience that’s being sought.

Use these tips and watch your interviews grow.

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