Many job seekers mistakenly believe that their old resume that worked years ago is going to work again in today’s job market. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Due to the shear volume of resumes employers receive, many recruiters and hiring managers have opted to automate their hiring process. Rather than read each resume, the vast majority of companies require that job seekers upload their resumes into a database (that often contain hundreds perhaps thousands of resumes from other candidates).
Hiring managers then use industry related keywords to filter and identify those candidates they feel are likely to be most qualified for the position. The more keywords they find in your resume the more likely it is your resume will be printed and actually reach the hands of the hiring manager.
You can drastically improve your response rate by creating targeted resumes that are focused on the needs of the employer.
One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is that they want their resume to be general enough to be used for a variety of unrelated jobs. When you focus on your past rather than the needs of the employer your resume is likely to simply disappear into their vast black hole of a database.
In addition to targeting your resume, it is imperative that you quantify your professional accomplishments whenever possible using numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages. This information allows you to differentiate yourself from your competition and gives the hiring manager an idea of both the level of responsibility that you’ve held, as well as your success in your previous positions. The goal of your resume is to “Wow!” the employer and convince them that they will miss out on the best candidate if they don’t pick-up the phone and give you a call.
Many polls show that only one or two typos can be enough to disqualify a candidate from consideration. In fact, I’ve had the experience of working with one job seeker who had actually been offered a job and the resume was supposedly just a formality. After reading the job seeker’s attempt at a self-written resume, which highlighted his poor organizational and written communication skills, the employer actually rescinded the job offer.
If you aren’t sure what is required on your resume in order to capture the hiring manager’s attention – this probably isn’t a good time to experiment. Study recently published resume and cover letter books. If spelling, grammar, or typing isn’t your area of expertise, it is a good idea to seek the help of a certified resume writer.
(When hiring a professional, always ask to see samples of the writers work. If they refuse it is time to cross them off of your list.)
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