Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WARNING! Bad Résumés Can Be Hazardous To Your Wealth! - Part Two

If you have sent out dozens (maybe even hundreds) of résumés and not even received a nibble, then something is wrong with your résumé, it needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed, NOW!

Professional résumé writers know that a résumé should be long enough so that it provides a concise, adequate, and accurate description of an applicant's employment history and skills. They understand that a résumé is a marketing tool in which the content should be adapted to suit each individual job application and/or applications aimed at a particular industry. Gone are the days when job seekers are able to circumvent the job application process and reach potential employers through a direct e-mail contact and résumé blasting.

A résumé, whether electronic or on paper, is what makes the “first impression” on recruiters or hiring managers who are screening candidates. Similar to a product advertisement, a résumé will either draw the reader in and generate interest OR be skimmed, ignored or even generate a negative reaction.

In this difficult economy, with thousands of applicants for every job opening, candidates must stand out from the competition. With a well-written, well-designed, powerful résumé, a job seeker will get more calls, be granted more interviews and find a new job faster.

  • Time is money for both the job seeker and the recruiter, ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) is one more gate-keeping tool used by HR recruiting professionals . Humans never read the majority of résumés. The majority of résumés sent to employers via e-mail are scanned by ATS that enables the electronic handling of company's recruitment needs. This software is used to store and retrieve job information, as well as identify and matched applicants to the specific positions.


  • Recruiters Don’t Have Time For Bad Resumes. Even if you have outstanding qualifications, recruiters don’t have the time to read between the lines of a poorly written resume or try to search for the “good stuff”. They are likely sifting through hundreds or even thousands of candidates for every job opening. They are likely to only read the top third of the first page of your résumé (the part which shows up job the computer screen without scrolling down) - your summary of qualifications and your most recent company and position. A single typo, a run-on sentence, bad grammar, unclear job descriptions and missing accomplishments are all examples of résumé poison.


  • Writing Résumés Require a Specific Set of Skills Writing and formatting a résumé, just like writing and designing an advertising campaign, requires a specific set of skills, knowledge and techniques.
    Professional résumé writers possess the following:

    1. A strong understanding of both business writing and promotional writing

    2. A strong knowledge of the English language, grammar, sentence structure and related rules

    3. A good eye for design and layout options

    4. A good understanding of résumé writing best practices, standards, keywords and trends

  • Résumé Writing Requires Objectivity. When you are writing about yourself and your own experiences, it’s difficult to be objective. In most cases, job hunters who write their own résumé are inclined to downplay their skills and experience; they don’t use powerful, descriptive words and leave out key accomplishments. A professional résumé writer will know the best ways to highlight your accomplishments, promote your work experiences and play up your skills and education.


  • Professional Résumé Writers Know The Power Keywords & Industry TermsIf you are reading this article, you probably found it through an on-line keyword search. Perhaps you went to Google and typed in “Should I hire a résumé writer?” or went to Yahoo and typed “What are the benefits of professional resume writing?” When you did that, the search engine recognized specific keywords and led you to this article.


  • Recruiters will use this is the same method to find your résumé. If you are job hunting you should have your résumé posted on the big job websites such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. and have a profile on LinkedIn.com. Companies that are hiring, pay to get access to these resume databases and use a keyword or content search to find candidates.

    If your résumé includes the valid or most relevant keywords that recruiters use to find candidates in your area of expertise, your résumé will come up in results. If your résumé has very few of those keywords, you will come up at the bottom of the search results.
    For example, a job title of, “Computer Programmer” could also be “Visual Basic Programmer” or “Visual Basic Coder”. A professional résumé writer would identify the keywords used in the industry and incorporate them throughout your résumé content.

  • You Can Focus on Your Current Job or Other Job Hunting Activities While They Write
    Hiring someone to write your résumé will free up your time to focus on other job hunting activities.


  • These activities should include leveraging online social networking on websites such as Linked In or Twitter. Attending face-to-face networking functions and industry events. Researching target companies in your geographic region, and, leveraging online job search websites such as Monster.com, Careerbuilder, Yahoo Hot Jobs and Craigslist.


The bottom line is that when it comes to your future, remember that old adage of, “Penny wise and pound foolish.” A powerful, well-written résumé will get a recruiter's attention, generate interest in you and your qualifications, and has a much higher chance of getting you to the interview stage. A weak or poorly written resume will have the opposite effect i.e., directly to the “no” pile or folder. So, do yourself a favour and hire a pro!


Copyright © 2010, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved.Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2010, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of Mary Salvino.“Career Matters” is a blog hosted by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career Planning.com. This blog is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at Mary.Salvino@shaw.ca