Let’s face it…writing a resume can be one of the most excruciating things you can do. It can take hours – or days – to choose the right format, figure out your value-add for each and every position, and write the perfect objective that does not make you feel like a simpleton.
But did you know that, in spite of all your effort, the hiring manager will still only look at your resume for less than one minute.
If this upsets you, then put yourself in their shoes for a second…they have been inundated by the hundreds of resumes. They cannot spend 20-30 minutes on each one. Otherwise, it will take years to work their way through the stack, and that is not an effective hiring strategy.
So if you are looking for a job, you need to make sure that the one and only glance your resume gets is effective.
We all scan. When you are shopping — for whatever, clothes, food — you are inundated with so many choices that you resort to scanning. You may not even know you are doing it. As you scan, you are working through a list of “must-haves”. For example, the soup you chose must have “no salt”; the pants you need “must have” pockets for your cell phone. We all have our “must haves”. So do recruiters and hiring managers.
Now, everyone does have their own personal preferences, but there are some commonalities that all hiring managers want. These include:
Location. For many positions, relocation is not possible.
Related experience. If you have been an administrative assistant for your entire career, and the job requires knowledge of graphic design, your resume will be set aside.
Experience mismatch. If you have 10+ of management experience and you want a job as a forklift driver, the hiring manager will probably not pick you. The reverse case scenario is also true.
How recent your experience is. For many who have taken time off, this scenario is very real. Technology changes so fast that someone who takes a break may not have any relevant skills left when they return.
Job hopping. If you quit jobs frequently, there is nothing to give recruiters the idea that you will not quit on them too.
Education. If a certification or degree is necessary, you need to have it.
Therefore, to give yourself your best shot, make sure you:
- Meet the basic requirements for the job. Do not waste the recruiter’s time. It will not help your case.
- Customize your resume. Generic resumes do not meet all the “must haves” for a particular job. This means finding and using keywords from the job posting.
- Explain any gaps of time in a cover letter.
At Snelling, we work with job hunters every day, and we have the resources you need to find your next best-fit job. So visit one of our local offices today, and visit our Resume section on our Candidate Resource Hub for more information on how to write the best resume for the job you want.