Tuesday, February 12, 2013

From Trash to Treasure: How to Get Recruiters to Actually Read Your Resume

Have you ever watched ABC’s reality show, The Bachelor? Thousands of women submit auditions just for a chance to get on this popular show. Then, producers scrutinize videos to find 25 flawless female suitors. Just as producers cast for very specific criteria, including charm, style, class and culture, recruiters also look very carefully at candidates’ resumes to find their perfect employee: the hidden gem amongst all the junk.
Recruiters are flooded with hundreds of resumes everyday for any one position. That means, the majority of the time, they are sifting through their scary stacks looking for any disqualification that could narrow down their choices. Resumes are very powerful documents. If written properly, resumes score you that precious interview. If written poorly, resumes never see the light of day and are destined for the dumpster.
The most important advice I can give to job-seekers is to use keywords from the job description on their resume. This seems like a no-brainer, but many people use the same resume for every job that they apply for, even though every company and position is different. Not only does this show laziness on the candidate’s part, but it also shows their lack of qualification. Recruiters don’t have time to waste; make it easy for them to see upfront that you are clearly qualified.
For example, if you want to apply for a pharmaceutical sales job, and the requirements are experience in the pharma field plus an MBA, but you have no healthcare experience and only a bachelor’s degree, should you waste your time and the recruiters? No. Candidates do this all the time: apply for jobs with no industry experience. They seek out their dream job without being equipped with the proper skills and education.  If you truly want to switch careers, go back to school to acquire education in niche fields like pharmaceuticals, radiation therapy, aviation, etc. Take an unpaid internship in your dream field and start networking within the company or field you want to eventually end up in. While working in multiple industries and various jobs shows dexterity and breadth of knowledge, it’s hard for recruiters to gauge what you are good at and hone in on your expertise.
Don’t make it difficult for them by burying your sales experience at the bottom of your resume, and highlighting your marketing successes when you are applying for a sales rep position. While tailoring every single resume to every job position can be time consuming and even frustrating, it will pay off in the end. Instead of sending out hundreds of trash-destined resumes out to recruiters, shoot for a couple of well-thought out and well-written customized resumes daily that truly speak to the intricate needs of the job position.
If you have carefully read the job description and think you would be the perfect fit, tailor your resume and be prepared to back up your claims with evidence: awards, stats, portfolios, references, etc.
Job descriptions are insightful. I read them all the time to see what companies are looking for in my field, and you should do the same to stay competitive.