Understanding what really happens with your resume and application documents will help you to steer clear of frustration and save you valuable time. So put your creative hat on and look at it from the other side.
Almost every one of my coaching sessions includes some discussion about inefficient resume and candidate screening processes. I feel that I could fill books on the subject but that would be rather boring and serve no one. The whole resume presentation boils down to one simple technique and if you understand and accept this, then you are on your way to success. I am going to let you in on a secret.
The majority of hiring managers and recruiters just want to screen you out, not in, and if you know how to deal with that, you will land your next interview. I suggest you imagine this:
- You’re a busy person and someone in your team has resigned and you need to find a replacement.
- You place a job ad and your inbox gets flooded with applications.
- The longer the job ad remains open the more applications come in – and you will have to sit down to review them.
- Looks like you are going to be very busy for a while!…
- Your other responsibilities don’t magically go away because you have to do this so you try to squeeze time in to do it.
- You might start by carefully reviewing each resume but you soon realise that this takes too much time.
- The more time ticks by, the faster you become at reviewing them.
- You quickly realise that a number of candidates don’t even meet the basic selection criteria for the role. What a waste of your time!
- So, you change pace and you start screening them more quickly – you’ve got to get through these. After all, you have other stuff to do and deadlines that aren’t going away.
- The more resumes you review, the more selective you get until you get to the point that you are just having a quick look to see if they meet the criteria.
- Now it’s:Yes – put it aside for a careful review;
- No – straight into the ‘rejection’ pile. (and you become quite brutal with your short listing based on the selection criteria)
So, how does it feel to be on the other side of the table? It’s not as simple as you thought it is, isn’t it? And the reality is that most good jobs on offer attract a flood of applicants.
So how do you get yourself in the ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ pile?
I think it’s actually very simple and it boils down to 2 simple puzzle pieces:
- ensure you write a resume that answers the advertisement; and
- present it in a clean, clear and easy-to-read format.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Want to know a secret though? The majority of Job Seekers believe that they get screened in and so they write complicated resumes and cover letters, which just increase the chances that they get screened out.
So, my dear Job Seekers and Career Changers, never assume hiring managers or recruiters will figure out that you meet the criteria by reading through your too-long resume or that they will know from a job title exactly what you’ve done. Don’t assume anything!
Imagine for a moment that busy and overwhelmed employer who is looking through a pile of resumes that are missing the mark. Then along comes your resume, presented in a simple, easy to read, clean and clear format, clearly highlighting information from the advertisement that shows them how you meet their criteria. You’ve just significantly increased your chances of gaining an interview.
Does this make sense? I know it does! So don’t get screened out, Get screened in!
Put your creative hat on or get some professional assistance. Think about this the next time you respond to an advertisement – it can mean the difference between an interview and a ‘thanks but no thanks’ email.
Good Luck and remember to hunt wisely!