The gurus’ will tell you that most HR/hiring managers will only give your resume a 30 second, or so, scan.Â Â
This non-guru thinks you’re lucky if you get 15 seconds.
I’m going to put aside the issue of whether this glance and toss approach by HR folks is fair or not, because at the moment, it is what it is.Â And if that is so, how do you survive the glance and toss (who says I can’t come up with catchy phrases, unless you don’t think glance and toss is catchy…but I digress)?
The most obvious way is to get your resume directly into the hands of the hiring manager, not into the pile in front of the HR pro.Â But that’s not easy, we all know this.
So, here are some of what I think you must be aware of when you put together your resume – issues that will prompt the HR to toss.
1.Â Objective statement.Â I’ve read thousands of resumes in my time and I have to tell you that I think resume objectives are not only worthless but damaging to your cause.Â Telling me your objective in nice flowery words is suppose to do – what?Â Because I could less that you are looking for a position that will challenge you and allow you to maximize your contribution and fully utilize your wealth of experience and blah, blah, blah.Â
Your objective is to get hired.
Putting that vapid, banal paragraph “above the fold” is, in my (little) mind – and humble opinion – a terrible waste of real estate.Â
Now, I do think a summary of qualifications or accomplishments would be helpful.Â I included some of Phil Baker’s recent thoughts on resume objectives below, because I think he’s really talking about a qualification summary, not an objective – irrespective of the article’s title.
2.Â Functional resume.Â The immediate reaction is that there are issues.Â And with a 100 plus resume to go, the HR rep will toss.Â Is it fair?Â No.Â But functional resume have limited value.Â And that value decreases as the work time span increase.Â
A combination functional and chronological resume might survive the glance and toss.Â A strong qualification summary followed by concise work history would be better.
3.Â Location.Â If you live in another state – you might get 10 seconds; if you seem qualified and there’s not a lot of resumes to look at.Â
Frankly, you as an out-of-stater will cost aÂ lot of money to bring on board.Â
4.Â Career Change.Â Most recruiters are not interested in helping you change careers or in helping your find your true calling in life.Â Â If you are applying a position for which you have no direct experience, the HR guy will know pretty quickly and react.
This is not an all inclusive list, obviously.Â I just wanted you to be cognition of the process and some of red flags that are out there.Â
And I wanted to mentioned this because (as I mentioned earlier) Phil has a nice article that he just put out about priorities.Â
His title is about the resume objective.Â But his points are all about what I think are so critical and stress throughout Landing On Your Feet.Â Resumes and Cover Letters are tools.Â And tools only work when you use the right ones for the right jobs – obvious right.Â So many get it wrong.Â I recently wrote that your task is not to craft the perfect resume; it is get that interview and then hired.
Read Phil’s article…
Is Your Resume Objective Fishy?
By Phil Baker,
Creating a cover letter or resume objective for the purpose of getting a job is like going fishing with a knife and fork tied to the end of your fishing line. You might be hungry and wanting to catch a fish for dinner, and will need the fork and knife when you land a fish, but trying to use these utensils as bait is going to leave you hungry.
Have you heard the old adage of putting the cart before the horse? The mindset you need to get a job is not quite the same thinking that will get you interviews. When you are thinking about getting a job while you are cover letter and resume writing you are skipping a step. You are trying to convince an employer to hire you rather than interview you.
Expounding all about yourself and work experience helps you get hired in an interview, just like a knife and fork helps you eat. But you need fish bait to catch fish and you need employer bait to catch employers. Focusing on copy writing sales tactics to get interviews is the bait you need to hook an employer. Great copy writing uses the word “you” far more than the words “I’ or “me.”
Also the bait you need to catch fish might not be the same food you would eat. Fish bait is often crickets, worms, or some strange mixture of foods. Usually fish bait is not what we want for dinner and that is why we are fishing. The same is true of your resume objective. Your goal is to land your dream job and make a paycheck. This is not the employer’s objective. Your resume objective needs to be the bait the employer will bite not necessarily what you like to eat.
Design your resume writing and cover letters to get an interview not a job. While you want to align yourself as the perfect solution for the employer, rarely is anyone hired without a job interview. You need the interview to get the job and you need resumes and cover letters to get interviews. Your writing needs to create enough interest to keep the employer reading and enough desire to make them want to interview you.
The resume objective is the headline on most resumes. You need to attract the employer. If the employer does not see something there that sparks their interest they might not keep reading. Just like a fish swimming by your bait. Lead with your most relevant skills. These are the skills the employer is seeking. Incorporate these into your objective. If you have a relevant and recent certification in a skill the employer is seeking work that into your writing. For example let them know you are waiting with bated breath (pun intended!) to perform your new skills.
Using Pro Bait for Your Resume Objective
Professional copy writers often make the best resume objective and cover letter creators. They understand how to bait the hook. Most Fortune 500 companies hire marketing employees or advertising firms that know how to see the qualities of a product and create the interest and desire that will attract prospects and consumers and get them to buy. Check out advertising titles and subtitles and the features and benefits listed about products. Incorporate your best features and benefits into your resume objective. When you have the right bait the fish will bite. When you have the right words forming the right sentences the employers will call.
A final thought: If you include a resume objective make sure the message is aligned with the communication in your cover letter. If these two conflict that’s like putting different bait for different types of fish on the same hook. Just like a fish, the employer might look but sense something is fishy and reject your inducement.
Copyright 2011 by Phil Baker – “The Hire Authority”
Hyoâ€™s Note â€“ Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator SoftwareÂ ProgramÂ (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com.Â Resume DictionaryÂ might just be the best, free resume resource site out there – jammed with great information and tips on getting your resume water tight and rocking.Â
Other articles by Phil BakerÂ