Resume Russian Roulette

December 9th, 2009 | Resume | 5 Comments »

resumeroulette

So you wrote a great resume, had a mind-blowing cover letter and have all of the required skills but you never received a call.  What now?  Do you drown your sorrows by watching the Bears?  Do you head over to the Eisenhower and try to win a real life game of Frogger? Well don’t do it!  We just need to look at the beginning: your resume.  You thought it was great but is it really?  Let’s find out.

Swallow this little detail: a large number of hiring managers today receive a couple hundred resumes within days and sometimes even hours of posting an open position, with no regard to company or industry.  Of those couple hundred, hiring managers are seeing more custom tailored resumes than ever.  If you have a generic resume to spam out to companies and job postings, you’re playing Resume Russian Roulette.  Every no-call is another shot until it finally kills you.

Simon Schwarz, VP of Options Xpress says, “I’m more inclined to speak with individuals who take the extra 20 seconds to look over the job description and tailor their resume accordingly.”

If you already tailor your resume to every posting then how do you stand out from the ever-growing crowd?

The Objective

objectiveWell let’s start at the top.  Should you have an objective?  Most hiring managers agree that an objective is important but not the type of objective you’re thinking of.  Many hiring managers have indicated that a “personal statement,” a condensed cover letter of sorts, is far superior to your run of the mill objective.

The personal statement or the “why the hell wouldn’t you hire me!?” statement, as I call it, is your vital introduction.  Your resume won’t even get a once over if you don’t grab your reader by the face and never let go.

The traditional “I want to obtain a job in X industry to A, B and C” is crap.  Everyone puts this on their resume, so why should you?  Instead of saying you want a position in X industry tell the reader what role you’re going to be in at their company and how your background will make you successful in that role.  Let’s take a look at an objective for someone applying for the role of Front Desk Manager at a local hotel:

“I want to obtain a management role within the Hospitality Industry to further develop my leadership skills, help the hotel to be more successful and eventually move up to a senior management role.”

Of course you do, but do you have any idea what role this person applied for or where?  Me neither.  Now let’s look at a personal statement for someone else applying for the same role:

“Besides my previous success as a Front Desk Supervisor, due to my personality, attention to details and drive to be the best, I am sure you will find me a great fit for the role of Front Desk Manager at X hotel.”

Now which resume do you want to read?  If you said the first one then you’re the exception to the rule.  For everyone else the second choice is clear.  Your interest has been peaked and you want to find out why and how the person was successful in their previous role.  This is where the meat of your resume comes into play.

The Meat

resume-meatYou’ve whetted the reader’s appetite; now how do you get them to take a bite and invite you to an interview?  The meat of your resume, all of the boring details like “education,” “work history” and “skills,” is your answer.  But we face another issue: if everyone lays out the facts in the meat of their resume, how can I stand apart from the masses?  That’s a great question, let’s answer that and land you an interview!

There are many ways to format a resume, but that’s for a whole other day.  Right now let’s simply focus on how to make the facts stand out from all of the other crap hiring managers see on a daily basis.

Start with some basic research.  A measly 5 minutes to glance over the company’s website can yield some vital information on how to present yourself.  Look for the “About Us” sections and read every line.  Typically this alone will give you enough juicy information to set you apart from the pack.  Look for common themes and buzz words such as, “determination,” “passion,” “integrity” and a host of other ones and write them down.  The company is giving you what you need to make the cut.

If the website has information on the company culture or, better yet, on what they look for in their future employees, pay attention and take notes!  These are blatant clues to what they want to see in a future team member.  Now with that being said if their descriptions don’t match you and what you want to see in a company then you should probably look elsewhere for that next great role.

If they match you and what you’re looking for in a company then take those phrases, buzz words and other clues and inject them into the meat of your resume.  Just as cooks season their food to add flavor and appeal, you too are spicing up your resume to hold the readers attention and invite them back for more.

For example, if a line in your resume reads, “Successfully met monthly quotas 100% of the time” and the company mentions “passion” multiple times then use that to your advantage.  Matching what the company wants and values in their team will make you standout.  Try something like, “My passion to succeed allowed me to never miss a quota.”  You’re still presenting the same fact but with a more tailored approach.  Now you’re matching one of your traits, passion, with a trait the company expects, passion.

 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is take 5 minutes to look over the job posting and browse the company’s website.  With even those 5 extra little minutes, and the following 5 minutes it’ll take you to tailor your resume, you’ll give the hiring manager something to chew on and a reason to invite you in for seconds.

By Matt Haeussler – IT Search Executive at Ashley Ellis


Related Links


How Long Should Your Resume Be?

How to Effectively Use Recruiters in Your Job Search
Bulletproofing Your References in the Hunt for a New Job

5 Responses to “Resume Russian Roulette”

  1. S walker says:

    Completely agree with this article. After having to read through resumes for an entry level position, it’s easy to tell right off the bat who really wants to work for you and YOUR company, vs the person sending out the same resume 100 times a day to whomever has an opening.

  2. Angie Grish says:

    This is a very helpful article for those of us who are entering into the job market. Thank you for pointing out the details, I think job hunting can get really overwhelming and knowing how to stand out is great to know. Thanks!

  3. Richard Perrin PMP SSMBB says:

    Your observations on the resume “objective” are right on target, but for a slightly different reason than the one you suggested. Putting such an objective on a resume tells us what you want, but not what the hiring company wants. Your focus of putting any objective on a résumé is to find out what the hiring company is looking for and how you can best fulfill their needs. In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about them.

    Since a résumé is nothing but sales literature, and the goal of a résumé is to get you an interview, you must tailor your résumé for each individual job submission. this means that you must do some research about the company you are targeting. Five minutes at the hiring company’s website can be useful, but you need to take it a step further. Use whatever social networking is available to you: if you have an account on Linked-in, start asking your connections questions about the company. Look for published articles about the company and gather some in-depth business intelligence. If this is a company you are truly interested in, and your résumé gets you an interview, you will impress the interviewer with how much you know about the company (you might even surprise them by knowing more about their company than they do…!) This is a lot of work, but it pays off.

    Good work Matt! Keep it coming.

  4. Steve says:

    Your observations on the resume “objective” are right on target, but for a slightly different reason than the one you suggested. Putting such an objective on a resume tells us what you want, but not what the hiring company wants. Your focus of putting any objective on a résumé is to find out what the hiring company is looking for and how you can best fulfill their needs. In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about them.

    Since a résumé is nothing but sales literature, and the goal of a résumé is to get you an interview, you must tailor your résumé for each individual job submission. this means that you must do some research about the company you are targeting. Five minutes at the hiring company’s website can be useful, but you need to take it a step further. Use whatever social networking is available to you: if you have an account on Linked-in, start asking your connections questions about the company. Look for published articles about the company and gather some in-depth business intelligence. If this is a company you are truly interested in, and your résumé gets you an interview, you will impress the interviewer with how much you know about the company (you might even surprise them by knowing more about their company than they do…!) This is a lot of work, but it pays off.

    Good work Matt! Keep it coming.

  5. Emily says:

    This is a very helpful article for those of us who are entering into the job market. Thank you for pointing out the details, I think job hunting can get really overwhelming and knowing how to stand out is great to know. Thanks!

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