My Most Common Resume Advice

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  1. Tim Foster

    My most common resume advice:

    1. There should be lots of $’s and %’s. Employers don’t want a list of your job descriptions. They want to know what YOU did and you need to describe it in a way that they can imagine you doing the same thing for them. In the business world, most achievements are measured by dollars and percentages so makes sure you have lots of them. Like location, location, location is to real estate, $%, $%, $% is to resume writing.

    2. I don’t care how many pages it is. Some people do but you never know which opinion you will run across so make it the length you like best. Just keep in mind that most recruiters will only spend 15-20 seconds scanning it before putting it in the go/no-go pile so make it easy to read.

    3. Don’t put data in the header/footer areas and don’t use tables or graphics. Almost all companies use resume reading software to pull your information into their database. If your name and contact information are in the header section of a Word document, the software can’t always read it.

    4. Try uploading your resume to a job board profile system such as Career Builder. If you can upload it and all of the data comes across correct, you’re good with most employers’ systems too. If things get jumbled up or data is missing, revise your resume until it will upload correctly.

    5. Synch up your resume with your LinkedIn profile. Inconsistent information is a huge red flag and most companies will check out your profile before reaching out to set-up an interview.

  2. Mark Zetter

    Good information Tim.

    Assuming the candidate is on the short list. Will he get the job?

    In my mind, it comes down to fit.

    Only 25% of the decision whether to hire a candidate is based on relative qualifications. A candidate’s background/experience can be looked into and verified/quantified. Assuming the person has relative industry experience…

    Is he motivated? Another 25% of the decision to hire is based on asking yourself ‘will he get the job done?’ This is subjective and there’s no real way to find out except to carry some risk if you hire.

    The remaining 50% of the decision whether to hire is based on company culture/ fit. Does the person fit in our corporate culture? Are his value aligned.

    We both know a lot of qualified people but not all of them have the same approach to, or level of, corporate/emotional intelligence.

    There are a lot of successful companies (when measured strictly by financial metrics) but maybe you don’t want to work with them because the culture is poisoned due to how they might operate.

  3. Tim Foster

    You bring up some good points about qualified vs hirable.

    On average, we see a hiring rate of 1 placement for every 7-8 interviews (including 2nd, 3rd … interviews). Part of the falloff is due to cultural fit and part is due to incomplete job descriptions.

    For the most part, hiring managers enjoy writing job descriptions about as much as you enjoy writing a resume and HR doesn’t always take the time to interview the hiring manager to get the real needs down on paper. I usually say that I don’t know what the real job is until the first candidate is presented. Once they’re faced with evaluating someone, the real needs, wants and don’t wants come out. This can be very frustrating for the job seeker applying to on-line job postings that they believe they are highly qualified for but never receive a response on.

    Rarely do I see companies go back and update the job postings with feedback from the applicant and interview processes details. Earlier this year, I was working with a company that posted a position for a Supply Chain Director just to have a candidate come back from an interview and tell us that the position was really for a VP of Operations. All of the efforts (mostly wasted) from HR were directed at finding SCM Director candidates that completely missed the mark.

    So how can you avoid this? Network and ask questions. Use LinkedIn to try and find someone that recently left that position/company and call them. Take some of what they say with a ‘grain of salt’ seeing that if it was all rosy they’d still be there but in general, most people will take a few minutes to tell you what the job entails. This is also very effective going into an interview as these are the people that will give you honest feedback about the hiring manager’s dos/don’ts likes/dislikes.

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