For about 99% of us, nothing will be more crucial to our finances and money design than landing a great job. And for most working professionals, that will all start with getting picked for the interview. As someone who has done a great deal of interviews in his day, there are a great deal of resume screening tips and other things I can confess to you about the whole process.
Do you agonize over creating the perfect resume? If you do, that’s great that you’re taking the job prospect so seriously. But you might be disappointed to learn that going above and beyond with your resume doesn’t usually add a whole lot to your chances for an interview. In fact, the extra investment may yield very little return.
Resume Screening Tips From Someone Who Does It Often:
If you’ve been in the work force for very long, what I’m about to tell you probably won’t shock you. But if you’re newer to the job market, prepare to be a little disappointed.
While we’d like to believe that our resume is being read by the VP on the 16th floor of some skyscraper. But as many managers can attest to (especially from smaller companies), they’re just simply not. In fact, they’re probably read very quickly by someone who wears several “hats” at the company and probably has very little time for resume screening or let alone a thorough read. Plus when your resume gets sent in with 100 other ones that day, your chances of a detailed review while I still have all my regular job duties to do make it even less likely.
But fear not. From every cloud there is a silver lining – and my silver lining here is to provide you with my resume screening tips for what I actually notice when looking at them:
1. I’ll probably spend about 30 seconds looking at your resume.
And then I won’t give it another thought. So make sure you highlight near the top the things you want me to see, and make the achievements you want me to know about convenient to find. Don’t hide what I’m looking for in long, drawn out sentences. I’ll probably never find it.
2. I won’t read your resume if it’s just a giant block of text.
I need to get some people hired, not read Pride and Prejudice. Although its taboo to leave a lot of white space on your paper, don’t overdo it by having no margins, no spacing, no bullets, and run-on sentences that last forever.
3. Your resume is going to be one page, whether it really is or not.
Since I have limited time for resume screening and to make a decision, I’ll probably only look at the first page. And that’s it. So if you want to go longer than that, good luck. I hope you put all your good stuff on the first page.
4. I don’t care about your objective.
I know why you sent in your resume – because you want the job! I see this time and time again in other resume screening tips for recommendations to still have this. But honestly my eyes just skim right over them. Funny story – One time someone did write their objective to read “to not have to work at Starbucks anymore”. Although that was a little funny, no one is going to take you seriously smartass.
5. I’m probably not going to read your cover letter.
Refer back to Items 1, 2, and 3 to see why. When I’m resume screening dozens of applicants, I probably won’t have time. Again, I know it’s very proper for some jobs and still highly recommended, but I usually never read them. Most just end up being a derivative of something they copied off the Internet.
6. Your buzzwords do not impress me.
Holy cow! You’re a “team player”. You have “great written and oral skills”. You’re a “quick learner”? Guess what? So were the people in the other 100 resumes I read today. Try to be a little more original, and demonstrate it through achievements.
7. Nor am I impressed by your ultra industry-specific jargon.
I don’t know what your SMART certificate is, or what your Six Sigma Blue Belt stands for. And I probably will never find out because this information is useless to me unless you write something next to it to help me infer how it will be helpful for me.
8. Accomplishments are great, but tell me how I can use them.
It’s great that you held certain job titles or hit certain sales figures, but don’t forget to phrase this gold in a way that will give me an idea of how this could be useful.
9. I’ll notice you’ve had 5 jobs in the last 5 years, so you may want to explain yourself.
Whenever I’m resume screening, this is a dead give-away of someone who has had some trouble. So if the trouble wasn’t your fault (a contract position ended, the company dissolved, etc), you may want to list it.
10. Don’t look like an idiot on Internet.
The last stop before I pick my resume and actually call someone is to do a Google search and see what I find. So if your Facebook picture is you wearing a Marijuana shirt or being drunk in public, it might sway my decision. Use some common sense.
Readers – What are some of the best resume screening tips you’ve ever received? Have you ever gone to the interview only to have someone really grill you on your resume? If you also look through resumes, what do you usually consider a red flag?
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