Feature: Your Resume Won’t Get You a Job

Feature: Your Resume Won’t Get You a Job

Feature: Your Resume Won’t Get You a Job

Resumes are the bane of our existence. Unless you’re a masochist (or a professional resume writer), developing a resume is an experience that most resembles a root canal. We tolerate the process, however, because we believe that the document will open the door for us to a new or better job. And, that’s simply not true. Your resume is a ticket to nowhere for most employers.

So, why bother? Because developing your resume is only step one in presenting your credentials. Step two is tailoring your resume for each position to which you apply. In other words, in today’s job market, a resume is useless unless it’s written expressly for a specific employment opportunity.

The good old days of sending off a generic resume with a cover letter that emphasized the relevant points for an opening are gone forever. Recruiters would tolerate that approach in the old world of work because they knew that modifying your resume was a tedious and time-consuming activity. You prepared the document on a device called a typewriter, and modifying it was like re-chiseling a statue.

Today, of course, that’s no longer true. Recruiters know that your resume is now written on a word processor, and that device makes it easy to modify the document. So, they expect you to do just that. Indeed, they use the presence or lack of tailoring as an evaluation criterion. From their perspective, anyone who is unwilling to invest the time and effort to put their best foot forward in their resume is probably also unwilling to make a contribution to their organization. And that perception is the kiss of rejection, regardless of how qualified you may actually be for an opening.

What modifications are likely to cause a recruiter to notice your resume and evaluate it favorably? I think there are two key rewrites you should perform.

Vocabulary.

Most recruiters are not experts in the fields for which they recruit. They aren’t engineers or sales professionals or scientists; they’re recruiters searching for that kind of talent. So, what do they do? They look for certain specific words on a resume to indicate a person is potentially qualified for their opening.

They obtain those keywords from hiring managers and then search their resume database to find any documents that contain them. Since computers can only identify exact word matches, even highly qualified candidates will be overlooked if their vocabulary isn’t the same as that of the hiring manager.

How can you determine what words they’re using? Look at the recruitment ad or job posting and any other content provided by the organization. Then, translate your vocabulary into the words and phrases it uses, making sure that you don’t exaggerate or misstate your credentials.

Content.

Recruiters are very busy people. Most are handling a number of openings simultaneously. They don’t have the time, therefore, to wade through a lot of extraneous information to find the details that would make you a prime candidate for a particular position.

So, make it easy for them to recognize your relevant credentials. Remove any information that isn’t directly related to the opening for which you are applying and amplify on that related information so that it is as complete and compelling as you can make it.

Then, pick the five or ten strongest aspects of your record for the job and highlight those in bullets at the top of your resume in a “qualifications summary.” Put this summary directly below your name and contact information, but above the body of your resume. Recruiters don’t read resumes; they scan them, at least in their initial review. This positioning makes sure that you lead with your strength and that the recruiter will actually see it.

Tailoring your resume for each position to which you apply clearly takes a lot more time than just forwarding the same old, generic document over and over again. In the good old days, job seekers were often told to mail out 500 or more resumes as landing a job was a numbers game. Today, however, numbers matter less than precision. The more precise your fit with an organization’s open position, culture and mission, the stronger your perceived qualifications as a candidate.

So, you have a choice. You can send out lots of resumes or apply for lots of openings posted on job boards using a generic resume and get lots of rejections (or more likely, hear nothing at all). Or you can tailor your credentials and apply for a smaller number of positions and likely hear back from at least some of them. Think of it this way: a tailored resume works, a generic resume means you don’t.

Thanks for reading,

Peter

P.S. Commit an Intentional Act of Kindness. Do something special for a friend or colleague in these difficult times. Tell about them WEDDLE’s newsletter. It’s the best advice they’ll never have to pay for!

This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is the “must read” new publication for professionals on the move.

Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for.

So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.

Section Two: Site News You Can Use

WEDDLE’s Research, a division of WEDDLE’s LLC, released a preliminary data set from its upcoming 2009 Successful Job Searching Survey which will be published in January 2009. (For pricing and to order the report, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.) Based on feedback from over 1500 individuals obtained between January and November of this year, the report identifies what works and what doesn’t in today’s job market. In response to the question “In general, which job boards are most helpful?”:

  • 37% of those who participated said niche sites that specialize by career field or industry;
  • 36% said general purpose job boards (e.g., Monster, CareerBuilder.com);
  • 11% said search engines for jobs (e.g., Indeed, Simply Hired);
  • 7% said niche sites that specialize by geography;
  • 5% said job boards at employers’ sites; and
  • 4% said association sites with job boards.
  • Does this mean that you should discontinue using one or the other kind of job board? Absolutely not. WEDDLE’s research has found that the best approach is to use several different sites according to the formula: 2GP + 3N = 1GJ. In other words, to find one great job (1GJ) you should check the employment opportunities posted at two general purpose job boards (2GP) and three niche boards (3N)-one that specializes in your career field, one that specializes in the industry in which you have experience, and one that specializes in the geographic location where you want to live.

    WEDDLE’s publishes the perfect job search tool for hard times-an inexpensive, quick and easy-to-use series of guides to the best job boards and career portals online. Think of them as the CliffsNotes to career success on the Internet. Called WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards, each book includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific career field or employment situation. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineers,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot! Get one for yourself and one for your spouse or partner, son or daughter, friend or colleague or boss. They’re helpful to any and everyone regardless of their years of experience. To order your WIZNotes, call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Order today!

    WEDDLE’s also offers a number of other publications that can help you land the job of your dreams, even in today’s tough job market. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the career fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden job market” online, it details the employment resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Finding a job in the present environment is difficult; finding a great job is even more difficult. Part of the challenge is knowing where to look. With over 50,000 job boards in the U.S. alone, there are lots of places where you can waste a lot of time and effort. How can you avoid that trap? Be a smart consumer. Get the gold standard of job board guides: WEDDLE’s. They will help you identify the job boards that will work best for you. So, don’t delay! Call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here to place your order today.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    EHSCareers.com

    http://www.ehscareers.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Number of jobs: 200+

    Salary levels of jobs: Up to $200K/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 180 days

    Restrictions on who can post: Must be in the environmental/occupational health and safety industry

    Other services for job seekers: Career information, Links to other sites with career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit Today!

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is the “must read” new publication for professionals on the move.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for.

    So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.