Imagine that you are an employer that has recently run a print or online job ad. You are short-handed, behind schedule, and now find yourself inundated with hundreds of resumes in response to a single job opening. Your first priority is to begin eliminating applicants. But, there is no way you can manage to read every single resume. So, what will you do?
Like most employers or recruiters in this trying situation, you will probably hastily scan each resume to see if it merits further consideration. The majority of applicants will quickly be rejected.
However, not every candidate whose resume ends up on the reject pile is a poor fit. Perhaps it is the candidate’s resume that simply doesn’t make the cut. A resume is not just an inventory of past jobs or education. It is an essential marketing document. A poorly written resume is lifeless and uninteresting. It will not move the employer to action.
Think about the compelling brochure or clever television ad that motivated you to make your last purchase. Your resume must have much the same effect on potential employers to be effective. Its sole purpose is to get you to the next step in the hiring process -- being invited for an interview.
Start by objectively assessing your resume. How does it rate? If you were a busy employer with hundreds of resumes to review, would it catch your attention? If not, it is time to administer CPR: Connection. Perspective. Resonance.
1.) Create a clear connection. Employers and recruiters are faced with a daunting task. They must assess whether a candidate would be a good fit for the job based on a 30-second or less review of the candidate’s resume. In that initial glance the employer or recruiter is likely looking for the hard (or technical) skills and experience that were outlined in the ad or job description.
A cover letter is essential to making a clear connection between the skills, experience, abilities, and training that the employer has requested and what you have to offer. Use your cover letter to create a seamless bridge between what the employer needs and your skills and experience.
Some employers skip right to the resume. So, be sure to include a profile or summary of qualifications in the top one-third of your resume. The profile is typically a bulleted list that highlights experience, training, and skills that relate directly to the job applied for. This helps the reader to quickly make the connection between your assets and their needs.
2.) The proper perspective. Making a clear connection in your cover letter and resume begins with the proper perspective. You are the subject of the cover letter and resume, but it is all about the employer. Create your cover letter and resume with the employer’s perspective in mind.