Job seekers are rarely privy to some of the most important facts about the résumé and the secrets they need to know if they hope to conduct a successful job search in this technologically advanced labor market. Have you ever heard that “knowledge is power”? It helps to knowing what a potential employer will look for in the résumé, but if you cannot make it through the screening process of the applicant tracking system, the traditional or pretty-pretty version of your résumé is virtually useless. Consider some of these common tips as you prepare to tackle the job search, and navigate the online application process.
How often have you heard this statement when reading guidance or talking about writing your Résumé: ‘There is no one size fits all’? Ever wonder what people are talking about? That phrase starts to make much more sense when used in conjunction with discussions about ATS or Applicant Tracking Systems (also referred to as talent management systems). This phrase (no one size fits all) does not apply to the traditional version of the résumé. However, it totally applies to the version you use to apply for job opportunities online. If you intend to conduct your job search via the internet, you must have an Online – ATS Compatible Résumé (ACR), to tackle online application programs. The ACR is a living breathing document and needs revisions to fit each job announcement, especially if you want the computer program (talent management system) or ATS system software to properly interpret and quantify your experience level for a potential employer.
The actual hiring authority is not the first to receive and review your résumé. First, the résumé has to make it through the computer screening process. Then Human Resource representatives perform quality control to weed out those less than qualified applicants and select the best qualified. If not eliminated during the screening process, your will receive further review by the decision maker(s).
The best résumé does not always get you hired. You may qualify for the job, even exceed the qualifications, however employers entertain a multitude of considerations when making a decision. Compensation, location, availability, potential for advancement, longevity, training budgets, etc., there may also be times when an employer will advertise a position to meet basic requirements of law, and already have in mind someone to fill the position. Do not get discouraged!
One, simple typographical error may eliminate your résumé from consideration. That is a scary fact, but true. Employers screen for attention to detail, as do their reviewers. Especially when considering applicants for administrative positions. Proofread, once, twice, three times, and again; get help from others.
Spelling and the ability to write without grammatical errors is essential. You may be the best at what you do, but if you cannot spell, or you tend to write the same way you speak, you may consider having someone else prepare your résumé for you. Start your sentences with the words that reflect you wrote them. If we talk about ourselves, we tend to say “I improved, I initiated, I implemented, I generated, I excel, I exercise” etc. All you have to do is delete the “I” when you write your bullet statements or paragraphs. If you start sentences with words that end with an ‘s’ like serves, initiates, implements, generates, improves, exhibits, or creates; it appears as if the narrative was compiled by someone looking in from the outside and speaking about you. Your résumé is your introduction, and you want the first impression to be positive, and effective.
Honesty is the best policy. Seasoned résumé reviewers are renowned for being able to see through wordy attempts to inflate experience and proficiency. You do not have to sound perfect, but you do have to portray your relevant skills and get to the point quickly. If you have to stretch the truth, then maybe the position is not right for you.
Objective statements may result in elimination from consideration.
Point One – Do you really think an employer cares what your objective is? Unless your objective is exactly what the employer’s objective is – you should refrain from stating yours.
Point Two – Objective statements are typically associated with entry-level candidates, those with very little work experience or just entering the workforce.
Point Three – Use the term Summary for any online application. Use terms like professional profile for the traditional version of the résumé.
Point Four – Emphasize your areas of expertise in the summary rather than a separate section and mention the industries you have worked.
Too much information can be as detrimental as not enough information. It pays to research the company, the hiring authority, and the boss. Your credentials may very well exceed those of the person you are trying to get to hire you. Your personal interests and/or views may not reflect those of theirs. The goal is to get your foot in the door for an interview. Carefully consider the content in your résumé.
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