As part of writing a book, I’m doing a lot of research on what recruiters want – actually interviewing them. It has been very interesting!
This is part of what I’ve discovered about resumes:
To increase the probability of making it through the review process, customize the resume to the opportunity being sought, and don’t neglect “social proof.”
1. One resume is no longer appropriate for all situations.
If you are trying to use the same resume to reach everyone, rethink your approach because you are at a disadvantage in the current job market.
Your resume needs to – very quickly (less than 10 seconds) – show the reviewer that you have the skills, experience, and accomplishments they need in the person to fill their job opening. That means discarding everything that isn’t relevant to that specific job. Not because it isn’t true or isn’t important, but because - in this situation – it isn’t immediately and obviously relevant.
Here’s how to do that…
Extraneous details (unless you’ve won a Nobel prize) will get in the way of showing you are a great candidate for their job. So focus your resume on each opportunity and, preferably, each employer:
- Put their job title at the top of your resume, below your name, like Susan Ireland has done in this sample resume (a new tab will open when you click on the link).
- Create a Summary section at the top of your resume, and highlight your accomplishments and experience that meet – or exceed – the requirements of their job, as in Susan’s sample resume.
- In the rest of the resume, list in chronological order, the jobs you have held and the accomplishments and experiences you have had in that job that are directly relevant to the job you are targeting.
2. You need to create, and maintain, a “master resume.”
The master resume documents your entire work history, your education, and other accomplishments associated with your skills in doing a job. It is the source document you use to create the resumes you customize for each opportunity (a.k.a. “target resumes” described in # 1, above).
Read how to create your master resume for more information on creating your master resume and using it as the basis of your LinkedIn, and other, online profiles.
3. Keep your resume in sync with your LinkedIn Profile.
Social proof is increasingly important. If your resume makes it past the first screen, many recruiters compare your resume with your LinkedIn Profile to look for supporting information and also to see if there are discrepancies
- Are the employment dates the same for that well-known employer?
- Is the job title for that important job the same on your Profile as on the resume you submitted?
- What degree do you have?
Also, to be most effective, be sure your LinkedIn Profile includes:
- A good professional-looking head shot photo of you by yourself (not in a group or with your baby or puppy) greatly increases the effectiveness and credibility of a LinkedIn Profile. If a photo is not there, people wonder why – is the account not a real person’s account? And, if it IS there, it makes the Profile more “real.”
- Recommendations on LinkedIn. They can be very helpful. Hopefully, you will have one or two for each job you’ve held, and that may increase your credibility for the job you want.
4. Keep your public persona in sync with your resume.
Have a “professional version” of your name (perhaps using the formal version of your first name and adding your middle initial). Use that name on your resume and also on all of your professional visibility online – your LinkedIn Profile, your Indeed Resume, etc.
Yes, most employers and recruiters do an online search of your name. They think of it as a fast and cheap background check. This can cause major problems, mostly around inappropriate use of social media (Facebook sharing of too many sleazy photos or stories about partying hard).
The search can also cause a major problem with mistaken online identity – someone else who has the same or a very similar name doing something inappropriate. Be sure to claim a “clean” version of your name (Google it first to see if someone else has damaged it or is using it already in a related field), and use it for your “public” online activities.
If you feel you must post those sleazy/fun photos on Facebook, at least use a different name from your public name.
Bottom Line: Resumes Have Changed!
Effective job search has changed substantially with the bad economy, which increased competition, and the increasing use of social media. The change in the way resumes are used is significant, and seems to catch many people by surprise. Keeping up with the changes will help you be more successful in your job search efforts.
© Copyright, 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.