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Straight Advice from a Fortune 500 "Gatekeeper"

By Rosa E. Vargas

Do you know what recruiters desire in the ideal job candidate? It often feels it's just impossible to determine, doesn't it?

When I recently interviewed recruiter, Audrey Chenoff of Starpoint Solutions, my intention was to not only investigate what recruiters look for when screening job candidates, but, also to bring that information to you with actionable steps.

Therefore, you will find my recommendations after each question and answer.


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Q: How is recruiting for a Fortune 500 corporation different?

A: When I recruit for a Fortune 500 company, I scan to see if the job seeker has worked for a recognizable company. Another Fortune 500 company would be ideal. It is important that the job seeker have that type of experience in order for me to present them for a position.

Recommendation:

There is not much you can do about sidestepping lack of experience with a Fortune 500 corporation.

Yet, perhaps counteracting this lack of Fortune 500 exposure in a cover letter would be a great tactic. More importantly, ask yourself, why do you want to work for a Fortune 500 company? What are your goals with your personal job search? Pay? Work/life balance? Location? (Sometimes what we desire is closer than we think or packaged differently.)

If you have worked for a Fortune 500 company then you need to make the companies prominent on the resume. While most Fortune 500 corporations are recognizable, it cannot hurt to add a snippet about the company's profile (especially if they are not Fortune 500 but a reputable organization).

Also, don't bury those company names on the second page of a resume. You should always begin employment on the first page, especially if listing Fortune 500 corporations will give you an advantage in your job hunt.

If you worked for a Fortune 500 company a long time ago but it's not your latest employment, refer to that Fortune 500 employment in the resume's summary or in a cover letter.

Q: What other important aspects are you scanning for on a resume?

A: Stability in employment: no gaps, technical skills, similar job titles.

Recommendation:

First, create a resume that immediately displays your career chronology (after a brief Profile or Summary). Second, if technical skills are important for you to perform your job, place technical skills on the first page of the resume.

Q: What do you dislike seeing on resumes?

A: Personal information (hobbies, marital status, religion, etc.), and a resume that obviously conveys the job seeker has placed very little effort in preparing it. The resume is still an important document. You would not believe how many job hunters leave off vital information that I gather once I call them.

Recommendation:

Leave personal information off your resume. Period.

Next, stand out from those who spend little effort in resume preparation by taking care with your resume. Have others, preferably including a career professional (one from your college, even if you graduated 30 years ago), review it for you to eliminate typos and evaluate the formatting. [See Job-Hunt's Guide to Resumes for more help.]

If you can, hire a professional resume writer to help you, or write your resume with the goal of outdistancing other job seekers who may be qualified, too.

The goal when preparing a modern resume is not only to prove that you are qualified, but to show why you are better qualified than the next candidate.

Q: Where do you source job candidates? Where should job seekers be?

A: LinkedIn is definitely a social networking tool job seekers should be using in their job search.

Recommendation:

If you have not set up a LinkedIn account, do so immediately! No need to sign up for any special job seeker program on LinkedIn right away.

First, complete your profile, include keyword-rich content, make the LinkedIn profile public, and launch your networking efforts. According to this comment, most of the recruiting is done on LinkedIn. Social media is not a fad—it is the new way to communicate and market businesses online—job seeker marketing is no different!  [See Job-Hunt's Guide to Using LinkedIn for Job Search and Guide to Social Media and Job Search for more information.]

Q: Once you have interviewed a candidate, should they follow up with you?

A: I don't mind if a job seeker follows up with me. I know some recruiters don't like it.

Recommendation:

Since some recruiters don't like job seekers to follow up, don't "burn your bridges." Ask the recruiter at the end of the interview if you may follow up with them before you "harass" them on your own volition. [See How to Follow Up after a Job Interview for more ideas.]

Q: What advice do you want to give job seekers who want to enter the Fortune 500 market?

A: Because to Fortune 500 companies experience at that level is important, young job seekers need to invest in internships, attend great schools, and network. Older job seekers need to play up their job stability, and ensure that their achievements are easily detectable on their resume.

Recommendation:

Career marketing begins before graduation. Any new graduate who will soar above the rest would have most likely begun to strategize networking opportunities, personal branding, and internship possibilities before graduation.

For the mature job seeker, I say that there is no other way to outshine a flaw than by overshadowing weaknesses with strengths. Don't lie on the resume. Don't exaggerate. Don't talk gibberish. Do, however, promise that you will execute the job well above the others and earn credibility by highlighting relevant accomplishments.


About the author...

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas, Job-Hunt's Fortune 500 Job Search Expert, is owner of and principle writer for CareerSteering.com. Rosa is also quadruple-certified writer, holding the Master Resume Writer certification (a certification held by only 26 other resume writers, world-wide), Certified Expert Resume Writer, Academy Certified Resume Writer, and Nationally Certified Resume Writer. You can follow Rosa on Twitter at @ResumeService and connect with her on LinkedIn and Facebook/CareerMarketing.


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