First impressions are important. We all know that. Sadly, this important guiding principle is considered only during personal interactions and interviews – and often ignored where it matters most – your resume! You wouldn’t dress shabbily for an interview, right? Then why send an unformatted, cluttered resume? Did you know that, even before you enter the interview room, interviewers have already made their first impression about you, and you may be at a disadvantage from the start. In this fiercely competitive environment, this could make the difference between selection and elimination. Through this post, I’ll talk about the impact of well-written resumes – by hacking hiring manager’s mindset!
As online formal interactions become the norm of the digital world, digital profiles are a necessity. It’s not just about converting the your resume in PDF format and uploading it for online viewing. Are you aware that you need to address the information needs of multiple people in the hiring chain?
In the first round, evaluators spend a mere eight to ten seconds per resume. Resumes that don’t capture quick attention end up in the bin – simply because, when tasked with identifying 50 from a set of 5000, hiring managers, in the first few rounds, are looking for those who do not make the shortlist! With their experience in scanning thousands of resumes, they easily distinguish between boilerplate, cut-copied text and carefully crafted, focused career statements. So don’t use the standard, clichéd phrases from a web search or resume repository. Be your unique self, and you have a great chance to stand out from the crowd.
Next, apart from presenting career and education facts, make the hiring manager’s work easy. Don’t just list your jobs and roles. Steer the hiring manager’s thought process with quantified achievements, credible industry certifications and internship projects, in their order of importance to the organization and role. For developer positions, highlight achievements that demonstrate logical problem solving and ability to proactively identify bottlenecks. Focus on spreadsheet expertise and statistical tools if the role requires analytical capability. If the role demands frequent external stakeholder interactions, highlight presenter awards and debate participations. Avoid achievements that aren’t relevant to the role. These only take up precious real estate space on the resume document, without adding much value.
Well thought out resumes also prepare you for the big day – the interview. Take for instance the dreaded – “what’s your weakness” interview question that catches most candidates by surprise. Interviews ask this question to gauge your level of preparedness. Those who think it out at the resume stage – are better positioned not just to turn the weakness into an opportunity, but also demonstrate ability to think proactively and communicate clearly – two essential attributes for getting hired.
Furthermore, whether you like it or not, your resume’s first interaction may very likely be with a machine and not a person. With thousands of resumes hitting mailboxes every day, most organizations have a system-driven filtering process. So follow guidelines on font, format, size and structure, to get past the system-screening filter. Getting filtered out by a machine would be a tragic end to what could have been a fantastic career break.
Ultimately, you have the best degrees, certifications, skills and attributes. But if your resume doesn’t communicate this, you won’t even make it to the hiring managers’ cabin. Remember, your resume is your personal brand. Craft one that impresses with skills and strength – and gets you hired! Best of luck!
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