Image Source (My first attempt at photoshop and it took about 30 minutes!)
As a recruiter, I’ve had quite a few friends seek my input when it comes to preparing their resumes or prepping for an interview. Research shows that as millenials, we plan to change positions every 2-3 years, which means majority of my friends will be on the job-hunt soon. I look at resumes all day, everyday. While some resumes are so beautiful they deserve to be displayed in The Recruiting Hall of Fame Museum, others with the same experience, are like looking at a pre schooler’s proud attempts at coloring in the lines.
When I see a resume, my eyes go straight to the most recent position listed and start dissecting from there. Once I read the company name, I often look for a brief company description. While I like to think of myself as knowledgeable of most US companies, there are simply too many. There’s a big difference between a $30M and a $30B company and the same role looks different at each. Make sure to clarify. I had a hard time with this because in my self centered universe, everyone knew what Teach For America was on my resume. Then, I started networking and was asked more often than I expected to explain my two-year commitment to teaching. (While I thought people who hadn’t heard of TFA had been living in a different century and clearly weren't a good fit for me since they weren't passionate about education, that is not how networking works and I had to add the description to my resume.) Once I have an understanding of the company and hopefully did not have to resort to Google due to the lovely company description you provided, I move on to the job title, which helps me to identify a potential candidate. Executive Assistant applying to a Human Resource Manager position supporting 1,200 employees, probably not going to happen. But a HR Generalist supporting 800 employees, has potential. Next, I jump to dates! Dates are simple yet so telling. How long has the person been with their current company? Are they a job hopper with an eighteen month limit before they start looking again? Why is there this gap in experience? Have they been promoted three times in the past five years? So many details from the dates I could go on endlessly! I also recommend including months as well. Saying that you were in a position from 2013 – 2014 can mean a lot of things. Was it December 2013 to January 2014 or January 2013 to July 2014? Please don’t leave me wondering. Once I have reviewed the basics, I may read one or two bullet points from your very well planned, powerful phrasing of your resume. I also do a quick scan over to education to make sure you meet the educational and certifications requirements of my client. Sadly, once you’ve landed that first job out of college, no one cares about your GPA that you spent so many nights in the library working to improve. Go ahead and take that off, it gives your resume a more mature vibe. Lastly, if I am skimming a resume, I enjoy reading about the occasional volunteer activity or organization that you are a part of outside of your career. To me, it gives the candidates a bit of a personality and less of a name on a paper scenario. I also enjoy finding similarities and topics of discussion outside of career history for interviews. If I find all of the above to be intriguing, I will give you a call and that my friends is for a different post!
Before I completely leave the topic of resumes, I thought I would share a few things to avoid. In effort of full transparency, I have never read a cover letter or an objective on a resume. I know, it’s depressing. I myself have spent hours carefully crafting cover letters so that they were both personal and professional and now, I don’t even read them. My last tidbit of advice goes to the formatting. I know Word comes with some fancy resume templates that you can use. Avoid them. Often times, once you press send they lose their presentation and a recruiter opens up the previously mentioned preschooler attempt at coloring in the lines. Also, avoid using the header feature. Most companies use some type of applicant tracking system that scans resumes into the system and sometimes, the lovely scanner, will not pick up your name if its in a header. So instead of being Danielle Leach, you become “Relevant Experience.” You can play in Word with margins, bold, italics, underline, font sizes and make a resume that opens beautifully on every computer without the fear of becoming “Career Objective” to your future employer.
Hopefully, you found this helpful. I plan to share more of my recruiter insights in the upcoming weeks. If you’re in the market, happy hunting! Always feel free to contact me for any advice.