Where Have All of the Good Résumés Gone?

Résumés are a critical part of the interview process, much to the dismay of many hiring managers and recruiters. The reason? Many résumés are not well-written or formatted, and some are just frighteningly terrible. We will visit this topic multiple times in 2013 as a poor résumé can shut someone down even before they have a chance to interview. Many times, a great person just may not have a great résumé.

Honestly, there are very few times when I see a stellar résumé or CV (curriculum vitae). If it’s not a misspelling, it is either one or more major grammatical errors or it just doesn’t include the right information. Now I am the first to admit that I’ll never win the Pulitzer Prize for writing and that a college English professor might have a lot of fun with my articles. That being stated, I see third and fourth-grade errors on résumés and cover letters almost every day! Small mistakes can equal big problems.

If I truly believe in a candidate, and feel that they may be a good fit for one of my searches, I’ll take the time to make corrections. As a believer in karma, I’ll send a corrected copy back to the candidate-free to use as they wish for the future; all at no charge.

Résumé creation is a multi-million dollar business. Recruiters rarely get involved in this as there are already many good people and companies out there that will do it all for a nominal charge. It’s worth every penny to invest in a professional writer whether or not you’re confident in your writing abilities. This is what these people do for a living. After their 500th résumé design, they’re probably doing something right. The other bonus is that there won’t be any misspellings or blatant grammatical problems due to intensive proofreading. What’s a couple of hundred dollars if it means getting the job that you really want?

Here’s a secret that few people know about: Most viewers of a résumé will spend five to ten seconds maximum scanning the document for key words that are relevant to the job opening. After a while, one gets pretty good at identifying the companies, job titles, location, education, and years of experience in that short amount of time. The few that make it past that ten second mark will be set aside for further scrutiny.

The résumé has to make you look good while being completely accurate. The verbiage needs to be clear, have a large enough and commonly recognized font and lastly has to convey that you are right for the position; all in ten seconds. It can be done and it is done every day.

The end result is that the document must be ‘employer-ready’ or ‘recruiter-ready’. To achieve the above results, people need to simply slow down, and let a friend and/or a colleague peruse their résumé BEFORE sending it out. This includes uploading to an online job board, uploading to a company’s online job application or to a recruiter. You only get one chance to impress that HR person, hiring manager and yes, also recruiters. Our reputations are also on the line. Next month, “How to Make the
Résumé Sell You!”.

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