When it’s time to search for that new role, individuals go through the process of updating their resume to ensure it not only contains the most up to date information, but that it is relevant to the current role that is being considered. Often, today, most resumes are sent online to an email address or uploaded through the company’s website. These methods, although extremely convenient for the individual looking to apply to many roles at the same time and for the employer wanting to receive a number of resumes as efficiently as possible, it really does not offer the individual the opportunity to present himself/ herself in such a way that will make them stand out.
So how does one become selected amongst the many, many resumes sent in?
Here are 7 tips to assist you in getting your resume closer to the top of the pile, have your resume chosen and then ultimately to the point where you are offered the job.
1. Ensure the resume is directed to the current role you are seeking – Your resume has to do the relationship building for you. Ensure whatever introduction you have used for your resume, clearly points to the job you want. The employer is assessing you the moment the resume is being received, you need to make a great first impression.
2. Connect the dots – Too often I receive resumes that tell me what they have done, however, they have left the ‘connecting of the dots’ for me. By including, why your experience is relevant to the role and the measurable successes that you have accomplished are clearly stated as to how you will now transfer these to the new role, you will appeal to the Hiring Manager. Even more importantly, you will make it easier for the HR Administrator who may have been handed the task of initial screening to place your resume in the A pile and not the B pile.
3. The summary should point to the employer – Ensure when you write the profile or executive summary of who you are, you tie back who you are to who they are looking for. If you consider that the employer wants to address an issue or a gap or solve a problem with the hiring of this new person, reading that you ARE this person will get you closer to that role versus, writing what you are looking for as your next career step. Ask yourself, did the employer put this position request out because they are looking to advance my career? One caveat to this, of course is that if this is your first career role outside of post-secondary, than yes, an employer wants to hire someone who also wants to join the company and grow their career. However, if you are looking at a more senior role, the employer wants to see that you have done it before, have done it well, and will now do it for the company and expand upon it!
4. Be respectful of the employer’s timelines – As assertive as you want to be, you must strike a balance between, ‘badgering’ the hiring manager and showing that you’re interested. Do not decide that you have waited long enough, and you will now go over the hiring Manager’s head and imply that you should have been considered or that the process is flawed. Your interaction, whether it be through HR or through a recruiter has been directed for a reason. Being mindful of this places you in a respectful state where the wrong message will not be relayed. I recently had a potential candidate, who although received a personal acknowledgement that his resume was received and that interviews would occur in a few weeks, chose to go direct to the Client and the ensuing, email string, ultimately resulted in the Client not wanting to pursue anything further from this individual. Damaging comments within the email ultimately provided the Client with a perception or an understanding of his approach which she did not believe would fit the organization. Had the candidate simply remained patient with the process, his skillset would have granted him an interview, however his attitude and approach sealed his fate!
5. Every piece of correspondence needs to remain professional – Too often, the social media experience of conversing with friends and family, may place you in a position where you assume that formality no longer exists. This is not the case. Continue to address all emails and phone conversations you have with the potential employer or recruiter in the most professional manner. When asked to complete an assignment, do so expediently. We conduct 2 online assessments with every candidate we bring forward. Based on the initial interview I then ask my candidates to go to this next step. Often, I find myself having to remind candidates that we do not have their material yet, or it is not written well. Sure enough my assessment from the interview then changes. His/ her responsiveness and engagement to the potential role, as reflected by the actions taken, is quite different, regardless of what he/she said in the interview!
6. Do your homework – If you are able to take a screening interview then ensure you really can. Do not answer the phone with distractions in the background that do not leave you focused on the questions you are being asked. If you then are fortunate enough to have that next face to face interview, prepare well. Know as much about the company that you can learn. Ensure you have examples of the success you have had. Simply stating that, “yes, I have done that” is not enough. If you have come this far, you should realize that everyone else also has done what you have done. You need to share examples as most interviews conducted today will have behavioural questions throughout them.
7. Ask for the job – In those last few minutes of the face to face interview, when you are asked if you have any questions, ask questions that are of significance – those where the answers could not be found on the website – that will help you in getting to know the company. Finally, ask for the job. Let them know why they should hire you and why you really want to work for them. Tell them what the Employer will get by hiring you. When you leave, you want the Employer to know that you are the right person for the role.
At Legacy Bowes our Executive Search and Recruitment process can be up to 12 weeks from start to finish. We assure our clients that we are thorough in who we seek out, source and tap on the shoulder as well as fully consider all of those who apply directly. We do this by starting the interview from the moment we receive the resume and the vigilance in gathering insight into the potential candidate continues, with the screening telephone call, the assessments, the questionnaire, the profiles we have them write, the reference checks, the personal interviews to confirm viability and skillset required, until they are finally ready to be brought forward to the client. Yes, it does take time, but the time is rewarded in ensuring all of our candidates are qualified for the role so that the client ultimately only has to assess for fit within the organization, make a decision and bring the offer forward. Time does bring clarity and it IS a continuous ‘conversation’ between our candidates and us – whether they realize it is or not!
Lisa Cefali is the vice president of executive search with Legacy Bowes Group, where she uses her many years of business experience, and assessment of emotional intelligence, to uncover organizational insight and those attributes that provide the best fit for her clients with their strategic planning needs. Please feel free to contact her at lisa@legacybowes. com for your executive search, recruitment, coaching and strategic planning needs.