It seems that everyone is an expert when it comes to resume writing. If you show your resume to ten different people, you will get ten totally different opinions. What is a job seeker to do when there are so many conflicting ideas when it comes to resume etiquette? Who should you write the resume for? Computer software? The screener? The recruiter? The decision maker? The answer is yes to all four. Your resume needs to take into consideration the nuances of all potential readers, including computer software.
This is precisely the reason why most job seekers are confused when it comes
to writing their own resumes. Below is a rundown of all resume readers and how
to appeal to them.
COMPUTER SCANNING SYSTEM
Most resumes today aren’t read by human eyes, but rather a scanning system.
This is how it works: a clerk at the hiring organization receives resumes and
his/her job is to scan them into the computer. When a position becomes
available, the clerk goes into the computer system and keys in buzzwords. The
resumes that are retrieved by the computer are the candidates that are called in
How to appeal to computer software: Your resume should be keyword-rich. This
will increase the chances your resume will be retrieved.
Recruiters search for candidates who meet specific requirements their client
(the hiring organization) sets forth. Although the recruiter works for the
hiring organization, the reality is that he or she wants to close the deal and
will go to bat for you if you meet or exceed the requirements.
The advantage of teaming with a recruiter is that he or she will be able to
provide you with insider information. In some cases, they will know specific
interview questions you can expect. This type of information is invaluable.
How to appeal to recruiters: If a recruiter has a specific job in mind for
you and makes resume recommendations, listen to and follow their suggestions.
Once a recruiter is satisfied with your resume, he or she will submit it and act
as your voice and job search partner.
A screener is someone who doesn’t have a full understanding of the inner
workings of the position. They work from a checklist of requirements that have
been provided by the decision maker and the job description at hand. Screeners
won’t have much room to negotiate and will only approve you to the next stage if
you meet the criteria set by the hiring manager.
How to appeal to screeners: If you know you are going to deal with a
screener, study job descriptions and draw parallels from your experience. You
must connect all the dots for them since they don’t have a basis for making
assumptions regarding your qualifications.
Decision makers have the most flexibility when it comes to experience and
bending their own rules, because they are in control. This is the reason why
most career professionals suggest you apply directly to decision makers.
How to appeal to decision makers: Base your resume on accomplishments.
Decision makers want to see what you can bring to the table.
Resume writing is much more than being able to put sentences together, but it
isn’t impossible to incorporate the needs of all readers. And by integrating the
requirements of all the resume reviewers, you will make the resume stronger.
by Linda Matias
Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience to the
career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the
employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation,
and resume writing, quoted a number of times in The Wall Street Journal, New
York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com.
She is President of CareerStrides and the National Resume Writers’ Association.
Visit her website at www.careerstrides.com.