You have about 20 seconds for your resume to impress the hiring manager. They visually scan hundreds of resumes from applicants and place each one into pile A, B or C.
Pile A resumes are the ones that come close to the requirements of the position description
Pile B are back-ups in case those resumes in Pile A fall short
Pile C resumes are tossed out because they aren’t even close to the specs
The actual detailed reading of the resume comes later after the sorting has taken place.
Most initial scans take about 20 seconds before they are put into pile A, B or C. When the sort is completed, the resumes in Pile A get fully read, then prioritized, ready for the telephone screen of the top 10 or 15. Given these steps, what are the key points to remember in designing your resume so yours is place in Pile A?:
- Focus on the key words that parallel what the hiring manager is looking for and include them in the description of your accomplishments
- Include eye-popping measureable results that can be transferred to the open function
- Use numbers, percentages and metric at the beginning of each sentence so it jumps out at the hiring manager
- If your results aren’t compelling and visible within the window of opportunity for the scanning process of 20 to 30 seconds, you will wind up in Pile B or C, and not Pile A.
So, what are the common errors to avoid?:
- You only list your responsibilities rather than accomplishments with each prior job
- Failure to define your measureable results. Anyone can say they installed a cost saving program, but the candidate that defines savings of $1.2 million are noticed
- Don’t list activities that have nothing to do with the job to be filled. Don’t provide information that no one is interesting in receiving.
- Don’t write your life’s story that the hiring manager won’t read. Crisp, clear, metrics- driven achievements will always win out over a narrative of the unimportant
- If you can’t articulate your contributions or successes, the hiring manager won’t either
- Hoping that “holes” in your resume will be overlooked. Big holes, like lacking degrees that are required, will put you in Pile C. Small holes, like missing dates or short-term jobs, may be overlooked at first but will knock you out of the running later on.
You control what’s on your resume and how it’s presented. Create a compelling presentation that makes the hiring manager sit up and take notice.
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