The more resumes that I as a recruiter have gone through…the more I am convinced about two things…
a) Resume writing has not changed over the years; it’s been the same since the time my dad used to go for a job.
b) There is definitely something about some resumes that would have you get more calls.
What follows next is based on my experience of advising people in resume writing and also my years of experience in identifying right candidates based on a person’s curriculum vitae.
Different Audiences…Different language –If you look at a company’s recruitment process there are different set of audiences peering through your resume in ascertaining whether you would meet the job’s requirement or not, two important audiences…
- Recruiter/Consultant (the first gate/filter in having you get that job)
- Resource Requestor (most times, the person whom you may end up working with)
It’s during the first gate that I find the biggest scope for improvement and here is where most professionals fail. A professional would always write a resume from her perspective using her professional jargon…which is what would differentiate a doctor’s resume from a mechanic’s…good… but then the recruiter going through your resume is a graduate (or a PG) and only has a “conversational understanding” of your world…pretty similar to my conversational knowledge about the mechanics of a car….I could talk about the gears but then that is it…nothing more. Now for that person to ascertain if your resume is a good one or not among all the similar looking resumes would definitely be some task… expecting someone who is not from your profession to make sense of your resume and have them call you….well that is some food for thought.
If your profile can be explained in the simplest possible terms (for the average Joe/Jane recruiter) the chance of getting calls dramatically improves. It could be in the form of a summary on the first page. The summary could be in a manner that would even have your grandmother understand what her grandson does :-).
Profile positioning – This is derived from a marketing and advertising perspective – Most times in a job we end up doing a lot more than what is really assigned to us…and when we write a resume, we tend to put everything that we have done in the most presentable manner making it a coherent whole…but then in the milieu of those words what gets lost is, what is my profile most suited for? If you have a particular position in mind while preparing your resume…good…so do your mentioned activities and results portray a “demonstrated ability” of handling that job profile?! Or is it more of a promise that I would deliver if I am given that position. I have also observed that designations seldom matter and the focus is on the “roles and responsibilities” that the person would have handled, lending a more accurate picture.
In your current job you might be a one man show…more due to the demands of the situation rather than by choice…but then if the reader does not have an idea of the situation then…the one man show is more likely to be interpreted as “Oneupmanship” than in any other intended way. The point is…it is critical to outline the situational boundaries in which you performed more so when they are exceptional. The flip side to this is to sound dramatic…which would be a turn off.
You might have performed activities that might be “right now” incongruent to your desired job profile…so instead of mentioning …drop those activities from your resume…else it would clutter the positioning…the best brands often talk the same thing…over and over again. Your resume cannot be speaking too many different things….unless of course that is exactly what you would want it to speak; you could always pull these out during the interview stage to speak about. The clearer the positioning, higher the interview calls.
I wish I could elaborate more on these two aspects because both these ideas go against the established norms for most professionals and could be rejected outright. But I can say this with some courage that people who have spent considerable amount of their time “studying” resumes would vouch for these ideas.
Comments welcome :-)…I would not have written unless I knew there was someone willing to read this.
Prashant P. Naikar