The popularity of the book “Blink” underscores the importance of first impressions in any business dealing. The premise of the book is that many decisions are, in fact, snap judgments—but that those judgments often hold true. Given this fact of modern business life, you’ll want to do everything possible not to torpedo your job application from the start.
Obviously, the first step in any successful job hunt is sending a resume—either by e-mail or by snail-mail. You want a resume that is complete, yet concise…factual and not fraudulent…impressive and not insufferable. In addition, you’ll want to craft a resume that will not end up in the reject pile as soon as it lands on an executive’s desk.
It is critical that you compose a resume that can withstand an initial “scan,” whether that scan is by human eyes or electronic ones. While it may not be possible to make your resume “scan-proof,” you can certainly increase your chances of getting your resume past the initial scan.
The Importance of the Scan
As a job seeker, you might be wondering why so much emphasis is placed on resume scanning to begin with. In order to understand this, you must place yourself in the role of the employer or recruiting manager. He or she has to work through a pile of resumes that may be 300 resumes-high. Filling a particular position may be just one of dozens of other things on the daily to-do list. As a result, time is precious to the hiring executive, and he or she must do everything possible to make the process as time-efficient as possible.
The First Look
While you may have poured your heart and soul into your resume…working for hours to perfect it…you need to understand that an employer will spend little time scanning it. In fact, he or she will probably spend only about ten seconds looking at your resume!
During that incredibly short period of time, it’s important that you grab his or her attention. In many cases, that means clearly stating your career objective at the beginning of your resume…making your applicable job skills stand out from the text…providing a coherent history of your experience, along with any special honors you have received. Keep in mind that the employer is looking for those positions you’ve held and those job skills you’ve acquired that are directly relevant to the position being offered. If you fill your resume with inconsequential material…information that doesn’t have anything to do with your qualifications for a specific job…your resume will, in all likelihood, be quickly discarded to make room for those resumes that fit the bill.
If your resume is long and wieldy…if it is difficult to read and nearly impossible to follow…if it is poorly formatted…or if it contains spelling errors and grammatical mistakes…it will not survive this initial scan.
The Finer Points
In addition to these general considerations, there are some finer points that need to be considered when you draft your resume. For instance, you have to consider the fact that a recruiter will be looking at your resume to see if your latest work experience matches the type of work you’d be doing in the position that’s advertised. If you are applying for a job as a television producer and you have not produced a show in ten years, you’ll probably have trouble winning that coveted TV news producing job.
Next, the hiring manager will also look to see what kinds of companies you’ve worked for. In other words, if your resume reflects a history of working for Fortune 500 companies, you have a greater chance of landing another Fortune 500 job. Like attracts like—and if you’ve been working for major corporations, the hiring manager at a large company is far more likely to hire you.
The recruiter will also look to see if you have a demonstrated record of achievement. For instance, does your resume show a history of promotions? Has your work won prestigious awards, either at the local or national level? Has your work been recognized for special honors at your current place of employment? The more honors you list in your resume, the more likely it will pass through that initial scan with ease.
Finally, a number of employers are greatly interested in where you received your education. An Ivy League credential can work magic during the job application process. In some cases, an employer may be more inclined to invite you in for an interview if you both attended the same college or completed the same graduate degree program. While experience usually trumps education during the initial scan, that’s not to say that the education section of your resume is not important.
When Computers Do the Scanning
In this technological age, it is highly important that you produce a resume that can withstand high-tech scrutiny. Since a number of employers rely on specialized software that screens resumes for specific words and phrases, you want to customize your resume as much as possible to the position you’re applying for. If the position is in sales and you’ve had extensive sales experience, be sure to mention the word “sales” throughout your resume. If the advertised job involves supervising other employees, make sure that your supervisory experience is indicated extensively within the text of your work history. Before you write your resume, you may want to brainstorm, producing a list of words and phrases that would be associated with the position you’re seeking. That way, you can be sure to insert all relevant words into the text of your resume, increasing the chances that you will be called in for an interview.
Put Your Resume to the Scan Test
If you are not sure how your resume would survive a scan, it’s a good idea to test it with one of your colleagues. Have an associate whose opinion you value take a ten-second look at your resume. In all likelihood, any missteps you’ve made will literally jump off the page, giving you all the information you need for a quick and effective rewrite.
This article was written by the certified professional resume writers of Resume Services(http://www.AccuroResumes.com/). The writers at AccuroResumes will help create a perfect professional resume suited to your best needs. See why thousands of people are discovering the benefits of a perfect professional resume written by AccuroResumes.com. You are guaranteed to be 100% satisfied with your new, professional resume or, your money back. Reproductions of this article are encouraged, but must include a link pointing to http://www.AccuroResumes.com/.