Siddharth Verma |
Often, we come across situations during a job search when we are perplexed why our resume wasn’t shortlisted. While the resume landing in the hands of the ‘right’ recruiter is quite a bit of the task accomplished – as in he or she will be able to make out the relevance of the experience. Having said this, the fact of the matter is that ours’ may not be the only one in those ‘right’ hands. And then a comparative call is taken. While our pedigree, past employer brands, growth curve, etc., start building up the case, yet within a set of available profiles the mental cataloguing begins.
The resume is the first touch point with the recruiter or the prospective employer. In a way, a virtual talk has already started; how we design the conversation is a step towards steering our case. Designing the conversation begins with creating a resume that Strikes the Chord not just with the recruiter but with every other audience in the recruitment workflow.
Many profiles run into pages. Bottom line is – while we put our heart and soul into detailing, the span of attention dilutes beyond 2 A4 sheets. Hence there ought to be an appropriate density of meaning, with a view to keeping the reader’s mind engaged and looking for more substance consistently. Verbosity at any stage should be clearly avoided and taken care of during editing. The objective is: hack the unnecessary!
A resume which is written with clarity enhances the chances of a quick shortlisting. Many recruiters may not observe or be able to distinguish why they shortlisted a particular profile and not another similar one when the choices are pretty close on technical competence. Clarity has a subtle, passive influence on choice. If the resume is clear enough in communication that it doesn’t require a second reading, the probability of moving forward is much higher. As a litmus test, post editing run it past strangers and ask them to explain your career in one go. You are the best judge. You’ll get the lacunae for sure.
Facts, Milestones, and Chronology
Bit technical, but its equally important. In many, many cases recruiters and employers get judgmental on trivial follies. You may be typecast – ‘ he/she can’t write dates correctly, I wonder how he/she works…’. Strictly avoid any overlap or ambiguity in tenures. Be bingo on the chronology of events and achievements within an organization as well. The narrative becomes stronger – you are dealing with a stranger’s mind. The logical sequencing may be as critical as required in the understanding of a Sherlock Holmes’ thriller clearly.
Simple English (or a substitute). Easy to understand English. No undesired jargons. No roundabouts or esoteric words and phrases. Some roles demand high grammatical accuracy as a hygiene – so please adhere in such cases. There are certain impacts better for a later stage of an interaction, allow those to come at the right stage.
The layout of the resume should be such that it enables visual navigation. In the last few years, I have come across templates which appear sophisticated but almost blind off vital details. The enhancers or emphasizers can be used but not at the cost of basic efficacy. The resumes shouldn’t appear to be complicated. At this stage, you are dealing with the right and left brain. Once again, go for a test run to check the impact and effectiveness of the design.
Straight from The Heart
A resume is almost as good as two people talking, and you’ve got the chance to start! How would you want to be? Just speaking, or making a connection with the reader? So, while professional help can be sought on the content, BUT, EVERY WORD, mind you EVERY SINGLE WORD should be written by you, yourself. And words should come straight from the heart. You are setting an expectation which you have to meet at a later stage in the interaction. IT OUGHT TO BE A CLEAR, UNADULTERATED IMAGE OF YOU. Be humble and express ten percent short of who you feel you are, but the direction should be absolutely correct. Remember, when you are across the table, the impression should be an extension of the resume. It will reinforce the conviction and clarity in the interaction process through and through. Consequentially, the chances of interest generation are higher.
Once a manager asked a recruiter to bring the bottom half of a pile of resumes kept in the corner of the room. The recruiter, logically confused, asked wouldn’t that eliminate some promising and relevant candidates from the process? To which the manager replies – yes, possible… but I’m anyway not interested in hiring unlucky people for my business!
Jokes apart, recruitment in reality maybe as trivial and as much a stroke of luck as this at times, we can’t deny. But from an approach perspective, yes, you can be as original as can be.