The Resume - Key to the Interview
By Phil Morimoto
CEO, Boston Executive Search Associates, Inc.
In today’s job market hundreds of people apply for a single open position. A client of ours recently received over 700 resumes for a single advertisement. There isn’t enough time for employers to read each applicant’s resume and cover letter.
Most applicant screening at companies is performed by a human resources representative. Their job is to match the requirements of the job with a prospective candidate’s experience. A match = interview. Or it means that the resume will be forwarded to the hiring authority. They scan for a match. If they don’t see it quickly, the resume is put in the “thank you for your resume” pile.
Many job seekers write a generic resume that they use for all job applications and they use the cover letter to explain why they should be considered for a specific position. This practice doesn’t work well. Most often, the cover letter is not read closely, if read at all. The resume is the determining factor – tailor it to fit the job.
To write an effective resume takes a good deal of thought, time and effort. Invest what it takes to craft a resume that will get you in the door. It’s the key to the interview. Following are some practical steps to create an interview-winning resume.
Fact Draft - Write a resume outline that documents just the facts. Record the dates, companies, job titles, education, awards, licenses and other credentials. For each job write a short but concise statement about the job responsibilities. Use keywords the employer used in their job advertisement. Talk their talk.
After you’ve collected all the facts, reflect on each experience in your outline. Recall the details of what you achieved - the wins, successes and things you are proud of. Have these achievements in the front of your mind before beginning your first draft.
Formulate success stories in the form of 20 second "elevator pitches". Talk about your success in a conversational media. Be able to tell your stories in a concise, self-confident and influential manner. Make your story interesting. People listen to a good story. This process also helps prepare for interview.
First Draft – Do not focus on layout at this point. Work only on content. Prioritize your resume according to the most relevant information first. Study the job advertisement carefully and research the employer before penning your first draft.
Clearly communicate in your opening summary and statement of responsibilities that there is a match. Show that you’ve “been there/done that” in a similar job.
Equally important, show them you succeed. Transform your success stories into clear and influential statements. Prove to them that you have excelled in a similar job. Highlight this by using bullet points. Use universally understood terms and their buzzwords. Wherever possible, quantify your accomplishments in numbers, percentages, dollars and time.
Condense your statements as much as possible. Use active tense. Use their keywords. Be consistent in style. Again, make it easy to quickly pick up on the factors you need them to see.
Showcase what merits mention such as awards, honors and other above average accomplishments.
Editing - After your first draft is complete, step away from it for a little while.
Reflect on what your audience wants. Re-read the job advertisement. Pretend you are the employer and give it a read from their perspective. Keep their interests in the front of your mind. It’s what they think that matters. Make adjustments accordingly.
Layout/Design - Don't get too fancy with layout and design. Keep it fairly simple, unless you're applying for a graphic design position. Don't detract from the clarity of your message and goal of getting the interview.
Final Version - After your resume is in near final form review the job advertisement again and ask yourself these questions: Is there a match here? If you were the employer, would you invite this candidate in for an interview?
Give it a final read, edit and approve it for submission. Be sure to double and triple check for accuracy, grammar and typographical errors. Many employers are unforgiving when it comes to mistakes and misinformation. It’s always a good idea to pass your resume by some trusted professionals for their comments.
Apply Early - The best candidate doesn’t always get the interview. If your resume submission is delayed the employer may have already selected a pool of candidates and scheduled them for first round interviews. Most employers stop looking at resumes once a pool of initial candidates is selected.
For full resume writing advice and career resources visit www.usjobweb.com (now Executive Search Associates).
About the Author
Phil Morimoto is President and founder of USJobWeb.com, and CEO of Boston Executive Search Associates, Inc.
Mr. Morimoto has assisted thousands of people in securing employment. He regularly assists professionals with resume writing advice, interview preparation, negotiation of employment, and development of job search strategy and execution.
Mr. Morimoto is a veteran in executive search having placed hundreds of professionals with leading companies across the U.S. Some of his representative clients include Microsoft, 3M, IBM, Cigna, Aetna, Eli Lilly, Ernst & Young, Baker & McKenzie, and Prudential.
For more information, please contact email@example.com.