Today, when job seekers find a position they want to apply for, they do so through a tedious on-line application process, submitting their resumes and cover letters electronically. Information received by the hiring manager or HR recruiter typically goes through a computer screening process where only the resumes determined to be from qualified applicants are viewed. Unfortunately, qualified applicants are sometimes missed in this electronic screening process for a variety of reasons. Here are five ways to assure your resume gets through to the hiring manager.
One Resume Does Not Fit All – A big mistake is to have only one or two resumes that you send to every job you apply. Not every job is alike, even if you are applying to very similar positions. This takes a lot more time, but its well worth the effort. Carefully look at the wording in the job description and compare it to the wording on your resume. If your resume says you are a dynamic sales person but the job description says they are looking for an aggressive sales person…change your resume to say “aggressive sales person.” A computer scans all resumes submitted for this job opening looking for a percentage of a match. By doing this, you increase your compatibility.
Lost in Translation – Avoid use of graphics, text boxes or photos in the resume you send electronically. In most cases these cannot be read by scanners. Try to stick to Word documents and keep it as simple as possible to avoid any information on your resume being missed.
Keep Covered – Today many people are skipping the cover letter and attaching resumes to emails with a message in the email body. If you write a strong cover letter that is customized to the actual job you are applying for, this can be the deciding factor comparing you to another candidate. Make cover letters unique, personal, or share a story. For example, when I applied to McDonald’s Corporation, I shared that in college I worked at a McDonald’s Drive-Thru. This was definitely not something I put on my resume after working for 20 years. But, it actually was what got me the job, as McDonald’s appreciates hiring former restaurant crew members.
You’ve Got Mail – Imagine this, a recruiter or hiring manager walks into their office and there’s a FedEx envelope on their desk. Even though they are busy, in most cases they will open an expedited envelope immediately. Inside they find your resume and cover letter. Congratulations, you have just stood out in the crowd. In addition to the online application, I encourage you to send a FedEx next day delivery even if it is in your home town. It costs twenty-some dollars but is tax deductible (job search expenses are deductible) and you stand out from the crowd. Make sure it’s in the cardboard envelope so it gets full attention. If money is tight, save this for those very special jobs where you want to be sure your resume is not lost in the cyber world.
Sneaky Sneaky – A very seasoned, high level job search coach just recently advised me to try this secret that I personally did not try yet, but have given it consideration so, I leave this one up to you as it’s a little sneaky. If you are concerned that your resume may not perfectly match the job description of the job you are applying, copy the entire job description, reduce the font to 1-2 points and change the font to white. Then paste that into the header of your resume. Even though the human eye cannot read it on your resume the words are there and the computer scans it as a 100% match to the job and your resume is definitely read by the hiring manager/recruiter. It’s a way to beat the computer system and assure your resume is at least seen. Most likely, as this sneaky trick becomes more known, the software will be programmed to overlook it, so use your own judgement if you want to give this a try.