Your resume is the first impression you give to a prospective employer when submitting a job application. It is the first hurdle you have to overcome when applying for a new job. Although it is the initial test, it is arguably one of the hardest to pass in the job search. In fact, updating one’s resume was voted as the second hardest part of finding a new job in a recent survey done by Monster.com.
Why is resume writing so difficult and intimidating? There are a few reasons. First, you are sending a document to a prospective employer that they will use to determine whether or not they want to interview you. It’s very hard to make the perfect first impression over a piece of paper. Once you send it, that’s it! You only get one chance at a first impression. Additionally, you can’t sit next to the person evaluating your resume to explain something they might find unclear.
Second, it is very difficult to structure your resume in a way that highlights your skill set, your career accomplishments in a concise manner. Many individuals find great difficulty building their resume in a way that shows that they are a perfect fit for the role without writing an encyclopedia about their career accomplishments. It is a tight rope to walk between appearing as underqualified and overqualified for a prospective job.
Lastly, the competition is real. According to a recent study done by Zety.com, the average corporate job posting attracts 250 resumes. Of those, typically 4-6 candidates are brought in for an interview. Meaning there is approximately a 2.4% chance you will be brought in for an interview each time you submit an application for employment. Having recruited for a variety of corporate jobs during my career, I can attest to how competitive it is out there. Furthermore, recruiters are under intense pressure from hiring managers to fill their open jobs with highly qualified candidates. In an effort to maximize their time, recruiters will often quickly evaluate all the resumes they received and only move forward with the candidates that really made their resumes standout and appear to be the best fit for the job.
So how do you crack the code? How do you build a resume that makes the recruiter want to bring you in for an interview with their hiring manager? The truth is, despite all of these scary factors, people win at the resume writing game every day. It is all about preparation. I review the different parts of a professional resume and show how you can make your resume stand out in my next post, “Resume Writing: How to Win”.