An old recruiter saying is … The two times in your life when you’re perfect are on the day you’re born, and on your resume.
Is perfection a silly expectation of hiring managers? Of course it’s silly … but it’s also reality of employer expectations today.
When hiring managers, HR Reps and recruiters see hundreds or thousands of candidates apply for a single position, it becomes easy to rule out imperfect communications as part of pre-screening. Perhaps perfection isn’t so important to gain interviews when qualified candidates are in short supply (ex: Today – nurses; In 1999 it was programmers). If you’re not fortunate enough to be in a field where there are shortages, resume perfection applies to you.
If your reader expects your resume to represent you at a perfect state, what happens if it’s not perfect?
Have a misspelling, typo, grammatical, or formatting error in your resume? Expect it to be ignored – even if you’re the best candidate.
While spelling, grammar and formatting are important to getting interviews, there’s much more to it than just those basics. Hiring managers look to fill positions because they have problems that need to be solved. Even a receptionist who sits at a desk and greets visitors is solving a business issue.
Describe your responsibilities instead of how you’ve solved similar problems for past employers? Expect your resume to be ignored.
Describe accomplishments that aren’t relevant to a specific company or hiring manager? Expect your resume to be ignored.
Want to demonstrate perfection in a resume? Show the hiring manager that you understand their most pressing problems and that you’ve helped solve similar problems for you past employer. These may not be the most important parts of your past experience, and may even be minor – to you.
But if you demonstrate that you’ve already solved the issues that an employer faces today, you start looking more and more perfect.
If you’re actually applying for a job that you’re honestly well qualified for, chances are you’ve already solved many of the problems the employer faces today – are they prominently displayed in the most visible parts of your resume? Are these accomplishments even displayed on your resume, or have you devoted more “resume real estate” to describing your responsibilities … instead of your accomplishments?
Have you spoken to people within the company (someone other than HR) to actually understand what the company’s issues and problems are … before you’ve sent a resume? If you haven’t spoken to insiders first, you’re gambling that a hiring manager will feel that the past accomplishments that you’re most proud of will magically match their current problems. By not talking to contacts within a target company before sending your resume, your odds are terrible.
So why not stack the odds in your favor? Rather than just depend on publicly available information uncovered from a web search, why not make gain better information than your competition? The result is a better understanding of a company’s problems, giving you a better chance to present yourself as the perfect solution.
What chance do you have of presenting yourself as the perfect solution if you don’t first have a clear understanding of the most important problems?
(Psst … please comment to correct any spelling, typo, grammatical or formatting errors in this article – since I’m far from perfect.)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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