When I’m asked for resume career advice, I’ll often first ask … what’s your resume hit ratio, or response rate?
Usually, this question is answered by the sound of crickets.
It surprises me, especially Finance and Technology professionals whose professional lives revolve around measuring and interpreting data, don’t think to measure the effectiveness of their resume. If your resume’s effectiveness isn’t being measured, it’s much more difficult to improve.
Isn’t it natural to track how well your resume works for you? There are a couple easy ways to track this important metric – resume response rate.
At a minimum, couldn’t you easily track how many callbacks, interviews and offers each version of your resume generates?
An effective resume generates a 15-20% direct-employer (non-headhunter, non informational interview) resume response rate. If you’re getting less, then your resume works against you.
But most job changers don’t have a clue how to measure this. When I help them measure, most candidates I talk to think their resume is good, yet almost everyone seems to have a resume response rate at the low end of the 0-5% range – averaging about a 1-1.5% response rate, about what junk mail gets. Wouldn’t you like your resume to perform better than junk mail?
Today’s career advice is two ways to track your resume response rate:
There are two alternatives I’d suggest. One is a do it yourself solution, and the other is a web service.
Do-It-Yourself: Build a spreadsheet to track results of your resume. List date sent, company, contact person (if known), source, next follow up, and check boxes for Phone screen, Interview, 2nd Interview, Offer. Include a column for notes.
Keep a running average of in-person interviews (excluding recruiter interviews, HR interviews, phone interviews and informational interviews)/total resumes sent. Make sure not to double count interviews if you have multiple rounds for the same job. You’ll want to exclude recruiters, HR, phone interviews and and informational interviews: While these may lead to a job interview, but they aren’t truly job interviews – they are preliminary steps to a job interview.
Web Service: There’s a great web service called JibberJobber, run by Jason Alba. Jason built JibberJobber as a way to track metrics of his own job search, then started letting others use it. It became so popular, that his promotion through social media caught on and he created a successful web business from the idea.
JibberJobber brings a recruiter’s dashboard to the job seeker. This tool keeps manages job search stats, resume versions, recruiting and job seeking contacts, personal network contacts, and organizes your job search like a CRM organizes a sales forces’ efforts. You can even import networking contacts through social networks like LinkedIN. JibberJobber simplifies your search, can point you in the right direction, keep track of next steps, and best of all, it’s free for a limited version.
Which one to use? It depends on personal preference. While the structured detailed approach of JibberJobber works well for those who need structure, an Excel spreadsheet allows you the free form style of doing it yourself, ability to customize and track the statistics that make the most sense to you, and an unlimited database size for free (JibberJobber charges a small monthly fee once you reach a minimum size). My career advice is to choose one method and use it.
Either way you prefer, track your resume results. And if your resume isn’t generating a 15-20% direct employer response rate, talk to career coaches, resume writers and career professionals to get resume career advice.
Readers – What’s your resume response rate?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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