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A Poor resume will loose that dream job! November 24, 2008

Posted by ryanleary in General Recruiting.
Tags: , ,


As a recruiter, a good percentage of my job is to review resumes in efforts to find the best candidates. Though this would seem simple in theory, I cannot begin to tell you how true this is not! It is no wonder why the majority of job seekers in the market place today have an extended job search. A resume is the single most important tool you can have in your arsenal; after all it is your introduction to the hiring manager.

With a shelf life typically lasting no longer than 10-15 seconds, it is truly important that you, the candidate put forth your best foot in representing yourself. According to a poll of more than 2,000 hiring authorities 90% of all resumes submitted will simply not be a qualified fit for the position. In essence this leaves you with 10% wiggle room to either become a star or just another candidate.

So let’s look at the situation this way:

100 Resumes submitted 90 Resumes will most likely be rejected 10 Resumes continue to the next stage

If we take the law of averages (in sales); out of these 10 only 3 may actually be contacted for interviews and out of these 3 maybe 1 will be the right candidate for the position.

I have spoken over the last few years with many hiring managers regarding this very topic. I find that for myself, having a true understanding of what makes my client tick will really allow me to zero in on what I need to do to be successful. Regardless of how much one can sell a candidate or how great a candidate is, if the resume is not up to par, he/she risks loosing that dream job.

The majority or resumes rejected after a hiring manager has had the opportunity to sit and review resumes fall within these main areas: – Falsifying information / improper work history – No documentation of achievements and goals attained
– Typos, grammar, and spelin mistakes (yes, I purposely spelled that wrong!)
– No professional summary or cover letter

So what do you do? If you ask 100 people, you will most likely get 100 different answers. With this said, my recommendation would be as follows.

A resume is best presented in 4 distinct sections including: Objective/Professional Summary, Relevant Experience, Chronological work history and Education. The goal of your resume is to professionally present yourself in an image that screams success.

Here is a brief explanation of each section to be included in your new power packed resume.

– Objective/Professional Summary:

A professional summary is the time to tell your story. Be concise yet detailed, and be sure to use action words to accurately describe your ethics. You want to be sure you clearly state what you are looking for and why you are an ideal candidate.

– Relevant Experience:

In creating this portion of your resume it is vital that you pay close attention to format. Though in reality this is a list, you must create an attractive table to represent your relevant skills and expertise. Do not falsify this section as most employers will use this section during your interview process.

– Chronological work history:

Creating a clear and concise review of your past and current work history will expose a couple of areas to a hiring authority. He/She will quickly learn of your ability to write and communicate on a professional level. This section will reveal your experience, skills, employment gaps, stability, growth, career goals, motivation and your ability to effectively communicate to others in report style.

– Education/Certifications:

There is always a debate on where to place your education on your resume. The choice is yours. However, if you are a senior level candidate or have enough experience to outweigh your education, I recommend placing this section at the bottom of your resume. On the contrary if you are a recent graduate or only have 2 years of experience, it may benefit you to place this section at the beginning of your resume. Be sure to highlight your GPA and the specific program/school that you attended.

Another great feature to add in this section is continuing education and certifications to highlight your motivations and career dedication.

Your resume can be a gold mine if written properly. Though it may be a daunting task, be sure to review, re-review and than have someone else review your resume to ensure that your final copy is truly your final copy.

Good Luck, and please feel free to contact me should you have any concerns.



1. Don Carter - December 15, 2008

Good article except you failed to mention how resumes need to stress including key, relevant words and tags so that search engineers, ATS/APS and job boards can properly pick them up for ranking and consideration.

2. Ed Dodds - December 15, 2008

I can’t remember how many different “the proper way to do a resume” articles I’ve read — and of course they all differ — not just in emphasis but in topics covered. The reality is that most HR postings do not accurately reflect the job tasks — so even when one tries to tailor a rez to a particular position it is actually an effort in aiming at both a false and moving (subjective) target. HR, as an industry, needs to come up with standard job descriptions so that a rez (say in hr-xml standards or hResume, for examples) with the appropriate competencies will ALWAYS float to the top of the pile given the same general submission. I don’t think HR can come anywhere near demonstrating that kind of objectivity — and until, as an industry, they can demonstrate that they can, your best bet is still contacting the project manager directly and having her|him advocate for you.

3. Casey Rodgers - December 15, 2008

Great Article! It’s so true that we as recruiters we see many horrible resumes. Obviously there are many views on how to construct your own resume, but your article gives some great insight on how to structure the resume.

Thanks for the read!


4. Dee - December 15, 2008

Great information sharing. However, I agree with Ed’s previous post, the powers that be needs to write clearer and less complicated vacancy announcements. This would cut out a great deal of the ‘dancing’ that we see on many resumes. Now if someone would write an article about addressing KSAs or KSAOs, that would be a huge benefit!

Thank you for sharing that information.


5. Marina - December 15, 2008

Ed is correct. Many of the postings for positions in large companys are generic. The hiring manager is probably looking for more distinct skills not listed. Finding someone on the inside is the best way to find out what they are really looking for.

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