Is Your Resume Strong Enough To Separate You From The Masses?
The negative consequences of a poorly crafted resume cannot be overstated.
You should look at your resume as a bargaining tool: it's a document that does so much more than just inform – it compels action! Reading your resume will make your prospective employer stand up and take notice: they'll want to know even more about you, and this is exactly what you want. Your resume will put you front and center – right where all the great jobs are.
How important is your resume? I suggest we look at the job applicant screening process to fully understand the importance of a resume.
Interestingly, the hiring manager's first goal is not to choose the perfect candidate: it's actually to eliminate those candidates that are unqualified or unsuitable! Generally, a hiring manager will take their huge pile of applications and begin by separating the 'No's' from the 'Maybe's'.
They continue doing this until they have around 5 to 10 candidates to call. Therefore, your first goal is to get into the 'Maybe' pile: this could put your application into a smaller group of (say) 20. At this point the hiring manager will spend a few minutes on each cover letter and resume (compared to the few seconds they spent on it the first time). Their aim now is to get the number down to 5 or 10 possibilities.
Now they will spend quality time reading your documents: they might make notes or highlight certain aspects of your application – things that interest and appeal to them. Still more resumes will be eliminated during this process, however this time they may not be rejected altogether. They could well go into another pile of 'maybe's', but these ones will only be called if the hiring manager is not able to contact their chosen few, or if they still don't feel entirely happy with the remaining applicants.
Now the hiring manager will begin making calls and possibly conduct some initial phone interviews. For a variety of reasons some applicants will be eliminated. There may be some that have already accepted other positions, or for whatever reason the hiring manager may change their mind about asking them to attend a face-to-face interview. This will continue until 3 to 5 people are invited to attend a personal interview.
This whole process can indeed be intimidating, because it actually means that your cover letter and resume must be superior to every other candidate's application. This does not mean that you require more education, or that you need more experience than other people applying for the position: what it does mean is that your resume must be better than theirs – it means you need a better story!
Reading your resume must make your prospective employer stand up and take notice: they'll want to know more about you, and this is exactly what you want. Your resume must put you front and center – right where all the great jobs are.
Put the required time, effort, and research into getting your resume right, and know you've done absolutely everything you can to ensure that, when you apply for that perfect position, your resume is there saying 'I'm the right person for this job '.