Resume Bullet Points — 3 Reasons Why Yours Suck & Prevent You From Getting Interviews

by Alan Collins

20 seconds.

That’s all the time it takes to lace up your workout shoes.

That’s all the time it takes to gargle once with mouthwash.

That’s all the time it takes to leave a brief voice mail message.

And, according to CareerBuilder, twenty seconds is all the time your resume has too…

If you want it to impress a time-strapped recruiter who is swamped with them!

On average, recruiters get 500 resumes for a typical HR position. So they review them fast. To make the cut, yours needs to attract attention immediately.

And this is where the bullets points in your resume come in.

Your bullet points are eye candy.

They help sweeten and make your qualifications for the position stand out. Using bullets on your resume gives it visual appeal.

They are typically included in the Work Experience and Summary of Qualifications sections of your resume.

And they serve as an important way to hook the decision-maker and ensure that his/her eyes are drawn to the most important points you want to emphasize that will deem you a worthy candidate for the job.

With this in mind, here are three biggest screw-ups made in creating resume bullet points: 

  • They have no punch.
  • They have no breathing room.
  • They appear as laundry lists.

Let’s take these mistakes one by one:

#1 — You don’t pack your bullets with punch. 

To capture a busy recruiter’s attention, creating long, boring descriptions of how you achieved your results is a turn-off.   Instead get right to the point and cite your results upfront as concisely and succinctly as you can.

For example, avoid this:  

  • Collaborated with the new EVP to initiate employee Town Hall meetings, employee pulse surveys and brown-bag lunches to gather input from all levels of the R&D organization. Ideas were generated from a cross-functional team of researchers and staff employees and were then collated and prioritized for action. The results significantly improved documented productivity to a new record level.

Instead, do this: 

  • Achieved a company-record 16% productivity improvement in R&D by collaborating with the new EVP on a variety of innovative employee engagement initiatives.

As you can see, this last example cuts to the chase, highlights results and avoids the ho-hum effect of the first.

You’ll also notice that in this example, the accomplishment has been quantified too.  Optically, the human eye is pulled toward numeric symbols (e.g. $, #, or %) and you should leverage this fact to the max as you construct your bullet points.

However, this is not as bad as…

Reasons 2,3, and the complete article

10 Items to Banish From Your Resume

What you don’t include on your résumé can be as important as what you do include.

There are some things that make a résumé look unprofessional, outdated or distracting to hiring managers, who have only moments to scan the document. Make sure hiring managers see only information that strengthens, rather than weakens, your candidacy. Here are 10 things you should always leave off your résumé:

2) Short-term jobs

Short-term jobs raise red flags for hiring managers. They’ll wonder if you were fired, couldn’t do the work or had trouble getting along with co-workers. Plus, it’s unlikely that a few months on a job will show any real accomplishments or advancement. One exception to this rule is if the job was short because it was designed that way, such as contract or political campaign work. Those won’t raise the sorts of questions above, because you’ll have an explanation that doesn’t reflect on you poorly.

5) A fancy design

Here’s what most hiring managers think upon seeing a résumé with an unusual design or gaudy color scheme: Does this candidate think his or her skills and achievements won’t speak for themselves? Does this person not understand what employers are looking for? Does he or she put an inappropriate emphasis on appearances over substance? (The obvious exception to this rule is if you’re applying for design jobs.)

See all 10 items and the complete USNews article

5 Quick Tips To Help You Write The Perfect Cover Letter

Tom Coakes

For demonstrating that you’re serious about an advertised job, sending a CV / resume by itself is rarely enough. Your education and job experience may show that you have the technical skills for a role, but most resumes are only successful at portraying hard facts. Without the perfect cover letter to complement your Curriculum Vitae, you’ll be missing opportunities to truly introduce yourself to the hiring manager tasked with the decision to approve or reject you.

The perfect cover letter is a blend of formality, personality, and just plain showing off. It might be tempting to send the same application to everyone in order to increase your chance of receiving a ‘yes’, but a cover letter that isn’t tailored to the company and role risks saying to an employer, “this opportunity doesn’t mean that much to me”.

There are plenty of resources on the web to help you write the perfect cover letter from scratch, but I’m going to assume that you’ve got the core principles down. What follows are five quick wins that you may not have yet considered and are easy to implement – but could make all the difference between being ignored and being asked to interview.

5 tips to help you write the perfect cover letter:

Address the correct person

People like to be made to feel important – it’s one of the fundamental aspects of our human psychology. Beginning your letter with “To whom it may concern” doesn’t speak directly to the reader and demonstrates that you’re either too lazy or lack the resources to find out who is in charge of recruitment. Do your homework and your cover letter is more likely to be plucked from the pile.

Mimic the job spec

As I said earlier, the perfect cover letter should be tailored to the role in question, which has conveniently been described for you within the job spec. Read it thoroughly to determine what it is that the company is looking for, and then use it to ensure you stay on topic – utilising some of the same words and phrases where appropriate.

See all 5 tips and the complete article

 

Online Job Applications: All You Really Need To Know

by Dean Giles

Have you heard it lately? Ask just about anywhere how to apply for a job there, and you will hear, “You have to apply online. If they are interested in your application, they will call you.”

Online job application puts all of the power in the hands of the employer—and it cuts down the time and money needed to handle job applicants, because employees don’t see most of the applications.

You see, when you fill out the online job application, your application enters a database of applications, sometimes called the automated applicant tracking system, other times called “the resume black hole.”

How many times have you heard of people filling out dozens or even hundreds of online applications without even getting one response back?

Automated systems sort and process the applications. If your application isn’t processed and brought to the top of the list of applications, it simply won’t even be reviewed by human beings.

How to get through the automated filters

So the question is–what do you need to get to the top of the automated list, and get past the autobot filters designed to weed out applicants before HR or anyone else needs to spend any time on it?

You will need three things:

  1. Use exact keywords and phrases
  2. Find job openings that closely match your skills and abilities
  3. And… a system that works in reverse—a system that only has you apply for a job after you have gotten the response. Yes, you heard me right. To succeed with the online job application, you need only apply for the jobs that you already have a response for.

The experts and gurus will tell you that you need to apply for a lot of jobs. The logic is: the chances of getting a job goes up with every application you submit. But I don’t buy it. You spend hours getting the resume and application just right. You fight with the submission process, then you wait. And for what? Intense silence on the other side.

Your hopes are actually dashed with every online resume that you fill out. You can’t hold out real expectations when you haven’t had a response from the last 35 applications you have submitted, now can you?

Then pretty soon you are looking for ways to pump applications out faster. You are cutting corners sending the same resume to every offer, leaving every field blank that isn’t expressly required. But what will an employer see if they actually do look at that application? Someone who can’t even complete a whole form? Will that application actually help your chances of getting hired, or would it just hurt them?

What would your chances of being hired actually be like if you knew your application would be reviewed by a real person? How much more time and detail could you put into the application, and how much better would it be?

Contemplate those questions while we address the other two things that you need to get your resume seen by real people.

1) Use exact keywords and phrases

If you don’t have the exact keywords and phrases that the automated system is looking for, your application will fail. It is that simple. For an example, I will assume most everyone has done a Google search before. In the Google search window, a person will type in a search term and Google will deliver a list of possible sites that relate to the term that you typed in. Although the algorithms are different, the automated applicant tracking systems have, at their heart, the very same mechanisms and return to the employer’s agent, the HR person or company recruiter, a list of applications that have all of the specific keywords and phrases that they are looking for.

The irony here is that many people will have the experience and prerequisites expected, but will not be in this list of top qualified candidates because the automated systems just won’t find their application.

Use the job description to get the exact keywords that are being searched for.

See tips 2,3, and the complete JobMob article

4 Ways to Make Your Resume Mobile Friendly

by

One of the job hunting trends we’re seeing in 2015 is the rise of mobile recruiting. While moving in the direction of mobile has been going on for some time, a 2014 LinkedIn report suggests that because candidates have become so keen on looking for jobs on their phones that companies are starting to put forth more effort in their mobile recruiting efforts.

What does this mean for you? The bad news is if you aren’t already using your phone to look for a job then you’re behind. The good news is that companies are just starting to get the ball rolling with their mobile recruiting campaigns, so you still have time to make your resume mobile friendly.

Make it short, sweet and simple.

You don’t have a lot of room on the screen of a mobile phone. As such your cover letter should be as short as a screenshot on your phone.

Furthermore, for certain social media channels – such as LinkedIn statuses or Twitter updates – you’ll need to keep your communication to 140 characters or less.

Lastly, your resume should also be short and concise. You typically have to do this anyway, the only difference is you need to make sure it reads well on a mobile device.

 Use job search apps.

Another trend we’re seeing in 2015 is that the resume as we know it may be on its way out. Simply put, LinkedIn and other job search apps could easily replace a traditional resume.

You may want to start downloading some job search apps on your phone and learning your way around them. The LinkedIn app lets you do everything you can do on your desktop. Other apps notify you of job leads in your area and let you send your resume to companies directly from your phone.

Tips 3,4, and the complete ChameleonResumes article

21 Best Niche Job Boards

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Finding candidates is tough. There are either too many job seekers to choose from or locating that needle in the haystack takes more time, effort and phone calls than time you have. Enter in job boards especially those niche ones that cultivate relationships with the niche and speciality communities and job seekers, you want to reach. They offer a quick and easy way to showcase your specific job posting to the audience of niche job seekers who are interested in hearing about your opportunity. Optimizing your job posting for SEO? That’s another story for another day.

The Magic of Niche Job Boards for Recruiters

The challenge in finding niche job boards is that there are literally millions of job boards to choose from. The market is large and the barrier to entry is small due to job board software and even WordPress sites that allow you to set up a job boards in minutes. It’s hard to separate the quality niche job boards from the rest which is why I wanted to present you with 21 niche and specialty job boards that recruiters should consider posting their job openings.

  • Beyond.com. They have built their business model on niche job boards and have a very large community of candidates and job seekers with opportunities to micro target very specific groups.
RecruitMilitary.A great niche job board to engage and reach out to our active military and military veteran job seekers and community.

WeWorkRemotely. Formerly the 37Signals Job Board, this site focuses on technical jobs that can work remote. I love the concept and think organizations should consider remote work options especially for those hard to fill technical positions.