I mean no offense to my recruiting brethren with my title heading. (I am a former recruiter for those who do not know.) We are certainly not idiots. Just overwhelmed. Job seekers need to know that corporate and search firm recruiters are overwhelmed with resumes and communications from candidates who are earnestly seeking their next position (sometimes using guidance from job search coaches like me ).
Knowing this fact, I tell my clients that being qualified is not enough!! Those that are qualified will rise to the top of the pile and have her resume read ONLY if their resume is idiot-proof. That is, ensure the reader will know without a doubt what position the applicant is applying for by reading her resume on its own using a branded title.
You have to assume the resume will be separated from the cover letter. Will your resume stand on its own? The gut check question you can ask yourself is: “Will a hiring manager know exactly what you want by reading your resume only?”
If the answer is ‘yes’, then your resume is in good shape. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’, here are some steps you can take to position the resume to make it easy for hiring managers to realize which position you want to be considered.
• Eliminate the word “summary” as the heading to your resume. Give it a title that mimics the title of the position you are seeking and for which you are qualified. For example, if you are formerly a Director of Marketing and are applying to a Senior Director of Marketing position that is an appropriate next step, make the branded resume heading the latter and keep your title on the employment section accurate with the former.
• If you are an entry-level person or are looking to take on the next level of responsibility in your next role, then title yourself as such in your branded title heading, such as: Entry-Level Pharmaceutical Representative or Aspiring Senior Director of Marketing.
• Ensure you have a summary paragraph under the branded title heading that supports the title outlining briefly what you bring to the table and the results you have accomplished.
• Use keyword bullets under the summary to punctuate your qualifications and experiences. Note: Be sure the keyword phrases you use describe your background further specifically and are not so generic that they tell the reader nothing. GUT CHECK: if the phrase used can be used on an HR resume, an engineering resume, and a finance resume, then that phrase is wasting space and not telling the reader anything about your specifically. For example, “Energetic manager that brings results to the organization” does not differentiate you in anyway, even if it is true. Use specifics.
The goal is to have the hiring manager look at your resume and within an instant know exactly which position is the right one for you. If the hiring manager has to work at figuring out which position a job seeker is good for, chances are the resume gets tossed in the ‘no’ pile, or the ‘maybe’ pile or in the wrong pile. By making it easy for the hiring manager, you increase your chances of getting in the ‘yes’ pile and getting the call. All things being equal and all considered applicants being qualified, the bottom line is the job seeker that makes the hiring manager’s job easiest wins.