Monday, June 28, 2010

Resumes as Liabilities

The sad fact that medium/big sized organizations usually receive thousands of resumes competing for a single position, usually means that your resume will not be reviewed by the hiring manger, rather a junior staff member from the HR department, or even worse, a computer program will be examining your carefully planned resume. The task of reviewing a mountain of resumes will not be met with great joy, rather the junior staff member who is stuck with this job will find any reason to quickly reject your resume so that he can quickly dwindle down the great stack. This means the slightest error (spelling, grammar , etc ) will result in your resume being abandoned into the forgotten abyss of the waste basket.

Don’t be na├»ve to think that resume reviewers will give you the benefit of the doubt. When you scan your resume and come across any sections that has you thinking “well he should know what I mean” / “it’s obvious what I mean here”, quickly rewrite that section so that even a three year old can understand what you mean. Think about it, if your resume is the 349th resume that day that somebody had to read, they won’t take the extra second to pause and think “hmmm what does this person mean here ?” , rather they will be thinking “next !”.

So don’t give reviewers this opportunity ! Dot your I’s and cross those T, take the extra time to carefully scan your resume and recruit a few trust worthy people to cross examine your resume to make sure that no silly mistakes exist. Reading your resume out loud will also help you spot some common grammatical errors. Creating a successfully resume can take hours of hard work and careful thought, so don’t let these tiny mistakes undo you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Creating Excitement through a Detailed Resume

Creating excitement and interest from your resume readers is one of the sure fire ways to stand out from the heaps of generic resumes that employers go through on the daily basis. One the best ways to create excitement is to be specific about your accomplishments and to supply ample details about those accomplishments. Take for example:

I’ve played tennis in the past

Vs

I’ve played tennis in the past, with Roger Federer, in front of the Queen of England, at Wimbledon.

That’s much more interesting and exciting ! Now to be fair, that is an extreme example and I am sure if anybody had those qualifications, they would make sure to list it in detail. But, the point is that specifics and details breathes life into an often dreary list of accomplishments and it creates a much more vivid picture of who you are and what you can do for their organization. Let’s examine a more realistic example:

Experienced Network administrator responsible for maintaining computer hardware and software.

Vs

Experienced Network Administrator responsible for implementing Microsoft’s SharePoint software platform, allowing companywide collaborative web publishing under a single server.

The second description provides a much better idea to employers what this person actually did at their previous job and makes the perspective job applicant seem like a real person rather than just words on a paper. So, take a closer look at your accomplishments and figure out how you can add some specifics and details to your accomplishments to get employers genuine interested and excited about you. Hopefully that interest and excitement can translate to a successful job interview.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Post and Pray

Post and pray has become the new mantra for the thousands of new graduates hoping to get that ever elusive job interview. Post and pray refers to the phenomenon of job seekers posting generic resume en mass to every job posting that they think they have shot at, even if they are qualified or not. Thanks to the growth of internet job boards, there is virtually no cost or effort associated with sending a resume in response to a job posting. In prehistoric times, a job seeker at least had to print out a stack of resume and physically had to drive to companies to hand them off. This expenditure of both ink and effort made job seekers think twice about applying for a job that they are under qualified and/or have no passion for. Fast forward to the internet age and the advent of emails and job boards has lead even freshly minted business students to apply for senior executive positions.

Post and pray had lead to a glut of generic resumes that have turned employers wary of wading through literally tens of thousands of resumes, you can’t blame them for not giving your template resume the time and the day. Even worst, many desperate job seekers are employing commercial resume blasting services that are even more indiscriminate about which job posting they reply to. No wonder most job seekers never hear anything back from employers, not even a rejection notice.

To stand out from the piles of generic resume, I believe it’s crucial to create a targeted resume that may be uniquely designed for a specific company that you are interested in. Yes, this would require much more effort than just filling in a few boxes and having some software spit out a generic template resume, but that is exactly the point. You want to show employers that you have put considerable consideration and effort in responding to their job posting. If you don’t show them that consideration, why should they do the same for your resume?

The willingness to go that extra mile will make allow you to stand out from the masses and for the internet age, standing out has become more important than ever. Don’t try to simply play the numbers game.

Grim future for new graduates

New graduates in the coming year, like myself, are faced with an ugly job market unseen in decades. True, the dot com bust of the 2000’s created large scale job lost, but that was mainly concentrated in the tech sector. Currently, new graduates are facing a tidal wave of unemployed workers from the recent recession , many which have more experience and qualifications then us new graduates, and as each semesters passes another new crop of graduates will enter the job market to compete with the already dry job market. Let’s not forget that the current recession has created an ever more competitive environment for businesses and as a result they are tightening up their purses and looking for the cheapest skilled labor they can find. Usual that means outsourcing as much as they can to citizens of developing countries who are willing to work pennies on the dollar. Not too long ago, a new graduate with a shiny new degree from a reputable institution, graduated with a sense of excitement and the feeling that they can conquer the business world. Those days seem to be in the past, the distant past.

So what is a new graduate suppose to do given such a competitive job market ? Having good contacts and networking has always been the safest bet to landing that cushy job, but that is not always an option. Usually the first contact employers have with a potential applicant is through their resume, so it has become more crucial than ever to develop a AAA resume that catches people’s attention and holds it. Trying to land the dream job with a generic and obvious template created resume will not work when employers are swamped with hundreds of similar looking resume ( come to think about it, I’m not sure it has ever worked). I created this blog, in hopes to share with my fellow new graduates any techniques I learn and come by in the area of resume creation, so that we can all land that dream job we have been imaging during late night cram sessions. If not a dream job, hopefully something half decent so that we can begin to pay down that student loan !