Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Resume Basics Redux

2016-12-01 11:43:51

One of my primary job functions as a recruiter is reading resumes. A ton of them. These days I am reading ~100-200/day (I have almost 200 distinct positions open in 3 states for a rapidly growing company and I'm the only recruiter.) Many of our positions are in the trades, general labor, retail, or call center. Entry level positions with a very small list of requirements, or basic communication skills/customer service so I am seeing a lot of folks apply that probably aren't highly familiar with writing a resume. (I have several resume templates and posts on what a resume should look like.)

Some examples of resume glaring errors in the last couple of weeks:

-Someone that applied for a job with specific requirements. I sent him a decline based on his lack of relevant experience.

US: Thank you for your interest in our open position, but at this time we are only considering applicants that meet our minimum qualifications. (listed out)
Candidate: I do meet that. It's just not on my resume.

-This morning I received a resume from a veteran. I really try to hire vets whenever I can, and his skill set is something that *could* be a match. He listed out his title, and some impressive accomplishments but nowhere on his resume did he talk about the actual *SKILLS* that are required on the job description. (I sent him an email and told him that I would love to consider him if he could update his resume to show what relevant skills he has.)

-You have heard it time and again, and it is true: never allude to things on your resume that indicate marital status, orientation, religion, ethnicity, gender, political affiliations etc. (gender is difficult based on your name.) I counsel folks that have actual work experience or relevant volunteer experience to put it in terms such as "12 month sabbatical for membership drive for global non-profit; increased local membership directly by 35%" for a religious mission. As this recent election cycle in the US (and even Great Britain with Brexit) has shown us, politics are polarizing, so while it is fine to indicate you worked on a political campaign, keep the party affiliation and candidate to yourself.

This particular resume entry is a huge red flag for me that a candidate used to describe his entrepreneurship:...""which I built out of my own pocket with the help of the Lord God."

What I, as a recruiter, need to see when I look at your resume.

1) Your professional (which can include RELEVANT volunteer experience, ie it uses your professional skill set) history and the SPECIFIC skills you have that map to the job description requirements.

Regarding volunteering "relevancy": A few years ago I helped a friend with his resume. He had received a sizable inheritance after he finished college and for a long time lived off of that. When he finally needed a job he didn't know what to do. But as a hobbyist, he created and sold specialized hand-crafted sports equipment, which I informed him made him a small business owner with basic business skills. (Yes, he got a job a few weeks later.) I volunteer in several capacities for either industry training for recruiters, or in a function that basically drives new membership recruitment and retention for a non-profit, and are directly relevant to my career.

On the topic of requirements: thanks to the federal government in the last decade, a large portion of companies are now subject to federal guidelines that require employers to hire strictly to whatever their established basic "must have this/these skills to perform this job at this level" levels are. They key here is MUST and REQUIRED. If you don't have these qualifications, you are NOT GOING TO BE CONSIDERED. It is a legal issue, not employers being overly picky. (Although I will not deny that this happens.)

2) Contact information. I need (preferably a phone number and email address), ways to contact you. I will not necessarily disqualify you if you live out of the area, because people are mobile these days (and area codes are no long and indicator of residence). If you are a strong candidate for a job, chances are I will at least send you to the hiring manager. UNLESS you are out of the country. My current employer does not offer any sort of immigration support, so unless you already have an active green card (and put it on your resume) or are an expat (which is helpful to know on your resume) I'm not going to consider you. At all. No matter how well you fit the job requirements.

3) Your education: this is formal, matriculated school such as high school, community college, or university. If you have been out of your formal educational institution for a YEAR OR LESS, it goes at the top of your resume (Doctoral programs are the exception to that rule such as academia, medicine, or law.)

If a job specifies that a Bachelors, Master's, or PhD is required and does not have "or equivalent experience" then that means you MUST POSSESS THE DEGREE for consideration. And yes employers verify it.
You can include partial college under your education, but still include the course of study and the years you attended. Caveat: if you try and "fudge" a degree, it creates a negative impression under closer scrutiny. Do yourself a favor and just be honest.

It *can* include specialized training for certification for your job/industry such as real estate licensing, CPA, S/PHR, etc. If you obtained a certification necessary or highly relevant to your job, you can include it in your education OR under a summary of qualifications (which I recommend). But you don't need to list out classes/areas of concentration. If you have attended something like a dev boot camp, be aware that it does not replace the need for a (technical) degree if it is in the job description. It is TRAINING not formal MATRICULATION.

The education section does NOT include every software, leadership, online course, self-help book, etc. that you have taken/used for professional development. If you received training on a piece of industry technology that you use daily, this should be part of your job entries, not a footnote on training. If you AREN'T using training you received in your current job, don't even bother to include it.

Bottom line: experience outstrips theory every time.

4) Listing hobbies are fine in moderation, but I don't need things like "I make a mean frittata" or "volunteer for XYZ dog rescue, and I have five special needs corgies that I adopted"; the first is irrelevant unless you are looking at restaurant jobs, the second is a red flag about your priorities. Sports/martial arts, musical/artistic pursuits, community activism (NOT religious), travel are all fine. Speaking one or more languages with conversational or better fluency is always a bonus; high school Spanish that you never use and don't remember does NOT make you bilingual.

But make sure you don't list so many "extra curricular" passions that you look like it is a part time job competing with your paying career.

Good luck in your job search! Leave questions in the comments section of you have them!

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