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Then there is the trend of reducing monumental, genuinely important journalism, facts and ideas to three paragraphs or less.
In light of both of these trends I have determined how I can synthesize my message into as few words as possible. I have come up: How and Wow.
HOW refers to how your resume/CV will successfully navigate resume-filtering software. This is accomplished by taking those significant keywords from the job posting and making certain they appear ON your resume. Note I did not say IN your resume. You don’t have time to craft a new resume from scratch for every submission. For an example of how I accomplish this go to this page on my website: https://rickgillis.com/job-sample-documents/ and download the sample SHORT FORM RESUME. Look at the bottom of the page for the KEYWORDS section. It will be the section that is of a significantly smaller font size than the rest of the document. These random looking terms come directly from the job posting. This is HOW you manage the software portal. Or, in other words, whether a real, human-person will see your document on the other end.
And now for the WOW.
The WOW comes from speaking to your accomplishments. All statements on a resume should resolve with a net result. This is my accomplishment statement formula: Responsible for ______ that resulted in ______. This applies to your LinkedIn profile as well. Every statement; every bullet point should end w/a value statement that will make someone ask you, “How did you do that?!” In reality what they are actually asking is, “Can you do that for me?” Express to an employer how you are categorically going to make or save them money and you will have their attention.
What I have just provided you is a two-word synthesis that is my JOB! Search Optimized book.
As always, I wish you great success!
I tell clients during the job search process they need to understand that the clock is not theirs. There can be a lot of reasons for this: How many candidates are being considered for a position; are we in the ‘hiring season‘?; is there even a budget in place for the position you seek or is the company just shopping now to hire at the beginning of their fiscal year?; are there enough of the proper management in the office at this time to sign off on the hire?, etc.
But regardless of the reasons, real or imagined, or what the lawyers say you can or can’t say to a prospective candidate, I STRONGLY FEEL there needs to be, at minimum, a basic courtesy message (even if only electronic!) extended to someone who has put all that deeply personal effort into successfully managing what you know is a ludicrous online application process and has made the all-out effort to professionally make the grade. (Remember when that was you?!)
My motivation for writing this is based on an email I received from a friend currently seeking his next opportunity. Please read, review, respond—whatever. I hope you will share that this can become a more robust discussion.
I have nothing more to add to what my friend says so eloquently below.
Thanks so much for thinking of me. I want you to know that I was not ignoring your thoughtful inquiry, but I find it hard to admit that I am struggling to keep my spirits up. I was so optimistic about a position that I had many reasons to believe I would be offered, only to find out weeks later that I was passed over. This was a very hard blow and one that the lack of feedback as to why has been consistently on my mind.
With every rejection a bit of self-esteem is peeled away. I know that I have become far too sensitive, taking it far too personally and therefore become too affected when repeatedly not selected for interviews. Also when someone takes an extra day or week to get back to me from what they promised I feel like I’ve been treated shabbily. Often they become unresponsive when I am checking back to find out the status of positions that I have applied to weeks’ prior with nothing more than an automated response either acknowledging my application or a rejection notice for not being further considered.
In a previous life I hosted radio and TV employment-based talk shows and one of the questions I asked almost all hiring professionals I interviewed was “Do you read cover letters?” The since-you-ask standard response was usually “No,” occasionally followed with a “Sometimes.”
I knew what ‘sometimes’ meant.
Most hiring professionals are so inundated with ‘paper’ that it is an accomplishment just to get through the thousand or so resumes that land in their inbox on a daily basis. On occasion a resume may be received that catches their eye and, if a cover letter is included, it may receive a glance.
Here is what you should know.
Cover letters are a test. If you see a posting and the instructions to apply say ‘submit your resume and a cover letter to…” then you MUST submit a cover letter. It may not even be reviewed but those resumes received without a cover letter will be summarily dismissed. Get it? This is your first test. Can you follow basic instructions? This is why I say that cover letters may be necessary.
I have even used this technique when hiring. Those responses I received without a cover letter after stating it was a requirement in my posting were straight away deleted and, honestly, who knows how many talented individuals I never considered simply because of their not being able to follow this basic instruction?
So what do you say on a document that is not going to be read?
First rule regarding cover letter content: Keep it short. Three paragraphs at most and only a sentence or two per paragraph. Show the reader how eloquent you can be in just a few lines. Brief is good!
- Paragraph 1—State that you are the ideal candidate, your interest in the position and working for the company.
- Paragraph 2 – Present a broad overview of your qualifications as they relate to the job. Do not go overboard. Your cover letter is not a second resume.
- Paragraph 3 – Create a call to action. This piece is up to you but I have always liked something as simple as: “I am ideally suited for this position and look forward to hearing from you soon. With two weeks’ notice I can begin work. Please call.”
Close with a proper “Sincerely” or “Respectfully”; your signature, your name typed, a single phone number (recruiter’s don’t call second phone numbers), and your email address.
I can’t emphasize how much short-is-good when it comes to a cover letter. Don’t waste your time trying to sell yourself here simply because (1) as mentioned earlier it probably won’t be read and (2) because your resume is your sales tool.
As always, I wish you great success!
Well I’m back to talk about keywords (once again). In my opinion your ‘modern day’ (I hate that phrase) resume must be built on a foundation of keywords. In order for this to make any sense to you please visit this link to my website and click on the SHORT-FORM RESUME ICON (illustrated up there to the left). What will open up is a sample of an Accomplishments-Based resume of my own making. Scroll to the very bottom of the document and notice a section there called KEYWORDS. Notice also that it is of a smaller font size than the rest of the document. I’ve been telling you all along that there are no rules to resumes. And I should well know. I made up a bunch of my own!
Now I’m not going to go into all the detail here about the what and why’s of how I created my resume format but know that the title and the reasoning comes from knowing (and now you will too) that some of the resume filtering systems allow the end user (the recruiter) to review only the first page of a what a job seeker may submit. Knowing this I created a One-Page resume that, quite simply, covers all the bases. And when I say ‘the bases’ what I’m really saying is enough “to get you the phone call.” 9I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: A resume does not get you a job. It gets you a phone call.0
There is SO MUCH more for you to know about this document and the sheer simplicity of it that I spent 4 chapters in my JOB! book discussing every what, where, when, how and why of this document. If you want to learn more about what may look to you like a skinny, little document (that isn’t!) check out Chapters 4, 5 and 6 in JOB! and then you will run headlong into Chapter 7 which is solely about keywords and how the process works.
Here it is in a nutshell: Your resume MUST, as much as possible, contain those keywords/key phrases that appear in the job posting. Job seekers think they know this stuff so they choose the obvious terms like: ‘SAP’ and ‘Logistical Software Support’ and ‘Developmental Metrics.’ But what about those OTHER rich key terms such as Southwest Houston or Attention to Detail or Good Pronunciation and Professional Appearance?! A little clue for you? Just about every word in a job posting is a keyword. BUT DO NOT COPY AND PASTE FROM THE POSTING. Doing so can potentially have your resume deleted from consideration.
Ever heard of a little technique called the “White Out” technique? If you know what I’m talking about DON’T DO IT! Your resume WILL be deleted from any consideration whatsoever. Oh, BTW, I’m the guy that brought that little strategy to the public in my first book way back in 2006. And it worked for about two years but no more. Times have changed. You can’t get away with it. The software converts your resume content to the chosen font, font size and font color so it’s pretty easy to understand that your WHITED OUT COPY will now appear in it’s full glory and you, dear job seeker, will be eliminated from consideration from the position for being deceitful. If they can’t trust you on paper how can they trust you ON THE JOB?!
So your other option, which is SO dumb and time consuming is to write a new resume to embed those necessary keywords into your resume OR you could just do as I suggest and add a new section at the bottom of your resume called KEYWORDS that you can use to place those important terms to be flagged by the machine.
Hey, listen, I could go on here for another 3 pages but it’s all in the book.
FYI, I’m also Periscoping these posts which then land on Twitter (which owns PS) for 24 hours and I’m also placing them on my YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure. (Check it out. I have a ton of stuff over there that I never tell anyone about including my live, little goofy Periscope wonders!) It’s all free. Share this good fortune with anyone you know currently seeking a new opportunity who aren’t getting any calls!
Today’s motto: It’s all in the keywords, baby!
To your success!