A resume is designed to capture the attention of 2 different people; the Skimmer and the Scrutinizer. The perfect resume will cater to both their review styles and satisfy their internal check-boxes.
The Skimmer is somebody who is looking for keywords to judge whether or not you deserve an interview. This type is the person you want if you are a word salad writer and want to pass this filter. Specifically when a role has a must-have qualification, this is the resume reviewer that you want. The Skimmer’s downside can be quite embarrassing to you as the candidate. Say you get to the interview based on having the right keywords jammed in your resume. You are asked during the interview to explain your experience with, let’s say, Adobe Illustrator. Yes, you’ve used it, but it was one time, and it was really just Adobe Photoshop, but really it was MS Paint. And now you are backtracking and looking like a clown. This is an instant fail; much like driving on the sidewalk during your Driving Exam.
The Scrutinizer is the guy who nitpicks your resume line-by-line just looking for a reason to reject you. The benefit of this type is that if you do manager to pass their filter, you are likely already a top candidate for the position. The downside is that this type will often reject those who are very qualified, but missed 1 or 2 crucial bullet points that would have sealed the deal.
You can make a resume that satisfies both types without exaggerating, stretching, or adding fancy graphics. Here is what is needed:
- Include the specifics of the tool, project, application, or the final result ($$$ saved, quota achieved etc) to each bullet point. Don’t say something like, “Administered database to ensure data continuity.” Tell us it was SQL or Mongo or whatever, but make it clear what the tool was. Too many candidates get rejected by The Scrutinizer when they leave these small details out.
- Make it obvious that your job title is in line with the standard duties of that role. If you are a Project Manager, you need direct reports, budgets specifics, and clients if applicable. The most common mistake I see is people label themselves a manager without actually having direct reports. This is where you can pass the filter of the Skimmer, and lose bigly in the interview.
- Keep in mind that words mean things. But some words don’t have value because they are too vague or, even worse, misrepresent you. Instead of words that can be left up to interpretation like, “helped, assisted, and managed”, words like “architected, designed, and implemented” are more concrete.
At the heart of the resume is the 3 C’s: Clear, Concise, and Cnot Lying. If you stick to these, you will get more interviews and offers than you know what to do with.
To message me directly, find me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-arrigo/