July 29, 2009

Who is reading your resume?

Filed under: insights — Paul Kilman @ 7:44 pm

These days if you don’t get your resume into the hands of the “right person,” you might as well not send it out at all. 

One of the greatest mistakes job hunters make is to send their resumes only to individuals who receive hundreds of resumes a week.  These are the individuals listed in advertisements, on job boards or as the “contact person” for company career sites.  Insight:  Most resumes that are sent this way are not reviewed by this individual – or any individual for that matter.  The sheer volume of responses makes an initial review by an actual human being unrealistic in many instances.  The company or job site may be using a parsing program to first load resumes into a database.  An autoresponder is sending you that seemingly personalized, but formulaic acknowledgement letter.  If your resume does not contain the all important keywords and narrowly defined years of experience, your resume may never be retrieved later for review – even if you are qualified.  When resumes are initially screened by an individual, let’s be fair, the sheer number of responses this person may have to plow through may make a thorough reading of each resume - including your resume - impossible.  Further, the person in the ad is rarely the hiring manager and he or she may not have the deep expertise to properly assess your credentials.  (The hiring manager is too busy for this amount of initial screening.)  Also, if you applied to a specific ad, your resume now sits in a large pool of other respondents who are your competitors wanting this same position.   This all adds up to a low percentage deal for you. 

What should you do?  I do realize that some employers require that you submit your resume online at some point for “official” consideration.  There are many reasons for this, but suffice to say that you should do so if required.  But in addition, you will also want to put your resume into the hands of the person who can actually hire you to do the work you would like to do.  Normally, this person does not deal with a large number of resumes.  This is usually a department head.  Ask yourself this question:  Who is the person who, given your skills and interest, would be your boss, or your boss’s boss?   Researching legal or business directories, searching your LinkedIn network, networking with colleagues or simply calling the company to determine who is in the position of interest to you can help you identify the person with whom you should connect.   Send your resume to this person and follow-up with him or her.  Starting from here will produce better results for you than trusting your career to a databasing function that may erroneously screen you out – and never provide you with useful feedback.

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