Monday, January 22, 2007

Resume Tips from a Recruiter that Help You Land the Job

As I said in my last post, I usually write about freelancing issues. But, I've been getting a lot of queries lately that revolve around FT employment. Maybe it's because it's the new year.

At any rate, I will dedicate the next few posts to those who are seeking full-time jobs. Have a question, send it in.

Today's topic, selling your skills via your resume.
Resume Tips from a Recruiter that Help You Land the Job

Does your resume really reflect your skills and abilities? Are you underselling yourself professionally? Could you demand more if your resume was done right?

Following is some resume advice to get across to recruiters and employers what you really do - allowing you to demand what you're really worth.

Your Worth: I recently interviewed a candidate who had assisted three top-producing commercial real estate agents in New York City. One of them had sold the building that houses Sean Jean (P. Diddy's clothing line).

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Did his resume say that? No, under title it said "Customer Service." And, it listed such staid skills as managed switchboard, maintained filing system and ordered office supplies.

Upon interviewing him, I discovered that he pulled title reports, ordered appraisals and insurance records, dealt with surveyors and government records clerks, and responded to underwriting requests to get deals done.

In short, he was responsible for seeing a complex commercial loan through from inception to close. I NEVER would have picked this up had I not asked him detailed questions. Most recruiters won't take the time to do this. It is imperative that you, the applicant, give us the information we need.

How do you do that?

How to Word Your Resume to Actively Reflect Your Skills

a) Start with your title: Your title is static; usually there's not much you can do about that. BUT, you can add parenthesis to highlight what you really do/did. Eg, instead of just listing your title and nothing more, list it this way:
ABC Company, New York, NY
Customer Service Rep (Exec. Asst. to 3 Top-Producing Commercial RE Agents)

What's in parenthesis tells me what you really do.

b) Listing your duties: Get very specific and give your most important skills first, eg:

i) Managerial skills: Eg, did you supervise anyone? If so, how many? What where their titles? For how long?

ii) Project management experience: How large were the projects (attach a dollar value)? How many people did you interact with? Was it for a noted company?

iii) Dollars saved: Employers love employees who save the company money. Have you decreased overhead, increased productivity, streamlined a process that led to company savings, etc.?

c) Special skills/background: Are you a veteran; do you speak more than one language, do you have special training in a discipline (eg, an HR Assistant may have special training as a benefits specialist).

List all of these. You never know what an employer is going to be looking for, and those who have special skills/training stand out. Eg, if you are a military veteran, I can surmise that you are probably highly focused, extremely organized and know how to give and take direction well.

d) Using the job boards: If you post your resume on one of the major job boards like Monster or CareerBuilder, make sure it is keyword rich. Why? Recruiters search for candidates using key words. So, even if you have a skill, your resume might not pop up.

Therefore, instead of listing "MS Office Suite" on your resume, put down the specific programs encompassed in this suite. Eg: MS Office Suite (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel).

Listed this way, your resume will pop up no matter how narrow a recruiter's search is. These are the types of things that make a candidate stand out.

There is an old idiomatic expression that goes, "The only thing worse than having a job is looking for one." Don't complicate this further by underselling yourself.

Take the time - and, where necessary, spend the money - to get a professional resume that really reflects your abilities - and proves your worth.

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