A Roomful of Résumé Writers
October 11, 2012 by Susan Martin, Project Manager Marketing Communications, Southworth Paper
About a month ago I was at a lovely wedding reception, seated next to a friend that I hadn’t seen in years. After catching up on life, naturally the conversation turned to job search and résumés. (I mean, what else would you talk about?) She shared a funny story with me about an HR Manager at the hospital where she works. He decided to try an experiment and uploaded his own résumé to apply for an open position in their hospital’s Human Resources department. As irony would have it, his résumé was rejected because according to the scanning software, he was not qualified for his own job. Happily this was just a test, but what’s the average job seeker to do?
As it turns out I attended the 15th annual National Résumé Writers’ Association conference in September and got to spend three days with 100 smart, industrious, disciplined professionals whose job it is to help people get jobs, whether it be from writing résumés and cover letters or career coaching and interview prep. These dedicated professionals come from a wide mix of backgrounds in HR, college career centers, military, government and self employed entrepreneurs. Needless to say they are in great demand nowadays!
This was my 4th year attending and I always learn so much from going to the sessions and talking to the writers. Naturally I was eager to learn about trends in résumés and how their clients are making out in this age of digital uploads and the dreaded ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that can toss an application into the virtual trash can before a human being even gets to read it.
So what do the experts advise?
The Keynote Speaker at the conference, Tim Moran, Human Resource Director for Hallmark Inc. has lots of insight from many years in Recruiting. He recommended that you create two versions of your résumé. One that is full of key words for your targeted position to convince the scanners that you have the needed skills. These can be taken directly from the job posting. The second version should be written intelligently for real live people. However, the trick is that you have to get it into the hands of the hiring manager. Mr. Moran stressed the importance of networking. Contact everyone you know and follow every lead until you find someone on the inside who will get you that name, and hopefully also recommend you for the position. This version of the résumé should also accompany the candidate on all interviews.
Mr. Moran also busted the common myth that Cover Letters aren’t necessary. He said that he always reads cover letters because they give dimension to the candidates and their command of grammar. He said he learns a lot about their personality and thought process by the way they write. So spend the time and create a cover letter that showcases your specific talents for the position, why you’re interested in the position and the company, and what you can bring to the table that will make you invaluable.
If you need help writing your résumé or cover letter, contact a professional résumé writer. You can preview some of their sample resumes and read their expert advice right here on our website. Their talents go way beyond writing. Some can also provide coaching to help you through a career transition. Some specialize in executive level careers and others are more in tune with the needs of recent grads and entry level workers. But there’s one thing they all have in common. They recommend that all their clients print their résumés and cover letters on Southworth Resume Paper to present their credentials in the most professional way. I told you they were smart!
I have another true story to share with you. This one came from a coworker of mine whose husband, Bob, was on an interview. He made sure he brought extra copies of his résumé with him. Why? Because his very wise wife told him to! However, the interviewer already had a copy of his résumé that he had received from a recruiter, so Bob held his copy back. But as the interview progressed, and certain questions just didn’t seem to make sense, it was evident to Bob that the interviewer was viewing an old version of his résumé. Luckily Bob was able to present his most recent résumé on Southworth Paper, and explained the discrepancy. Bob got the job. He was obviously qualified, but if he hadn’t brought his own copies, the story may not have had such a happy ending.
Do you have a story to share? If so, we’d love to hear it. And may you all live happily ever after…