Over the past several weeks, I've had one-on-one meetings with dozens of job seekers in regard to their resumes. I often ask, “Why are you here today to meet with me? What do you wish to take away from our meeting?” Most often the response is something such as, “I am not getting many interviews or being eliminated early in the interview process and want to figure out where is, for me, the weak link in that chain.”
What I continue to find is one of the most common issues/problems with candidates…They are providing me/the hiring manager (in the resume or during an interview) with a lot more information than is relevant for the position, or spending all of their resume space or interview time relating what they DID vs. what they ACCOMPLISHED, and that is not how to communicate the “wow” factor and why they may be my ideal candidate.
What you DID relates to tasks, your ACCOMPLISHMENTS tell me about what outcomes were produced as a result of your actions. And, hiring managers really wish to hear about HOW you applied the sought after skills and competencies to produce exceptional results and why those results are/were considered to be outstanding.
Here is a typical bullet point that I've seen on literally hundreds of resumes:
“Sourced, interviewed & recommended candidates for open positions.”
Well, that’s just terrific. You and 1,000,000 other HR people do this every day. This is a “did”, not an accomplishment. Here are some questions that this job seeker should be asking themselves about this “achievement” (trust me, the hiring manager will be):
· How did you source candidates and WHY was your manner of doing so much more effective than others?
· What is different/distinctive (from all of the other candidates who applied for this position at my company) regarding your methodology for interviewing candidates for open positions?
· What is the approximate retention rate for new hires that were sourced and recommended by you? How does that compare to your peers? Is it a “wow”? WHY?
· How many candidates did you source/interview annually…one, ten, one hundred..? How did this compare to others at your company who had similar responsibilities?
The answers to such questions helps the recruiter or hiring manager determine which candidates will be on the list to call for scheduling a phone screen or interview. And, this number is normally only a small percentage of the total amount of resumes submitted for an open position.
Here is a sample of how to tell a more impactful story about your “Sourced, interviewed & recommended candidates” accomplishment in the resume:
“Developed large network of recruiters, business owners, peers and outplacement professionals, which referred an average of sixty strong candidates annually for consideration, dramatically reducing sourcing time from an average of six weeks to two weeks or by 67%. Engaged employees, from within the department in which the new hire would be placed, in the interview and selection process, contributing to an average new hire retention rate of 95%, which was the highest percentage ever achieved by the HR Recruiting Group in 25 years.”
See the difference?
Let’s say you are a Tool & Die Maker and wish to tell the hiring manager during an interview that you helped save time as a result of coming up with solutions to problems/more efficient operational methods. You could state:
“I saved a lot of time by coming up with ideas to make the workflow process more efficient.”
Again…OK, this might be very true, but the statement does not “wow” me about what you have done at your current/previous employer(s) and could possibly do if I brought you on board at my company. Something like the following would do much more towards capturing the attention of the hiring manager:
“I developed, during personal time outside of the workday, a solution to the problem, experienced by all 40 Tool & Die Makers at the company, of locating tools needed to assist in performing assigned jobs. Tools were often difficult to find by workers or had not been properly maintained, thus causing significant increases in the time necessary to complete a job. I drew up and then submitted to ownership detailed drawings and a step-by-step plan for the re-design of the Tool Room and establishment of a process for periodic maintenance of tools. This effort resulted in an average decrease of 100 man hours in the Production area on a monthly basis. The hours previously spent searching for tools or finding tools that were properly maintained and “job ready”, supported the completion of 25 additional jobs per month. I received from the company owner a bonus (no bonuses had been awarded to any employee by ownership during the previous three years) and a promotion to Senior Operator in recognition of this accomplishment.”
Once you “earn” the opportunity to interview, you need to continue the focus on accomplishments. Also, telling the interviewer about skills and competencies that are not even on the list of “Required Skills/Experience” for a company’s ideal candidate is a waste of time. It may seem/feel important to you to do so, but most hiring managers see such information as irrelevant or unimportant (and wonder why you are wasting their time by not focusing on the items noted in the job description).
Remember, a candidate has approximately 30 – 40 seconds to impress the reader of their resume or just a few minutes to “wow” the interviewer enough continue to the next step in the selection process.
How are you presenting yourself?