The average recruiter gets literally hundreds of resumes PER DAY for every ad posted. When a job offers a six-figure income, those figures jump to 1,000 applicants per day, per job.
So how do you stand out amongst all the other applicants, vying for these opportunities?
Read on to learn a few secrets from veteran recruiters.
The Secret of Key Word Matches
Today just about everything is automated, including job ads. When we post a job, we receive notices that say an applicant is an 88% match, 12% match, etc. Those percentages are strictly based on KEY WORD MATCHES.
Savvy applicants tweak their resumes on a job by job basis, being sure to match key words from the ad to their resume.
The way to most effectively do this is to look at the ads list of mandatory qualifications. Obviously, you need to have those skill sets in order to apply but making sure that you use the same terminology on your CV/resume as the mandatory requirements will dramatically increase your percentage of match.
Of course, there are ways to trick the system, and we all get occasionally get resumes from high school gym teachers that are applying for CEO roles, who have plugged in all the critical words into their resume, and all the bells and whistles go off, announcing a high match. But inevitably a live person will look at the resume and see what has happened. No one likes to be tricked and we all value our time, so the candidate is dismissed, and typically blocked from further submissions. So, the moral to that story is while it is extremely smart to use the same terminology as the ad you are applying to, honor everyone’s time and don’t make yourself out to be something you are not.
If you feel the job title is something that you could do, and are qualified for, it is still important to go over the specific mandatory requirements. Though a title might remain consistent, what the actual job entails will vary from company to company. Where some companies might need your specific skill set, you might not suit the unique requirements of others. In any case, ensure that you meet and ideally surpass by a notch or two the bare minimum requirements stated.
If you don’t meet the mandatory requirements, you have two options:
- Make note of what experience you need in order to be a viable contender for the job of your dreams, and then go out and get it.
- Still apply, but openly address the fact that you do not possess exactly what they are looking for, but you are passionate about wanting to join the company and willing to learn, by addressing the fact that you fall short in certain areas, you put yourself ahead of 99% of the applicants that apply that are not truly qualified.
Customize Your Objective
Consider taking a few moments to change your Objective on the top of your resume to actually match the job you are applying for. It is always a bit disconcerting to receive a resume for a Sales position based with a large, established company only to see the Objective announce that the applicant is looking to make an impact in an Operations role ideally in a small start-up. Be sure to list JOB TITLE and ideally customize to match company size and industry for added punch. Tweaking the Objective takes just a few minutes and makes a big impact.
Add Bullet Points Listing Job Accomplishments, Not Job Description
This goes back to matching up key words. Don’t focus so much on listing descriptions of your previous jobs, as much as job accomplishments. Hiring managers love to see percentages, and numbers associated with your performance. Add bullet points, saying things like:
- Achieved 113% of quota 1st year with company
- President’s Club 11 Years Running!
- Perfect Attendance Record
- Sold largest contract in company history at $112 million
Match Your Resume Style to Company Culture When Possible
All companies have their own unique company culture. There are firms that have a very conservative, no nonsense feel, and others that lean towards a more relaxed work environment. Glassdoor is a terrific site that lets you check out what current and former employees report about a company’s culture and how they treat their employees. Take some time to consider if the company sounds like a place where you would fit in. Keep in mind that even in companies that offer casual dress codes, you always want to dress up for your interview. If employees report that the company you are applying to offers a lot of autonomy and allows employees to work with little direction, just focusing on the end results for instance, it would be wise to list on your resume that you have worked with little direct supervision and achieved strong results.
Matching your resumes tone to the company culture is also wise. You would not want to submit a flashy, multi colored resume to a staid, conservative financial firm, however an up and coming marketing company would be much more receptive to that kind of creative resume style.
Given that there are vast numbers of people likely applying for the same position that you are, it is smart to do everything you can to stand out. Cover letters offer the perfect vehicle to do that. By crafting a customized Cover Letter for each job applied to, where you can emphasize your strengths and how they match the mandatory qualifications is a powerful way to set yourself apart.
Change the Subject Line
We all receive so many submissions on a daily basis, and they all have the same subject line. Consider changing the subject line when you apply to an ad, and rather than letting it auto-fill the verbiage, change it up some. Imagine a recruiter’s joy when seeing in the midst of 684 emails with the subject line, “Director of Compensation, Houston Texas”, a beacon of light, declaring, “Your Search for a Director of Compensation is Over!” Take a minute to change the subject line and you will stand out from the masses.
Post Your Resume on ExecuNet
In addition to submitting your resume to specific jobs, if you are in an active job seeking mode, you want to also post it on ExecuNet. They are the go-to place for executive job seekers, as they have a 30+ year history of working with recruiters and executives. By posting your resume on ExecuNet, attending their job search master classes, and setting up alerts, you can be pro-active in your job search.
We hope that you find these suggestions useful and are able to put them to good use, landing the job of your dreams!
Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com
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