LinkedIn profiles and resumes go together like peas and carrots. I think Tom Hanks might have said that. Well, maybe not in that context but even he should know that a LinkedIn profile should lead the recruiter right to a box of chocolates, your resume.
Corny? Absolutely. But, you want to make it easy for recruiters who have read your amazing profile on LinkedIn to see the detail that only your resume can provide. It is the combination of the profile and the resume that will cause a recruiter to reach out to you.
Note: How do you get your resume on LinkedIn? It’s simple, you just hyperlink to your resume from your profile. If you are not sure how to do this, check out the free download,
So, in my previous posts, I have talked a lot about LinkedIn. Now it’s time to share my key resume strategies for getting your resume read by recruiters and hiring managers. As we go through the following seven secrets, feel free to use mine as an example.
Seven secrets to getting your resume read by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS’s)
Powerful Header Section
Let’s start at the very beginning. The header section of your resume should have accurate contact information, show the position(s) for which you are interested, and list your key strengths. There is an infinite number of ways to format this section. Readability is key.
What I have done in my resume, is to use keywords under the position title and then provide more detail in the bullets below that. If you count, you will see that in this very short amount of space, I have provided approximately a dozen different attributes as keywords that I want the reader, or rather the resume software, to pick up on.
Two pages, no more!
Bottom line, a long resume goes straight to the trash. It overwhelms the reader as they simply don’t have the time. Yours is not the only resume they have to review. Remember what Mark Twain said, “You’ll have to excuse my lengthiness—the reason I dread writing letters is that I am so apt to get to slinging wisdom & forget to let up. Thus much precious time is lost.” Or paraphrased, “I would have written a shorter letter but ran out of time.” Even he had a tough time with brevity. But, brevity is a sign of respect and will give you a competitive advantage.
Keep your objective statement to three lines at most
I have a tricky situation so this is a case of “Do as I say and not as I do.” Let me explain. I have been a CEO of a non-profit organization. Typically, this position is called an “Executive Director”. However, at my association, the job title was Chief Executive Officer. I don’t want to lose that more prestigious title but would certainly entertain leading another non-profit. So, I have listed both position titles with the word “or” separating them. In essence, this whole header section serves as my desired objective.
Hopefully, your situation isn’t as complex as this, but if it is, you may need to be creative. This is exactly the type of situation which should also be addressed in your cover letter (discussed below).
Don’t go crazy with formatting
A simple format with plenty of white space is far more impressive than 9 point font and 1/4″ margins. Don’t go tightening up line spacing to squeeze more in, cut instead. Remember brevity is golden. Only use one font type. To check this, select all and see if your font type disappears. If it does, you have multiple fonts. Pick a simple one and go with it. Arial and Calibri are two good choices.
If you have links in your resume, make sure they work. A good link to include would be your LinkedIn custom URL you have created for your profile. The reference above explains how to do this.
Last, avoid buzzwords. The top buzzwords to avoid in 2017 are also listed in the reference.
Companies searching for candidates are counting on your resume to contain keywords that would logically be associated with the position. Why? Because they are using software that isn’t very smart. It can’t read minds, it just looks for keywords. Without them, you are invisible.
So what keywords? The typical title of the position you are seeking and the names of any certification or credentials related to that position are absolutely necessary. So, if you are looking for a position as a project manager, your resume should contain the keyword Project Manager and probably, if you have it, the designation PMP. Throughout your resume, the word(s) project management should appear as appropriate.
Don’t be guilty of “keyword stuffing”. Your resume still has to be readable. If you put the keywords where they make sense, the software will find you.
Numbers and statistics are very powerful and lend credibility to your deeds. They remove subjectivity and set you apart from others who have been less specific. Always ask yourself the question when listing your accomplishments, “Is there a way to quantify this?”
Here are some examples from my resume:
“Within 90 days, ascertained that the organization would face bankruptcy within 18 months.”
“Saved approximately $250K annually in infrastructure costs allowing us to put forward the first break-even budget in 5+ years.”
“Established a team of 20 high-caliber contractors to serve as a development and QA team.”
“Completed 80% of the project in the same amount of time taken for the previous 20%.”
Hiring managers have been taught by human resource professionals, that dates are important. Specifically, gaps in dates. There is an assumption, which could very well be wrong in your case, that a gap is a “red flag” or reason to question your background.
When hiring managers are looking at hundreds of resumes, red flags prevent interviews. When listing your positions, make sure there are no gaps in dates as you move from one to the other. If the end date is June 2006, the start date for the next position needs to be July 2006.
Now, the reality is that you may not be able to do this. You may have a legitimate gap. Maybe you traveled the world or became a stay at home mom. That is ok, life is like that. My advice is to create an entry for this period, keeping the same format used for other positions, and explain briefly what it might have been. That way you have no gap. Better to explain the gap than risk creating a red flag which prematurely eliminates you from the running.
Cover letters are necessary. Cover letters now take the form of emails and that is ok. However, the format should be the same as a traditional cover letter. Studies have told us that cover letters are only read by 50% of hiring managers but the funny thing is, we know that 90% of hiring manager still want to see them.
Cover letters give you a chance to shine above your competitors. Hiring managers also know that they are typically less “professionally edited” than resumes and that the writing is a better example of the candidates true writing abilities. Additionally, resumes are written in a very cold business style, whereas cover letters give you a chance to explain to the hiring manager what makes you tick and why you are a great fit. They are the number two in a one-two punch.
Remember though, great cover letters are always tailored to address the specific position you are seeking. They should be written to the attention of the hiring manager, if you can obtain their name, and should state why you are the perfect candidate for the position they have to fill. Furthermore, it should always ask for the interview.
Take care till next week,
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