To appreciate the importance of superior resumes, let’s first talk a little bit about the competition, and why it has devastated so many talented people. And keep in mind that when you look for a new job, you are reduced to how you look on paper.
Today, the number of resumes in circulation exceeds the imagination. GE receives 800,000 resumes a year... but they only hire about 4,000 people. That’s 1 out of every 200. Other well-known firms say they get over 1,000 resumes for every opening. And, when it comes to submitting your resume to an attractive ad... you should know that employers are now getting hundreds of candidates. Leading recruiters, like Korn Ferry and Heidrick and Struggles, now claim to receive more than 1,500 resumes a work day... 30,000 each month.
Despite the enormous competition, many people create a resume, show it to some friends or family members and then assume it’s fine. Ann Landers is famous for many quotes, but one applies here. “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
While many professionals still use traditional resumes, with this amount of competition, the fact is they don’t work very well anymore. The reason is that most of these resumes have common weaknesses that can restrict job hunting success.
Image. Your resume must start by projecting an outstanding image... one that sets you apart. It must be eye-catching... not ordinary, plain vanilla and flat.
Liabilities. Even top executives can find themselves continually derailed... because of the negative information they made available... without realizing it.
Transferable skills. Does it just sell your history and experience? Selling skills is an absolute necessity if you want to expand your market... change industries... join a growth firm... appeal to venture capitalists... or impress CEOs and other key decision makers.
How you will contribute. You can’t have a resume that forces the reader to try to figure out how to use you. If so, you won’t get many calls. Why? Because people simply won’t take the time to study resumes. They’ll put it in the “no pile”... or toss it. Your resume has just 20 seconds to make your case... and get people to read further... or better yet... call you. If it doesn’t do this, you won’t even get in the game.
Being scanning ready. Scanning software has forever changed the selection process. Most organizations only keep the best 5% of resumes they receive... and scan just the first page into their databases. When employers are looking for someone, they simply input key words... bring up matching resumes... and review them. That determines who gets interviewed.
Dynamic. In today’s market, you must inspire the reader... being boring doesn’t work. The words you select need to have some reasonable punch, substance and sparkle. Your resume needs to be interesting and compelling. There are a lot of excellent competitors out there... and the worst thing you can do is undersell yourself.
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