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Become the Candidate Employers Love!

May 16th, 2012

Five hiring managers are seated around a desk, sifting through a stack of more than a hundred resumes for two open positions. This is the first round, so unfortunately, almost every resume ends up drifting into a pile bound for the trash bin.

Every once in a while, one of the screeners will say “Hey, listen to this one,” and share a clunky sentence or humorous resume misstep with the others, who will laugh at the poor applicant’s expense. The mood in the room is lighthearted but also urgent, since the position needs to be filled by the end of the month.

Then one of the screeners holds up the resume in her hands. “Wow,” she says. “Just wow.” The others listen as she reads a few lines aloud and then passes the resume around.  Within a few minutes, the other managers have all had a chance to glance over it, and without another word, it’s placed carefully to the side. “Well, that’s it,” says the hiring manager. “I think one of our positions has just been filled.”

They still have one more position to staff and a stack of fifty more resumes to review. Yours is somewhere in the stack. Will it get the same response?

How to Be the Candidate Employers Love

If you want to be the candidate at the center of unanimous, enthusiastic agreement, make sure your resume contains these key elements.

1. Include a summary, not an objective.

Objectives are out. Instead, head the resume with a very short paragraph summarizing the rest of the content, in other words, summarizing you. Condense your unique self and everything you have to offer into three compelling, readable sentences.

2. Give a real sense of what you’ve done.

Be honest. Be clear. And for pity’s sake, drop the buzzwords. After each job title you’ve held, write a short description of what you actually did. Then insert a few bullet points listing your key accomplishments. Try to attach a number to each accomplishment, as in “reduced customer complaints by 40%”.  But let your history speak for itself. Too much spin suggests you have something to overinflate or hide.

3. Emphasize the story.

Everyone in the resume stack has something to offer, everyone has a degree (if a degree requirement was specified in the job posting), and everyone has basic familiarity with the field. They all know how to show up on time. They all know how to meet deadlines. And they’re all “leaders” and “team players”. But you have something they don’t have. Find it, and make sure it’s woven throughout the resume like a theme.

4. Don’t be careless.

Of course your resume should be typo-free. But this is only because typos suggest a larger underlying problem– that of a candidate who goes through the motions, feels entitled to a job, and doesn’t expect to be scrutinized or held to a higher standard. Typos say: “I can’t be bothered to take this seriously,” which is a death knell for a resume. Make sure your resume is not only typo-free, but comes across as a thoughtful and meticulous work of art.

Your local staffing company at Merritt Staffing are pros when it comes to drafting and editing resumes. We know exactly what employers are looking for, and we can help you polish your resume to an irresistible shine. Contact us today and get the job search guidance you need.

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