Both candidates and hiring managers need technology. Skilled individuals use the resource of technology to effectively illustrate their aptitudes; however, many candidates unknowingly misuse technology which detracts from their best qualities. Candidates must learn how to ensure hiring managers see their qualifications both favorably and efficiently.
“My submission is now in.” — Why are so many resumes not decipherable?
Because of Federal reporting requirements and process efficiencies, more companies have moved to an online resume submission process. This offers some advantages for the company but means more work for the candidate. Most candidates develop their resumes in Microsoft Word, investing time into adding character to their .docs, only for them to be cut and pasted into various boxes on an online application. Often times there are invisible characters and spacing slides that occur without candidates’ knowledge, which leaves a messy, difficult to appreciate representation of what they had originally intended. To help alleviate this problem, all candidates should take an additional step: copy the information into the notepad program available on any computer, then paste all information from this plain text system into the respective submission boxes.
“I attached my Resume.doc file to the email.” — Oh, original.
An emailed resume name should be for the benefit of the hiring manager’s organizational needs, not the candidate’s file structure. “Resume.doc” is one of the most over used file names available. The purpose of these files in most systems is to be a template, NOT the actual file name. Resumes should also avoid using the year in the title, this gives hiring managers the impression that candidates may be seeking employment routinely. A recommended format for a file name is as follows: “John Smiths Resume Company Name Position.” Hiring managers will know at a glance that the resume is unique, tailored to a specific position, and will appreciate the effort to save them precious moments of their time.
“The template worked perfectly.” — Too bad it was used 87 other times today.
Candidates seeking employment often illustrate many personality traits by virtue of the formatting they select for use on their resume. Candidates who must use templates should modify them. While many pre-installed Word templates are ideal to help candidates with a starting point, hiring managers have seen these templates before, sometimes thousands of times. Hiring managers can only assume that these candidates are lacking in creativity, in need of computer savvy, settle easily, or have not put much effort into the job search. All of these traits can be red flags to the hiring manager. A well-formatted resume converted to an Adobe (.pdf) file is more memorable because of its visual appeal and indicates a higher mastery of software skill.
“Good, we are now connected.” — Convenient candidate, inconvenient place.
LinkedIn is becoming an important resource for candidates. The most successful ones made connections even before they were job seeking. However, no hiring manager uses the site as an exclusive system for contact management; it extends relationships. For most hiring managers, Outlook is synced directly to their phone and LinkedIn is not. If a candidate has successfully connected to a prospect, contact information should be sent to the hiring manager’s email with a v-card attached. The virtual business card ensures that upon referral or connection, they have the needed contact information immediately. When a candidate works from the hiring manager’s preferred method, it is more likely to result in success.
“Good news, I am proficient in Office.” — Bad news, no true definition for that.
For every candidate and hiring manager in the entire state of Indiana, there is a different definition of what it means to be “Proficient” in a skill set. Many times this misalignment
is what causes turnover. When it comes to actually describing skills, avoid being generic. Candidates that describe themselves as “Proficient” may as well not say anything at all. If a candidate is skilled to a level of pivot tables and v-lookups, that is worth incorporating. Illustrate specific skills for each software that is listed and the version through which a skills set is refined- i.e. “Office 07.”
“Why is no one calling?” — WithAttidude@nowhere.com did get our attention.
Email addresses are factors that hiring managers use to illustrate computer skills and personality types. Valid or not, there is a certain stigma attached to candidates using home platforms like AOL as having “average or less” skills, because it is an ISP seldom used in professional environments. Candidates who use an email address that contains random numbers generated by the email provider, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, can give the impression of being lazy or one whom settles easily. Cute references, nicknames, or joint spouse accounts are considered less than professional. Candidates are best served by a free Gmail-type account that clearly states their name.
It’s all about Demonstrating Promise
Hiring managers that see hundreds of candidates and deeply understand the value demonstrated in proper technical skills. The superior candidates that know how to both effectively and efficiently make their point are the ones who navigate beyond the filtering process.
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