Help the Hiring Manager
As a hiring manager, a custom resume is always a help to see how someone specifically fits the job role. The easiest way to get a hiring manager to cut to the chase is to make the resume tailor-fit to the role.
Why does a Hiring Manger Need Help From ME?
Hiring managers have a lack of time to read between the lines. They may have a stack of other resumes that have been customized with specific details clearly delineated so they can match them to the job, and if your resume requires me to guess about your skills at all, you get tossed.
There can be a disconnect between the job role and the resume's "soul." Your resume needs to emphasize your strength in that job specifically, not in the general career. We can tell if you really want it. Prove your interest in the job through your intent toward how you build your resume. Otherwise, you get tossed.
What if the Hiring Manager Isn't Reading Resumes First?
Often, an intermediary, such as a HR representative, is used to "filter" out the "obvious" resumes that aren't fits before they go to the hiring manager. The intermediaries are your biggest critics and the single biggest chance you will get tossed.
When your resume goes through an intermediary, this creates additional levels of communication breakdown. This can cause someone that is perfectly qualified to get tossed in the trash.
Think about it from their point of view. They are trying to winnow down a huge stack to a manageable number, and they may be sorting through a huge stack of resumes. Make it easy to get in the "yes" or even the "maybe" pile.
Top Reasons You Get Tossed Into the Circular File
- The intermediary may not understand the position or qualifications well enough to know how items on your generic resume are really relevant to the position.
- The intermediary may not understand what "equivalent experience" means to the hiring manager. Find a way to make equivalent experience match up with the job description.
- The intermediary may be going down the job description top to bottom and if your qualifications are like "Where's Waldo?", they may give up looking. Make it easy to find the relevant parts. Ideally you can even reorder your resume to make it even easier.
Are Cover Letters Vital?
They are always a good idea, however these get lost in the shuffle. We don't want to admit it, but they do.
When a resume is forwarded to a team of people that evaluate you as a candidate, cover letters are rarely given to the team and if they are, they are rarely read. Writing a cover letter is a clear way to stand out to the person that originally receives your resume, showing us that you cared enough about the position for you to write something special.
Your cover letter needs to be special and specific. And it must be polite and humble.
Cover letters are a way for us to see if you did your homework and understand the company and job, and see if you can write well. And if you write one poorly, guess what? You get tossed.
You want this job. You want this salary. We want to hire someone that solves our pain. We are trying to make the best decision for us, and we're ready to spend a lot of money for it. You have one chance to get our attention to get us to BUY. Yes, this is a purchase.
Think about it from our perspective... has that candidate seemed to care enough about your opening? Do they care about working here? Get someone else to pretend they are the hiring manager. Get someone else to pretend they are you, and you role play as the company representative.
Get really serious about this.
Then go back and edit your resume to make it custom. And if you have the guts, go after that cover letter.
You can do it!
Billy Joe Cain is an Executive Recruiter in the video game industry and has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.
Please connect with him on LinkedIn and mention you read his blog! www.linkedin.com/in/billyjoecain