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5 Hurdles to Overcome when Submitting your Resume

May 11, 2010


Most Job Seekers write their resume for the Hiring Manager in mind … and, that’s it.

Did you realize that your resume has probably about 5 hurdles to go through, not just 1?  Miss what’s important to any 1 of those audiences, and you’ll be passed over for consideration, the initial screening, the interview, the job offer, and ultimately, the job you wanted.

Here’s how it works:

Hurdle #1 – The Resume Tracking Database System:  Simply put, larger companies input all resumes into their database, whether sent via email, hand delivered on nice colored paper to the Hiring Manager, sent through a company’s website, sent by a Recruiter, etc.  Companies use a resume database to pre-screen, and micro-target candidates, to efficiently find resumes with desired skills.  Companies also document their hiring practices with a goal of eliminating discrimination.  How can a company discriminate in hiring, when they input, and search ALL resumes, ranking for keywords?  This practice drives most candidates nuts, because they don’t understand why, or how to effectively deal with resume databases.  Most companies get hundreds, or even thousands of resumes for each position posted.  Keyword searches pre-screen to the top 5%, who then move onto Hurdle #2.

Hurdle #2 – The Recruiter:  Let’s say you used Resume Optimization by tailoring your resume to the posting, and your resume now earns the chance to get reviewed by humans.  Congratulations … or so you thought!  You’ve graduated to the HR Clerk/Recruiter, who provides a human screening before passing a group of resumes he/she has approved to the Hiring Manager.  This person generally may not even have any experience in the job that she’s reviewing, unless of course the job is in HR.  This HR function is to manually review resumes for lots of jobs for the company, and they look at literally hundreds of resumes each day.  After a while, they all start to look the same.  They are manually looking for a list of keywords, to see where they appear, and to see if the computer picked applicants that the Hiring Manager will want to see.  The average time spent reviewing a resume is only 10 or 15 seconds, and it’s usually reviewed on-screen, and not printed.

Hurdle #3 – The Hiring Manager’s Right-Hand Man / Woman:  The next step is the Hiring Manager.  But, as we’ve all seen, he still doesn’t want to deal with the sheer quantity, usually 10-20, that’s gotten to him.  He will at this point, hand it over to his well-trusted right-hand man/woman.  He tells that person to hand-select someone who will “fit” into the group, or the effort, and get the number down to 6.

Hurdle #4 – The Hiring Manager:  The Hiring Manager may get about 6 resumes from their second-in-command, and usually ranks them mentally.  Out of the 6 resumes, there are usually 2-3 that the hiring manager is really excited to see.  Smart Hiring Managers schedule these first.  But even if you are the 1st interview, the favored candidate, and had great rapport, the Hiring Manager still has to interview the rest, per company policy, remember?  Your resume is your 1st impression to the Hiring Manager.  In addition, your resume can be used to strategically place information that the Hiring Manager will question – in an interview.  Smart Job Seekers can use this as an opportunity to “bait” the Interviewer to ask questions that will demonstrate strengths.

Hurdle #5 – The Hiring Manager’s Influencers:  The Hiring Manager’s boss, team, and/or peers will often be asked to review top candidate resumes, even if they have never interviewed the candidate.  This is often used as a “gut check,” or to gain buy-in from other stakeholders, and typically look for good organizational fit.

Now, with a better understanding of the process, you can better tailor your resume to address the needs of all 5 hurdles. 

It may be silly, or not, but remember that the process is in place not to select the best candidate, but to eliminate the ones that aren’t.

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