Last time I proved beyond a reasonable doubt that hiring managers are NOT God. I even said, “Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you. You are a waste of their time unless you tell them something that proves they need you. They would rather have their receptionist shred your resume than take the time to talk to you.”
Are you like the little kid in this story?
A grandfather was walking through his yard when he heard his granddaughter repeating the alphabet in a tone of voice that sounded like a prayer. He asked her what she was doing. The little girl explained, “I’m praying, but I can’t think of exactly the right words, so I’m just saying all the letters, and God will put them together for me, because he knows what I’m thinking. (Charles B. Vaughan)
The hiring manager is not God. He is a giant cockroach.
You cannot assume that a hiring manager will glean 4 key words and 2 key points out of a 3 page resume. You get no points for length and thoroughness. You get no points for briefness. You get points, or an interview, for saying the key words and phrases that the hiring manager wants to hear. If you don’t shout those key words and phrases, the manager’s receptionist will shred your resume. Then the cockroach can hide in his office where you can’t get to him. (I wonder if the light goes off when he shuts the door?)
To find the right words and phrases you need to do some forensic language work. Like a crime scene investigator. Take 3 or 4 job listings or newspaper ads for different jobs with the same company. Place them all side by side. With a blue highlighter mark all the phrases that are identical. Identify the stuff the human resources department puts around the description the hiring manager wrote. That fluff may possibly be necessary to get you past the HR department, but it won’t get you a job.
Now take your yellow highlighter. Mark every misused acronym, word, technical term or technical phrase. Those are the words the HR person didn’t understand. They could very well be critical. You need to have an exact match on those words in your resume.
Continue marking with an orange highlighter. Again look for all the technical terms and acronyms. Mark them all. The orange words are the most likely to be used by a computer or receptionist to screen out resumes.
Finally, go back over the resume with a pink highlighter. Mark the skills that are the most difficult to find. What are the things in the ad that everyone wants and nobody has?
I bet those ads look terrible. That’s good. It means you have taken the time to study the exact words that will get you an interview. You need to include those words and technical phrases in your resume. They will force the screener to pass your resume on to the hiring manager. He will have to call you in order to see if you can do the job. You will prevent him from closing his door and hiding from you. (And if someone does know, does the light go off in his office when he shuts the door?)
Something to do today
Get some highlighters and go through ads on the internet or in the newspaper. Find the really key words and phrases. Alter your resume before you send it out. Make it so they cannot miss the things that are important to them.
Later: Getting eaten by aliens – Engage them in conversation
A relative or friend can help