Tag Archives: interesting resume

Using the right words to catch the hiring manager’s attention

In the last article I talked about how hiring managers are NOT God. I even went as far to say, “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.”

The hiring manager is not God. They are 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, the hiring manager, can hide in their office where you can’t get to them.

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 on Indeed or ZipRecruiter for different jobs with the same company. Place them all side by side. Highlight 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 blue 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. 

Something to do today

Get some highlighters and go through ads on the internet. 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.

Newspapers sell (like your resume should)  

Is your resume as interesting as this movie summary?

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again. (Marin County’s newspaper listing for The Wizard of Oz)

Headlines sell newspapers.  Short, bold, snappy paragraphs suck you in.  Then advertisers convince you that you will be inferior without their help.  Sounds like the perfect resume to me.

Grab a newspaper.  The columns are under 3 inches wide.  Paragraphs are short. They are written at a fifth grade reading level.  All of these things make them easy to digest.  They don’t challenge a reader’s skill.  They soothe your eyes and intellect.

Notice the headline in your newspaper, an attention grabbing subject.  Now just read the title of every story.  The titles entice you to read the first sentence.  The first sentence gives you enough information that your curiosity makes you finish the first paragraph.

Newspapers aren’t mystery stories.  Newspapers are written in a top down style. You should be able to stop after the first paragraph and know the critical facts of the story.  The next paragraph clarifies a detail.  Each succeeding paragraph clarifies another detail.

Is your resume written like a newspaper?  Can a secretary see in 10 seconds that you are qualified?  Can she pick it back up and see you have some depth with a 45 second read?  When she passes it to the hiring manager will he decide it is worth keeping after his 10 second review?

Your resume only has one job, to get you an interview.  Do the headlines and titles sell? Do short, bold, snappy paragraphs suck you in?  Does your resume convince the hiring manager that you alone can get him his next bonus?  Is your resume doing its job?


Something To Do Today

Grab a newspaper.  Notice how you read it.  Where do your eyes naturally focus?  What tricks do the editors use?  How do advertisers get you to focus on the ads?  Can you use any newspaper techniques in your resume?