Tag Archives: resume screener

Getting past the resume trash can

Do not say a little in many words, but a great deal in a few.  (Pythagoras)

When is your resume being thrown away? Yesterday I gave the 4 major trashing points in your resume’s life.

You have two ways to break through the cycle:

  1. Have someone give your resume directly to the boss with their recommendation.
  2. Have a resume that passes all 4 trash points.

Networking will get your resume directly to the boss with a recommendation.  Outstanding networking will get you an interview without a resume.

For the rest:

Do you pass the idiot test and the expert test?  Assume an idiot and an expert will each try to find a reason to throw away your resume.  Assume they have too many resumes and want to throw away as many as possible.  They are proactive trashers.

The secretary has to see an obvious, undeniable fit with the job description.  She won’t understand all the acronyms, but she knows they have to be there.  She knows how much experience is required.  She knows it has to be a manager or a worker. She trashes resumes that don’t shout that they fit the job.

The boss has a lot to do.  He wants a great person to work for him, but doesn’t have enough time to talk to everyone.  Like the secretary he throws out the obvious problems.  The difference is that he understands the resume.  He throws out the resumes that just don’t feel right.  Time is critical to him.  The first person he calls has the accomplishments he needs in his company.

Run a test. Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Hand both to someone who doesn’t know the field.  Do they think you pass?  Do the same with an expert.  Do you pass?

Stop wishing and hoping.  Either network your way in or find your own screeners.  You need other people to help you get your resume out of the trash can.

Something To Do Today

Who do you know that is up front and brutally blunt?  Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Ask them read the job ad thoroughly.  Then give them your resume.  Ask them to decide in 10 seconds if it looks like the resume passes.  Then ask them to take 45 seconds and look closer.

Do you pass the test?

When is your resume thrown away?

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  (Gardner)

Hiroshima, WWII:  “I sure wish I could find rice for my family. Hey, what is that lone airplane doing above the city? Oh well, I’ve got more important things to worry about.”

Sometimes timing is everything and you are worrying about the wrong problems.  For your resume there is a timing pattern you must understand.  You have to break through the following pattern to get hired:

  1. Your resume arrives along with 100 others.  The secretary trashes 80 after a 10 second review apiece.
  2. The secretary trashes 10 more after giving them 45 seconds apiece.
  3. Her boss gets the 10 remaining resumes and trashes 2 after a 10 second review.
  4. The boss throws away 3 more viable resumes.  He just doesn=t have the time to deal with more than 5.  For the 3 trashed, something is not quite right.
  5. He calls the 5 remaining candidates, starting with the best one.

Can you see why knowing when your resume is thrown out is critical?

Every time you send out a resume and fail to get an interview you should ask, “Who threw away my resume?”

Ask the question of yourself.  Also ask your recruiter and the HR person at the company.  Beg, if you have to.  You need to find out when and why your resume is not being considered.  Also be sensitive to the recruiter and HR.  They may lie to you.  They don’t want to argue.  They want to be powerful and all-knowing.  Play on that and ask for advice as you try to find out when your resume was trashed.

Next time we’ll talk about how to get past the screenings and into an interview.  For now, try to figure out when your resume is being thrown away.

Something To Do Today

Make some calls.  Find out where your resume is being trashed.

Ask some friends, they may be able to give you some ideas too.

Can I make my job skills more attractive?

Perception is everything when you have 30 seconds to make a sale.   Most resumes are deleted in 12 seconds.  You don’t even have 30 seconds to sell yourself.

If you were going to hire an audit manager which of these two skill sets sounds better:

  1. Managed large audit department for 3 years.
  2. Managed 18 person audit department.  As many as 7 audits occurred simultaneously in 9 locations in 3 countries. $18M recovered over a period of 3 years.

Not a hard choice is it? 

Grab your 30 second commercial you wrote last week and your resume.  Look at the first skill set you describe.  How deep is the description?  Can the hiring manager tell the depth of your experience.  Do you give any numbers, sizes, concrete examples or project sizes?  Do you mention the number of people involved in a project.

Can you go any deeper?  For example both of the following are better than average skill accomplishment descriptions, but one is superior:

  1. Top two salesperson for the last 3 years.
  2. Top two salesperson out of 30 for the last 3 years for both highest total sales volume and largest average profit margin.

If you are keeping a job journal, you are tracking detailed information about your accomplishments.  For now, look back at what you’ve done and make some best guesses at numbers.  The more detailed you are, the more you stand out.

Read those examples above again.  Who would you bring in for an interview if you were short of time?  Do you need to change your resume and 30 second commercial?


Something To Do Today

Copy your 30 second commercial and resume to new files.  Go over every skill set description and accomplishment and expand it.  Add all the details you can. Make every description too long.  Save it.

Use and Abuse of Job Boards

You can effectively use internet job boards. You can get hired. First though, you have to understand the weaknesses of job boards. Then you can use these 4 weaknesses to your advantage.

Let’s say you have a choice between hiring someone you worked with for 3 years or a stranger. The person you know is a proven top performer. The person you never met before says he is a top performer. Who do you hire?

That’s the first problem with internet job boards. Many companies post jobs that they fill from their existing employees. They have a policy to leave the door open for a superstar, so they put the job on the internet. What happens when the superstar walks in? Usually they say she is overqualified and show her the door.

Next problem: Most job ads come from employment agencies. I have seen the same computer programmer job advertised by 10 agencies AND the company that wants to hire. How many people will submit resumes for that job? There will be at least 3 qualified people submitted by each agency, that’s 30. Then there will be 100 people submitting themselves to the company and 5 of those will be qualified. That’s a lot of competition.

Third problem: Did you notice that 100 people will apply directly for the job and 5 will be qualified? If the screener doesn’t see exactly what he is looking for on your resume, you won’t get in for an interview. Usually the screener doesn’t really know what you do. He is looking for keywords and phrases. You have to get past the screener.

Last problem: Most jobs are NOT advertised on job boards. But you can use the job boards to find them.

That’s four problems. Think about overcoming them. How can you turn each weakness into a strength for you? How can you turn the tables? You can. I’ll tell you how over the coming week.

Something To Do Today

80% of jobs are NOT advertised.  Tuesday I am giving a free webinar on how to find them.

Sign up here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/912755408

Go to www.monster.com and check out jobs like yours.  How many ads from different agencies can you find for one job? What is your competition like if you apply for it?

I Dare You To Use This Test

This test applies to resumes and often to job reviews.  The principles are the same.

Right now about 5 resumes out of every 100 make it to the hiring manager.  The average resume screener is NOT an expert in what you do.  If you are lucky he will know half of the technical terms on your resume.  The screener will decide in 10 seconds whether or not your resume comes close to being acceptable.  After this speed test, the screener will give your resume a 45 second read through.  If you pass that test you will finally get in the pile that the hiring manager gets to see.    Your resume has to get past the screener or you will not get hired.

How do you test your resume?   Find a screener of your own.

Ask a friend to look over your resume for 10 seconds.  Time them.   Snatch your resume out of their hands.  Take it away and ask them what they read.  What they tell you determines whether or not you would make the first screen test.  If you pass that test, give it back to them for 45 seconds.  Again, snatch it away and grill them about what they read.

If your resume passes this test with three different people, you have a resume that may work.  If your screener can say what you accomplished, that’s outstanding.  If he says what your duties were, that’s good.  If you are going for a programming job and he says you worked with VB.Net and ADO.Net, and by the way, what are they?  You did well.

Every time you submit a resume, look at the ad you are responding to.  Will your screener pick out the key phrases in the ad…..from your resume?  Test it.  Find out. 

That’s how you get more interviews.

And think about those long, boring job reviews.  Don’t you think the same test, altered depending on your circumstances, could be of help?  Test what your manager’s boss will really read.


Something To Do Today

Find 3 friends, acquaintances or enemies and test your resume.  If you are having trouble, go to www.agicc.com/resumeideas.htm again.  See what you can change.