I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life looking at resumes all day long. Filtering through hundreds of thousands of resumes for the candidate gold. I’m good at discovering the candidates that get hired because I know what my clients want to see.
Over and over again, I have seen hiring managers shoot down one candidate and interview another. Getting your resume past the initial filtering system might seem random to the untrained eye, but in actuality, it’s very consistent – you just have to know what we’re looking for.
And what we want to know is if your experience applies to what we’re looking for. That’s it. And to do that, you must quantify your work. How big, how much, how many – numbers take a resume from fiction to fact, from an idea to a concrete, from nebulous to transparent.
If your resume leaves them with a question (I wonder what kind of properties they managed? Or how big was that project or portfolio?), it unfortunately means you’re a “no.” You will get filtered out of the interview process simply because they just don’t have time to call and ask you, especially when there are 200 other resumes in their inbox.
Objective: Keep in mind that the purpose of a resume is to get you an interview – not land you a job. Give the reader enough to be intrigued to learn more.
There are 3 magical elements you must incorporate into your resume in order to effectively tell your story: SCOPE, CONTEXT, AND COMMONALITY.
Hiring managers want to understand how big or small your roles were. For example, if you were a project manager, they need to know what kinds of projects (Construction projects? IT implementation projects?), how big your budget was ($30K or $3B?), what your timeline was (was it a 6-month project or a 6-year mega project), and how large the team was (2 people or 250 people?), etc.
HINT: Think of numbers when you think about how to include scope.
You need to clearly state who you have worked for and what your role there was. Many job seekers make the mistake of assuming the reader knows everything about their current employer- most notably what they do. Unfortunately, that’s only true if you worked for Exxon or Amazon.
If the hiring manager doesn’t know much about your past companies, they can’t deduce whether your experience is similar.
HINT: Quantifying context is key here: Include their primary business, size of the company, their revenues, the geographic scope of their work; even including better-known competitors in the space will help you quickly offer context to someone scanning your resume.
If you make it past scope and context, the last thing that will determine whether you get an interview is if you have actually performed job functions that are similar to what the hiring company needs, which leads us to commonality.
To meet the commonality key, you need to provide responsibilities that actually mean something. If your job description is too generic or doesn’t have any detail, hiring managers will question the depth and validity of the experience.
Nonetheless, there is a fine line between providing commonality in the form of job responsibilities and executed successes, and too much detail. Even if you have the BEST experience, a 5-page resume is going to be rejected. (It says something about your communication skills.)
Now go out there and land yourself a great job!
If you have a specific question about your job search, send us an email to asktherecruiter@INFINITalent.net.
Yael Iffergan is Founder and Managing Director of INFINITalent Partners, LLC, a full service, recruitment firm, offering third party contingency search services along with career coaching. Yael has spent nearly two decades in recruiting and has literally placed or helped thousands of candidates everywhere on the org chart and countless professions. She has also helped leaders at all levels of organizations (both large and small, public and private) make hiring decisions as a trusted partner and advocate.