|By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President, Western Canada at Eagle
Many people feel that their resume provides all the information that a potential client will ever need to know about their education, skills and experience; and, in a general sense, it does. Generally the experience will match the job to which you applied. Generally the client will see the required experience and/or skills. Unfortunately, in a highly competitive market, “generally” does not win the interview.
Today, companies use multiple avenues to attract talent: postings on their own website, massive job boards, specialty sites, social media, referral networks and staffing agencies. Unless it is a truly rare skill or there is something specific about the role/location/company reputation/etc. companies have no trouble at all attracting applicants. It is relatively easy for them to “weed out” the 30% to 40% (or more) of unqualified applicants, then the real work begins to sort through the remaining resumes to determine which 6 to 8 best match their needs and earn a first interview.
Companies with mature hiring practices have certain things that they look for and most of these are included in their job descriptions — but not all. There will be certain backgrounds and industry experience that have proven to produce effective and successful contractors and these are not as clear to the job hunter. This is where a knowledgeable recruiter can be your best ally. They have typically worked with a company enough times to understand what “soft skills” or experience catches their client’s attention and they will work with candidates to search for these attributes during the qualification process. If you have these attributes, the recruiter will likely ask you to highlight certain experience in your resume or use certain words/phrases to describe your skills so that it will catch the reviewer’s eye.
Applicants who take the time to customize their resumes to the specific opportunity earn the majority of the interviews.
There are few things more frustrating and difficult than working on one’s own resume. But the payoff is absolutely worth it. Many of the successful contractors with whom Eagle works have had multiple placements and have had to write and re-write their resumes many, many times. They DO NOT lie about their work/professional history! But they have had to highlight different parts of their work experience and/or education to demonstrate their ability to fit the needs of the hiring company. These people build and maintain resume files that include many versions of their resume based on the customizing they have had to do over the years. That way it gets easier and easier to make the needed adjustments as there is an “ideas pile” with which to work.
If you have not done much customizing of your resume and are finding it particularly difficult to land interviews, perhaps this not-so-small tweak will help. Eagle’s recruiters often spend hours working with our candidates to have them make the adjustments that we know will give them an edge. Work with your recruiter on this and see your fortunes improve!