AGE 50 AND OVER JOB HUNTERS SERIES: FINDING THAT JOB – WRITE THAT RESUME – Part 2 – Writing for a Recruiter
In Write that Resume – Part 1, we discussed the process of “thinking about” what you want to do and how to create a keyword list. Frequently it is difficult to think losing your job. Given some time however, you begin to start looking forward to the prospect of a new adventure and new choices.
Retire? Entrepreneur? Job Search?
You have choices. You could retire early, if you are one of those few people that actually saved up a lot of retirement money. You could start your own business, which is not a bad idea if you have access to health insurance, and a little money to invest. Or you can find a new job. This blog series moves forward with the assumption that you want to find a new job.
In part one of this series we discussed how to find your keywords. With that list you are finally ready to write your resume. This document will be the source for all your job applications. I say “source” because the resume you create is a template for each posting you apply for. Choose your resume templates carefully. You will want one that is simple and appeals to you. I used the Knock em Dead Resumes book to re-write mine, and when I did I went from getting NO calls to getting calls on every 3rd resume I sent out.
Write from a recruiters point of view.
If you want to have your resume read, then you are going to want to write it with the recruiter in mind. Recruiters read hundreds of resumes a week. If they select your resume, and it is completely full of print, regardless of the resume keyword ranking, you will likely land in the reject pile. Resumes that are full of print, with lengthy paragraphs are hard on the eyes and require the recruiter to slow down. If you want your resume read, then you need to keep it simple and full of white space. Don’t use fancy fonts. Leave a LOT of white space. Don’t write paragraphs, bullet information in short bursts. In this article by Monster “10 things your resume is probably missing“, the author makes these recommendations:
- Add the title of the Job you are looking for instead of an objective statement.
- Use a professional summary.
- Leave lots of white space.
- Add a two word per skills section with bullets. No paragraphs.
- Add a Technical skills section.
- Provide an accomplishments section with quantifiable achievements.
- Keep it all concise.
- Provide any volunteer work you have done.
- Insert hyperlinks for your LinkedIn page and any websites you have at the top of the resume with your name, address, phone and email.
- No more than two pages in length.
- No spelling errors or grammar errors.
Where do I put my keywords?
Your professional summary will appear at the top of your resume. When you write the summary, add as many of your keywords as and still be read professionally. Keywords placed close to the top of the resume are given more weight than words that are later in the resume. Matching keywords to the description will trigger the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) selection.
Lifehacker suggests that research has shown using these Power Keywords will increase your chances of a higher ranking by up to 70%. The power words include:
Lifehacker also recommends that you be careful with keyword “stuffing”. Include only words that are your actual skills. Your professional summary will be read by a person if it is selected. If it is apparent you have overloaded the keywords you will be disqualified.
Change your resume to match the job you want.
If you studied the job descriptions for the job you want, then you will have noticed variations in the keywords. This is why you need to redo your resume with each posting. The ATS algorithm is keyed to specific words in the job description. It may not recognize that Program Manager and Project Manager are the same. It also has difficulty with abbreviated titles like MBA. This article by Jobscan Blog explains it well.
Keep it all organized.
Reproducing your resume over and over creates an organization necessity. Since you may need to reproduce the resume you sent with an application, you need to keep it all organized:
- Create folder with company name.
- Create a copy of the original resume in the folder. Open that file.
- Bring up the job description you are applying to and change the keywords so that they mirror the description.
- Look up the company and write a unique cover letter addressing the company directly.
- Create a copy of the job description in the folder.
Once you have your resume completed. It is easy to change it so that it will have a better chance of being selected by the ATS. In Part 3, I am going to give you some tips on how to minimize your age in your resume.