Ready To Talk Turkey About Your Resume?

  • by Sunil Bagai November 25, 2015
    November 25, 2015

    15-11-25_Turkey.jpgRecruiters, give thanks to your candidates by helping them spice up their resumes

    Thanksgiving in the States is just about here. More than lavish feasts or combat shopping for those “once a year only” deals, this is a time for reflection – to show gratitude for what we have and to those who’ve helped us. So in this season of thanks, it’s a perfect time for recruiters to help job seekers resurrect and revisit their resumes. After all, the exceptional candidates swimming in your talent pool are the people who drive your success. And they’ve placed their trust in your ability to find them a perfect assignment with an amazing company. A great way to demonstrate your appreciation is to help these talented professionals pare the dead leaves from their resumes and lay out a brilliant table of freshly prepared skills for hungry hiring managers.

    Trimming the fat and talking turkey on your resume

    Hiring managers receive countless resume submissions and job applications for any given position. When posting on a traditional job board, the odds of hearing anything back grow slimmer. Most boards receive 120 applications in a single week. By the time a vacancy has been filled, the hiring company has accumulated, on average, 250 applications.

    Statistically, hiring managers spend no more than six seconds deliberating on their “fit/no fit” determination – deciding whether they’ve found an ideal candidate who will innovate, produce, and integrate well into an organization’s established business culture. And that applicant may very well be the top talent they’re searching for. The problem is that the resume doesn’t illuminate the points he or she wants to make. Typos, poor formatting, distracting fonts, and slick designs will detract from core skills and qualifications. To prevent CVs from ending up in the slush pile or waste bin, here are some best practices you can use to help your candidates cut out some fat to create a simple, compelling masterpiece.

    Overly creative resumes may be overly distracting

    Coach your candidates on how to avoid the pitfalls of being too creative with resume formats.

    • Visually stunning, yet generalized: According to a survey by The Creative Group, 40 percent of HR leaders and hiring executives found that glitzy resumes weren’t job-specific or relevant to the role. Each time candidates apply for a position, they should customize content and target details that align to the skills, experiences and missions of the companies they’re pursuing.
    • Overwhelming: In the movie “Office Space,” one character who worked for a TGI Friday’s type restaurant was continuously punished for not displaying enough “flair” on her uniform. Today, sporting too much flair is the offense. Hiring managers must move fast to conquer the mountains of CVs rising from their desks.

      • A simply formatted, black-and-white resume with standard fonts will make their tasks much easier.
      • Pie charts, infographics, colorful layouts and images will distract them from the information they need to see.
      • If candidates are applying for positions where creativity, artistry, or graphic design skills are paramount, they should include a separate portfolio of their work samples.

    • Fluffy and ridden with keywords: With six seconds to make an impression, candidates want to get to the meat of their resumes. Irrelevant, inaccurate or indulgent details shift the reviewer’s focus away from the core skills and traits they want to spotlight. And although job boards parse resumes based on the identification of certain keywords, sprinkling them liberally throughout the resume can supplant your candidate’s individual voice and accomplishments with meaningless text.

    Put down the pen and take out the shears – it’s time to prune that resume


    Unless the candidate’s situation is unique or dynamic – such as a dramatic shift in roles or change of industries – an objective doesn’t need to be stated. The hiring manager understands that the objective is to land the job. Instead, include a concise and engaging description of top skills and accomplishments.

    Irrelevant work experience

    Let’s say your candidate is an experienced and pioneering software developer, and she’s been breaking ground for nearly a decade. Her seasonal job at Disneyland during high school won’t be impressing the hiring managers at Google, unless the position requires her to stitch names on mouse ear hats. Help your talent stick to the most recent and relevant jobs they’ve held, which involved the skills of the new role.

    Personal information

    It’s illegal for employers to ask about personal information: marital status, sexual orientation, religious preferences, age, whether an applicant’s pregnant, social security numbers, and so forth. That’s why there’s absolutely no practical reason for including these details on a resume. Citing hobbies and extramural interests are also unimportant, and may serve to clutter the essential information a hiring manager is seeking. Ensure that the candidates you’re coaching list only volunteer work for charities or community organizations, if they have that experience. Those details are worth mentioning, yet even those details shouldn’t take center stage. Keep them for the end of the CV.


    Yes, references have become a big deal again in recruiting. Hiring managers are saying they’ll be focusing on strong referrals in 2016. That said, there’s no need to include references in resumes. If the application requests references, candidates will encounter a form when they begin the submission process. Otherwise, the hiring manager will ask them to provide some. Succinctness is key, and this content creates more work for readers. In a related caveat, discourage candidates from divulging the contact information for their existing jobs. You really don’t want their current boss or program manager receiving a phone call from a prospective employer. You’re trying to get them job, not lose one.

    Professional links

    If candidates want to include URLs to online work, blogs, websites or social media, make sure they’re professional and relevant to the position. LinkedIn profiles are an example of a good link. Somebody’s gossipy Twitter feed is probably not going to sway decision makers in their favor – unless, of course, you’re having them apply for a tabloid. Personal email accounts should also convey a sense of maturity and professionalism, using the accepted conventions of firstname-lastname@serviceprovider rather than something like circusfreak19@hotmail.

    Salary details

    The purpose of the resume is to showcase a candidate’s skills, experience, qualifications, and achievements. Including salary information not only sends the wrong message, it could bump top talent out of contention right away. Making too much or too little could break the deal you’re trying to broker. You also don’t want your candidates putting forth the impression that their primary motivation for a job is high pay. Otherwise, stellar workers could come across as flight risks or individuals who position their own needs above the company’s mission.

    Modern fonts and typefaces

    Readability is paramount to reviewers. Advise candidates to stick with fonts and typefaces that are clear, legible and translate across operating systems. Traditional serif fonts such as Times New Roman, or a sans-serif font like Arial or Helvetica, are always strong recommendations. Avoid fancy or proprietary scripts that may not display properly on the hiring manager’s computer. It’s best not to impress recruiters with a highly stylized resume format. Dazzle them instead with past accomplishments, applicable work samples or portfolios.

    Avoid jargon

    Candidates should eliminate hollow buzzwords like “proactive” from their vocabularies. Other tired old phrases that deserve a proper burial include “best of breed,” “go-getter,” “thinking outside the box,” and “synergy.” Try replacing them with strong words such as “achieved,” “managed,” “resolved,” “launched” and “created.” Even then, exercise moderation.

    Reasons for leaving

    Being asked about a voluntary or involuntary departure can be an uncomfortable moment in any job interview. Some candidates might think that including an explanation of their former situation would be a “proactive” way to diminish the impact; it’s usually not. Advise them to address the question if it’s asked. Otherwise, they could be presenting an image that’s not well received by hiring managers. At the very least, it starts them wondering how they’ll be portrayed in a future scenario.

    A picture says 1,000 words…which is way too many

    Sure, LinkedIn emphasizes the importance of including a profile picture. On a resume, however, embedding an image can be problematic, particularly with job boards that rely on automated text parsing. The unusual formatting can compromise the system, which means the resume could come across as garbled, mismatched syntax. If candidates have included a link to their LinkedIn profiles, hiring managers can take a gander at their headshots.

    Show candidates thanks by giving them fantastic support in the hiring process

    As the modern recruiters you are, you’ve become adept at making a company’s message stand out above the unrelenting traffic. You present job openings in creative ways to showcase the personality of the organizations you support, which in turn helps job seekers get a feel for whether a business culture will be a good fit. And you do the same for talent. Not only can you help candidates develop personal brands, you know the types of employers who would find those brands most attractive. You also know how to educate talent on the best usage of social media, as well as the optimal networks to use for specific employers, industries and markets, based on traffic.

    Today’s best candidates have a prime opportunity to leverage recruiters as coaches who can help them propel their careers in new directions for new successes. Thank them for their confidence and faith in you by providing them will stellar recommendations, the best tools and sound guidance.

    Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community


    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.