Tips from a Recruiter: Don't Make Me Read Your Resume
I will read your resume unless it's 10 pages, but (just as you didn't want to write your resume) I really don't want to read your resume. To put it another way, I don't want to read it because I must in order to make a yes/no decision.
This post originally appeared Job Tips for Geeks.
Ideally, I can decide to speak to you based on a few sentences in the body of an email/application, and then primarily read the resume to prepare for our initial dialogue and use it as a framework during the call. Give me a few sentences to make me want to have that talk.
I never ask for or expect a full cover letter
Roughly 50% of the applications I receive are resume
Tell Me What Prompted You to Apply for the Job
Where did you see the ad? If you were on the major job boards
Show Me Why You Believe You Are Qualified
It isn't necessary to write a long and detailed summary of your experience here, and you shouldn't. One or two sentences that distill the most relevant experience will get us to the next step. You can quantify years of experience in the industry and with a couple technologies listed in the ad, reference a noteworthy accomplishment, or briefly describe how a current or past role prepared you. A link to past work might help in certain cases.
If you've covered what prompted your application and your qualifications nicely, a simple "I'm very interested in learning more about this position..." can suffice. If you feel you may need just a bit more to put you over the top, demonstrating that you did a minute of research on the company can help. Is there a product we offer that you'd like to know more about? Did the way we described our culture have particular appeal to you?
Mention the Company's Name, Twice
Doing this lets me know you cared enough not to send a pure form letter. Applications that use generic phrases like "your company" (or the worst, "your esteemed organization") name scream "I'm just looking for any job" and not "I'd like to be an employee of COMPANY". The first mention can be in the opening sentence when you list the job itself ("...apply for Senior Python Developer at COMPANY"), and specify again in your closing.
Don't Do Anything Stupid or Desperate
Referencing the wrong company name due to cut/paste miscues is a common one
And a few tips for specific situations...
If You Are Asked for a Salary Requirement...
If you are uneasy about providing salary requirements, at least acknowledge the request tactfully (as opposed to completely ignoring it). Try something like "It's difficult to provide an accurate salary requirement before knowing any other elements of employee compensation packages, as well as the job responsibilities and company's expectations for this role."
If You Are Applying for a Job in a Different City...
Recruiters receive many resumes from out-of-town applicants. When we see a non-local address
When targeting a move to a specific city, mention this in the body of your application. Companies will pay close attention to candidates that have concrete plans to move to their city, and agency recruiters are much more likely to work with you if you are only seeking jobs in one or two locations. If you can provide a future local address on a resume, that may help.
If You Are Somewhat Underqualified for the Job...
There will be times when a job looks very appealing but your experience clearly falls a bit short. In this situation, the opportunity to write a few sentences in support of your resume is your best shot at consideration. Recruiters will often give at least one chance to underdog candidates who attempt to make up for a lack of years with some enthusiasm or an interesting story. It is much harder to say no to someone who demonstrates that they are eager to work for you.
Don't Make Me Read Your Resume | Job Tips for Geeks
Dave Fecak is an independent recruiter and consultant that helps technology companies hire. He is the author of Job Tips For GEEKS: The Job Search and blogs about career and hiring topics at JobTipsForGeeks.com.
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