When I work with clients on interviewing techniques, they are sometimes surprised when I mention that the interview process begins with the resume. It actually does. Why is it so important? It is a major element of the job search because without effective resumes, you won’t have to worry about interviewing. But it’s much more than that.
Sure, the resume is a document that summarizes your expertise, professional experience, accomplishments and educational background. It is also a marketing piece. The resumes has to be high impact enough to attract the employer’s attention. And, the resume has to be high quality enough to put you at the top of the candidate list.
Let’s say there are ten applicants in the mix for a general management position. Just by looking at the resume the hiring manager has made a mental note of the top candidates. What that means to you is that your resume may be putting you on the top of the list or at the bottom. Of course the danger of being lower on the list is that you won’t get a call or you could get a call but you won’t be considered as a serious contender. That means you will have to be brilliant in the interview. If you’re working from the top, you have a greater advantage – clearly.
It is a highly competitive world now – the economy has added many more job seekers to the mix. The current economic market also helped to make the world even smaller as many more job seekers are willing to relocate to your town. Your competition now is greater than it ever was.
That means that your job of representing yourself on paper and in less than 30 seconds or less just got tougher. Those one or two pieces of paper are a very serious element in the entire job search process.
That said, what can you do to make the document more effective? Remember that your resume serves as your tool to attract employer attention.
With a high impact resume, you will:
- Stand out from other candidates by demonstrating your abilities.
- Sell yourself quickly and effectively.
- Show how you are going to meet the employer’s needs.
If you’re planning on writing your own resume, that means that you will have to invest some time in the resume writing process. Research the job because you will want to tailor your resume to the position for which you apply.
Take a look at the appearance:
- Is the resume a polished document?
- Does it demonstrate your level of potential – most peoples’ resumes don’t.
- Are you seen as a high profile candidate when compared with the rest of the applicants?
What about the content? If it is compared to other high potential candidates:
- It obviously has to stand up to the test.
- It has to capture the reader’s attention.
- It should compel the employer to keep on reading. Does it?
See how important the resume is to the interview process? The key to a great resume is to make a quick positive impression. If you do that, you’re on the right track. Remember, a well written resume can make the difference between thousands of dollars in salary, being stuck where you are or interviewing for the job of your dreams.
Patricia Erickson writes high impact resumes for job seekers and career changers hoping to get interviews. She is also the author of Get Interviews, Get Hired Now! the complete guide to job winning interviews.