Job Search 101: A Candidate’s Guide to the Perfect Resume

by Jacki Neal
September 13, 2018
Job Search 101: A Candidate’s Guide to the Perfect Resume

On the Kinetix blog we love to talk shop with other talent industry people and share our favorite recruiting hacks but what about all of the great candidates out there looking for tips of their own to score their dream job? Well, this one is for you job hunters! We are flipping the script to help your cause (besides, our team loves to break the rules in the name of top talent).

Making a career change can be an intimidating feat for even the most qualified professionals. I see hundreds of resumes every week that provide enough information overload to send even the most resilient recruiters running for the hills. So the question must be asked – how can great talent tailor their resumes to optimize their chances of landing the job?

These are 6 tricks I tell every all-star candidate when editing their resumes:

  1. Think like a recruiter A recruiter is always hitting the streets, working multiple openings at the same time hoping to find someone with the skills and experience needed for our open roles… and fast! We will use any of the tools in our arsenal to jump start our talent searches including automation, various online sites, and even our own personal networks and databases. Sure, we post jobs to bait the hook, but we never sit around waiting on talent to apply. It’s just one outlet to fill our ever-expanding funnels.

The trick is to make yourself easier to find on the internet by using keywords.

For example, If I were looking for a ‘trainer’ or ‘developer,’ I would go deeper than just the title of the role. I would expand my opportunities by searching words like ‘trainer, technical writer, teacher’ etc. Make sure ALL keywords that are related to your background are listed in the top portion of your resume – that’s search engine gold. Recruiters look through hundreds of resumes a week, so make it easy to find you. We love it when a resume with the right experience stands out, it’s kind of like a Christmas miracle to us because It makes our job that much easier. Remember, we want to locate you so that we can hire you.

 

  1. A resume is a marketing document NOT a life history – We recommend that candidates live by one simple rule when it comes to resume crafting: Everything needs to be true and honest, but not everything needs to be listed. We aren’t concerned with your high school graduation date unless you are just embarking on your career path. Also use this opportunity to leave the list including your hobbies, interests, marital status, height, weight, and references at the door. You may be saying “duh” to these guidelines, but you’d be surprised how many candidates offer these details up! Lastly, please note that a photo should not be included on a resume unless it is part of your career requirement (actor, model etc.)

 

  1. Let’s talk resume format – So you want to give yourself a leg up on the other job hunters? Easy, simply put your name, address, phone number, a hyperlink to your preferred email address, and a link to your LinkedIn profile in the top section of your resume (but just not in the header). I’ll let you in on an industry secret – our systems are automated. This means that after it’s submitted your resume is parsed into our software, which then looks for your contact information in this area first. If you are not in a design or artistic field, leave out the tables and funky columns – these types of formatting don’t import well.

 

  1. Tell us your career story – We want to know about your skills and experience so include key details about your previous jobs. Always list your current job first and build your career history backward from there. Don’t worry – we don’t expect you to go all the way back to the 1990’s unless you have certain merits (publications, certifications, or something else cool) that are crucial to roles you’ve held in the past. Using your resume to travel back to the 90’s or 80’s dates you. To talent industry pros twenty years of experience is really no different than thirty – both candidates are very experienced people.If you have milestone dates on your resume from the 80’s or early 90’s, like college graduation, list the degree, but leave the dates off.  Recruiters don’t discriminate because of age, but if they are looking for someone that fits a particular salary range, you may be ruled out if you have more experience than normal for the available pay scale. Please see point #2 above – a resume is a marketing document, not a life history.

 

  1. Mind your email address – It pays to get a professional inbox even if you only use it for career search purposes –they are free you know. Try to incorporate your name or partial name into your new email. Why? Because, if we are searching for your email in our systems, we may remember you by your name first, making you much easier to spot in our databases.

Some good email address templates are Firstlast@gmail.com, Firstlast10@gmail.com , and Firstinitiallast@gmail.com.

Honeybear@gmail.com does not look professional.  And yes, we see these types of email addresses all the time and take notice of the professional fail.

 

  1. The cover letter quarrel – The jury is out on whether or not recruiters actually people read cover letters, I can tell you that I don’t. However, I do read the message if I get a resume by email, but I personally don’t read the cover letter. But don’t write these controversial candidate content pieces off just yet – you still need to have one ready just in case an online application system requires one in order to enter your data for consideration. It’s your choice as to whether you include one with an email submission or just write a more in-depth message when sending your resume along.

Resume science can be tricky, but by using these tips and tools you are giving yourself an advantage in the job hunt. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series – Job Search 101: How To Get the Gig.

 

 

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Jacki Neal

Jacki Neal

Vice President of Talent Solutions at Kinetix
With over two decades in the talent industry, Jacki's mission is to provide her own flavor of strategy and delivery to the Kinetix Staffing Practice. Jacki began her career path as an engineer, so it's safe to say that she really digs all things technology (rebuilding computers, Apple life, and playing with website development) as well as meeting with clients to solve the world’s issues over lunch.
Jacki Neal

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