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What To Do To Make Employers Employ You

When recruiters and employers look through a stack of resumes for candidate screening, what is the vital information they focus on?

Agree with Ambra Benjamin that above all else it’s about most recent role but here’s exactly what I’d like to know about it:

– what you were actually doing (‘software engineer’ is a generic title with a huge variance of responsibilities – be specific about what that meant for you) so your employer won’t be confused.

– who you were actually working with (include details of team size, how your team fit into the org structure), date and achievements to are important things to please your employers

– why the work was important to the company (was this the company’s core product you were asked to work on, or some other piece to enable things to happen)

I would also add that as a recruiter/Employer for a start up I actually value a cover letter more than if I worked for a large company. The resume isn’t likely going to allow me to make a judgment on a candidate’s knowledge and genuine interest in our company and product. Reading a paragraph about why you want to work here vs. why you just want to work anywhere could very well be the difference between being passed over and being called for an interview.

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Of course, that requires the cover letter to be specific. Anything generic that appears re-used across many job applications or focuses only on your background (which I could just glean from your resume) is useless and detracts from any genuine or specific interest you might actually have in the specific company.

We employer of labour are staring at these missives all day long. Throw a joke in there somewhere for goodness’ sake. Very few of us are curing cancer. We should lighten up a bit. Know your industry, of course. An Easter egg buried in a resume may not go over well if you’re in a very buttoned up industry. I think it’s important to keep the work experience details as professional as possible, but trust me, there are ways to have fun with it. I love an easter egg buried in a resume. And I absolutely LIVE for creatively written LinkedIn profiles.

For example, this guy is boss. I have emailed his LinkedIn profile around to dozens of friends and co-workers over the years. It’s that epic. So well done and tells a great story. Best read starting from the very bottom and working your way up to the top. But he knows his industry. Probably not a good play to talk about marijuana in your LinkedIn profile if you’re gunning for Director of Communications for Bank of America because it can trip off employers. Lastly, while writing your CC/Resume, put yourself in an employers’ shoes.

This and many more to come will encourage you on what to do to make you get employed in a few steps.