Friday, September 25, 2015

Resume War Stoppers: Don't Let Them Keep You From Finding Top Talent

How many times have you looked at the huge stack of resumes on your desk or inbox with dread, knowing that you’ll probably end up with a full recycle bin and very few potential job candidates at the end of the day? If you could advise job seekers as to what not to do when writing a resume, what would you tell them? Take a look at these top resume blunders considered by many employers to be major war stoppers:

Submitting generic or blanket resumes: A resume that is targeted to the job the applicant is applying to is mission-essential. Hiring managers often only have a few seconds to glance through hundreds of resumes for one job opening. A resume is a job seeker’s personal elevator speech. You want to know why the person is right for the job, and you want to see how well that person communicates that message in less than 30 seconds.

Not quantifying successes and achievements: In today’s competitive economy, you need results-driven employees who can help you improve your bottom line and bring value to your organization. Resumes should describe achievements in terms of quantifiable outcomes and how that can benefit a potential employer. It’s not about the job seeker’s objectives, it’s about what the job seeker can do for the employer.

Rampant spellcheck and grammar errors: We’ve all become slaves to technology and editing tools like spell check.  While spell check can be a useful tool, it does not always pick up the differences between words like “its” and “it’s”, “your” and “you’re” and “whose” or “who’s”.   An applicant who takes the time to have a second set of human eyes proofread his or her resume is one who wants the job, and cares about the details.

Too much content: Even if a candidate has 25 years of work experience, hiring managers are most interested in candidates with experience that is current and relevant.  A good rule of thumb is one page for every ten years of work experience, not to exceed two pages.

Not accounting for employment gaps: Employment gaps are sometimes red flags for hiring managers, but they don’t have to be fatal flaws. Applicants who account for their time out of the workforce honestly and effectively are much more likely to make it to the next level in the hiring process. Volunteer work, travel, continuing education are all activities which can enhance professional development and build valuable life skills.

Too much industry-speak: For job seekers transitioning out of the military and other highly specialized industries, acronyms and other field-specific terminology should be kept to a bare minimum.  Resumes should communicate the parallels to the job the applicant is applying to in terms of skill sets, leadership and management experience.

Fancy fonts and formats: Any hiring manager will tell you that when it comes to resume formats, simple is best. Standard MS Word format, with a font size and style that is easy to read such as 12 point Times New Roman or Ariel works nicely. Font color should always be black, and resumes should always be printed on white or off-white paper, not craft or specialty paper. 

Don’t let these resume war stoppers deter you from your mission to find the right candidates. Orion International’s knowledgeable team offers many ways to assist you as you embark on your employee search. Take a look at some of the many programs and services we offer, including our Orion Military Talent Programs™ that can help you and your hiring teams recruit and hire the best talent for your company’s needs.  


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