"OK, Lianne, I had a long conversation with Kung. You’re right, he’s got the experience for the job, but his resume doesn’t reflect his full background. He’s a really great guy, and I think he would fit in well with the company, so I’ve asked him to rewrite his resume. He’s going to get that to me by the end of the day tomorrow, and then we can get it in front of the hiring manager."
"Perfect, Pete, thanks!" This is exactly how it’s supposed to work.
Resumes, the summary of your work life, are make-or-break documents. The right resume gets a candidate through the gatekeeper’s skeptical review and onto the hiring manager’s desk and, hopefully, to at least a phone-screen. The phone-screen is an opportunity for the candidate to directly address the job’s needs and his/her ability to fill them. So it's essential to make a good impression right away.
And the wrong resume? In a best case situation, the candidate is added into the corporate applicant tracking system, where maybe, just maybe, they will show up in recruiter search results if a job that fits the resume comes up. In the worst case, the resume is immediately deleted as irrelevant.
Pete and I have been through this before. An experienced Account Manager, he knows this client, knows them well. He knows the types of jobs they have open, and the types of jobs they are likely to have open. He knows the personality that fits in there, the kind of Programmer or Technical Manager or System Analyst who will succeed, contribute and make a difference. And, most important of all, Pete knows what skills, abilities and background will get a resume past the HR Manager’s desk and onto the desk of the team lead.
"I told him what to focus on, what strengths to emphasize," Pete tells me. "Kung has the right experience, he’s done everything in the job description, and successfully, but he doesn’t show that particular experience on his resume. He understands what they want."
"Yes!" I think. I’m glad I took a second, close look at Kung’s resume and picked through the details irrelevant to this particular job and identified him as a solid candidate. I’m glad Pete trusted me, saw the same shadows on the resume that I did, and took the time to call Kung. And I’m glad Kung listened to Pete, wasn’t insulted by the message, and is interested enough in the position to take a day to re-write his resume.
The next day, Pete reports in: “I received Kung’s resume. It looks good. I’m sending it over." And two days after that, with a smile in his voice, "I’m on the road. Can you call Kung and see if he can do a phone interview on Thursday afternoon? Anytime between one and five p.m. is fine."
"Yes!" I think again. "Teamwork!" And I pick up the phone to call Kung.
Lianne Best is Senior Recruiter at Employment Enterprises, where for more than 9 years she has been meeting hiring managers’ widely varied staffing needs - literally, janitors to rocket scientists and everything in between! Among her repeat clients is the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, for whom she is the go-to speaker on everything related to recruiting at member workshops and trainings. Find her job postings at linkedin.com/in/liannebest, and her recruiting tips and observations at @lwbest.