One of the lady readers just rang me up a few days back and she had only one query — "why is the title of the article -- Yeh Resume Maange MORE when it is talking mainly on cover letters?".
"You have yourself given the reply to your query, Lady", I quipped. "A targetted cover letter, precise subject title and well written and focussed resume — yehi sub toh Resume Maange MORE!!!"
In this issue, I will explode certain myths and fallacies attached with resumes.
It is in your interest that your resume should be as widely present as possible or rather, be omnipresent. But you need not tell every placement consultant that your resume is present with every placement consultant worth his name in the country. Unfortunately, you have a nasty habit of committing career harakiri if you send bcc, cc e-mails enclosing your resume. No placement consultant will touch your cc / bcc / flashed resume by top job-sites. This issue was discussed at length in the last issue. So send your resume individually to each consultant. It may involve more hard work, but will yield better results.
You don’t always get a job through top level consultants only. Most of the jobs are provided by small operators in the placement business. Your resume should be present with almost everyone.
Another myth created by vested interests in the market revolve around the don’ts for candidate. Don’t send your resume directly to any company, they say with all stupid and hackneyed fear creating tones or overtones. This is simply bullshit. The payoff possibility outshines any negatives, if any, associated with it. If you are sending your resume to any company for an unadvertised job, you are not losing anything. The only care that has to be taken is to make a carefully worded cover letter for accompanying your resume. There is a market called hidden job market and it comprises over 80% of the total job market. Hidden job market jobs are neither advertised nor given to Placement consultants, search firms & headhunters etc. Logically speaking, anytime an opening comes up in any company, the first thing the HRD man is gonna do is to search his database and if he doesn’t find anybody worth taking, he will pass on the opening to a search firm or the media for an ad . If your resume is present in his database, you get the first- movers advantage. And also no recruiting cost to the employer.
In the last issue of this mag we discussed subject titles, cover letters. In this issue, lets talk about your Resume itself. Your Resume actually asks for More if you are feeling stalled in your job-search efforts. Are employers and recruiters ignoring you? Do you wonder what you could do to improve your job-search results?
As a headhunter, I am often asked such questions as: How do I find more job leads? How do I know what to put in my resume? Why can’t I get interviews? Are cover letters really important?
If you have experienced writer’s block while trying to construct your resume, you might find it helpful to think of your resume as a three-layered pyramid.
All the elements of an effective resume will fit within those three layers.
Layer #1: The Pyramid Pinnacle: Your Job Focus
The top layer of the pyramid is your career focus—the starting point of a great resume. Think of a focused resume as the opposite of a one-size-fits-all resume. An early lesson I learned as a headhunter was that employers are suspicious of candidates whose resumes don’t focus on one career objective. They assume the candidate doesn’t know what he/she wants to do, or that the candidate isn’t really very skilled in either objective. If your career background allows you options for two or more career objectives, that’s great; just make sure that you create a separate resume for each objective.
Layer #2: The Pyramid Midsection: Your Selling Points.
The midsection of the pyramid is made up of the selling points that support your career focus. Selling points are all the qualifications that make you a strong candidate for your particular career focus or objective. For example: the selling points of a sales professional might consist of "New Account Generation", "Major Account Penetration" or "High Volume Closer."
Whatever your career focus, determine the best selling points to prove that you match the qualifications for the job.
If you are attempting to cross industry or occupational lines in your next career move, think of your transferable skills as your selling points. Communicating transferable skills allows prospective employers to see your expertise and accomplishments outside the context of your former industry or occupation.
Layer #3: The Pyramid Base: Your Accomplishments.
The largest part of a pyramid is its base; likewise, your accomplishments should comprise the largest part of your resume. Like a pyramid’s base, your accomplishments support your selling points, which in turn support your focus. Your accomplishments illustrate the strength of your qualifications. Quantifiable accomplishments that relate to bottom-line corporate objectives are more significant. If you express your accomplishments as benefits rather than as features, they will appeal more to your readers.
Feature: "Developed and implemented town baisakhi festival display."
Benefit: "Increased sales 35% by implementing town baisakhi festival display. "
Now, the debatable point is whether the pyramid should be inverted or not. I say the pyramid should should be placed in away that your resume talks about your career accomplishments first and job responsibilities (sic) later. In a ASM resume for instance, a company is loaded with 10,000 resumes and all ASMs have virtually the same responsibilities. Come to think of it, when all resume look similar as the responsibilities are almost the same, you need to stand out by citing your achievements as ASM on top rather than hiding them amongst job responsibilities like every body else.
More later and we move on in the next issue to catch the GateKeepers to the companies i.e., HRD people who are paid by the company to reject your resume.