Years ago TheLadders did a study and found that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume. Keep in mind that recruiters are this laser-focused because they do this regularly.
For other audiences, including HR and decision makers, they may give you a bit more time, let’s say maybe 10 seconds.
That is not a lot of time to grab attention and get your message across.
Why do they spend so little time on this initial glance? Because they know what they are looking for and they don’t want to waste time. From their first glance to a more in-depth review, there are two questions they are constantly asking:
What can you do for me?
Why do I want to talk to you versus anyone else?
Your audience is very stealth in reviewing/reading your resume and in order to get – and keep – their attention while answering their two burning questions, you have to be stealth, too.
Like the CIA.
Direct quote from http://www.cia.gov: “CIA’s primary mission is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist White House the President and senior US government policymakers in making decisions relating to national security.”
What is that person doing when reading your resume? They are collecting, analyzing, evaluating and disseminating intelligence – to do what – help the decision maker (or themselves) make a decision relating to hiring.
Once they analyze, evaluate, etc., they then provide reports or briefings. In our situation, they would make a recommendation. How do we provide a roadmap that makes it easy for them to recommend you as the best candidate?
Think CIA. No, not Central Intelligence Agency, our CIA stands for: Critical, Important and Assumed.
Once you have your baseline resume put together, now is the time to get strategic and use the CIA method.
Critical – what is most important to the company, position, and team etc.? These are keepers.
Important – what are your differentials and aspects that are important for the position? These are keepers.
Assumed – what are the elements, tasks, skills, duties, attributes that are going to be expected or are common? These are strike items.
We need to do this on every level within your resume. Let’s take a Bookkeeper for example. Their role, in general, is to create financial transactions and reports. Keyword phrases include issue invoices to customers and suppliers; cash receipts; tag and monitor fixed assets; monitor debt levels; reconcile accounts to ensure their accuracy, etc.
These are all expected and routine – i.e. assumed. We could waste valuable white space by listing them out as bullets (and sound like a job description) as such:
- Tag and monitor fixed assets.
- Pay supplier invoices in a timely manner.
- Conduct periodic reconciliations of all accounts to ensure their accuracy.
- Monitor debt levels and compliance with debt covenants.
- Issue invoices to customers.
- Issue invoices to suppliers.
Boring! Plus, that is a lot to read to just to cover the assumed. However, we do want to include these keywords for the ATS systems.
The solution: ruthless editing, as my mentor Deb Dib would say. Cut, cut, cut. So let’s redo this so it is human and ATS scan friendly:
Bookkeeper, Company Name, Time Period – Time Period
Customer/Supplier Invoicing | Account Reconciliation | Fixed Assets | Debt Monitoring | Cash Receipts
• Now create bullets that demonstrate your value: what was the benefit to whom by doing what.
We can go even deeper within statements to clarify and condense.
If you had the following sentences:
Blah, blah, blah doing XYZ for A, B, C, and exceeding customer expectations. Delivers exceptional client experiences. Blah, blah, blah….
Let’s take a look at that. We can get rid of the “exceeding customer expectations” at the end of the first sentence because it is assumed that you exceed their expectations if you deliver an exceptional client experience.
See how this works?
It takes a lot more time and strategy to think CIA yet the results are well worth it. You will transform that blah, blah, blah resume into a branding piece with condense, impactful staements with plenty of white space, which makes it easier to scan, read and identify you as the prefered candidate.
A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position, and place that renews their brilliance.
As the Founder and Principal of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer, and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership, and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence, and influence.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
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