There is a lot of buzz about how to get your resume through an ATS (aka: applicant tracking system). An ATS is to a recruiter what JibberJobber is to a job seeker. It is a tracking system.
Before I go on, if you don’t think you need JibberJobber to keep track of your job search, realize that HR and recruiters are using some kind of ATS or tracking system to keep track of you. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight – get on JibberJobber!
In yesterday’s Ask The Expert call with The Recruiting Animal, Animal said he doesn’t use an ATS, and that is really something that internal recruiters are going to use. In other words, getting your resume through an ATS is not going to be an issue for ALL recruiters.
Recently a JibberJobber user sent me a resume that one of my colleagues did for him and asked me what I thought.
The resume was really quite impressive. I’m not surprised. The resume writer is someone who has been doing this for a long time and loves to stay current and do a great job.
My first impression after looking at the resume was that this guy had decades of doing amazing things. The companies he worked at, and the products he worked on, are household names.
If I were interviewing I would want to satisfy curiosities and ask more. I would want to ask stories about his experience. Some of my questions would be because it would be intriguing to know, and others to learn how involved and instrumental he really was in each of the things he claims on his resume.
He needs to go through his resume, pull out every claim, and put at least one story behind it.
I’m not much for critiquing resumes. I almost always decline when someone asks me to look at their resume. But I opened this one and that was my very first impression. You have a great resume, now what? Be ready to TELL STORIES!
My second thought was to be careful not to ask too many UNQUALIFIED people their opinion of the resume you just got. I asked people for opinions of my resume and the information I got was misleading (making me think it was great, while it really kept me out of interviews). Everyone will have their opinion but recognize this is a marketing tool to get you interviews, and that is it. Dick Bolles talked about resumes very frankly in our last Ask The Expert – you can view the interview here (he comes on 20 minutes into it).
This is a brilliant post with a key story that YOU need to read. Go read it. Here’s one of my favorite parts (but you have to read the story to get this better):
In his recent post I Smell Blood, career expert Jason Alba spoke to the importance of not letting anyone we talk with during our job search “smell blood.” Without discounting the wound of unemployment, Alba advises “Do what you can or need to do to not be hurt…”An important way to avoid re-opening the wound is to avoid scenarios where you *will* be rejected. That is why I suggest you not apply to be second violin in the National Arts Center orchestra (unless, of course, you are an experienced violinist).
I love what she wrote (I bolded it). DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN THE POSITION OF FAILURE … Yes, take risks, but realize that if you aren’t qualified for certain things (especially federal jobs) you’ll fail, and then you might smell all bloody and repel not just HR but everyone around you!
Check out this tweet from Steve Levy, a professional recruiter who shoots from the hip:
What does it mean to be a transformational leader?
What does it mean to be anything? Have attention to detail, be customer-service oriented, be a rainmaker, be ____ or ______ or _______?
THEY MEAN NOTHING!
When you see a resume (or email signature, or hear a 30 second pitch or any of these branding tools) that is filled with cliche, what are they saying?
They are saying nothing!
I know it means a lot to you, because after all, you are the best problem solver in the world (or whatever cliche message you have), but the problem is, it doesn’t matter what it means to you. It matters what it means to others (NOTHING).
You have to say things in plain, simple English, and communicate your real value, or you will be saying nothing more than dribble.
Saturday afternoon my wife woke me from a nap and told me our 4 year old daughter was running to a friends house and tripped really hard.
She had smashed her two front teeth inwards, and there was a lot of blood. It was scary, to say the least.
(update: she seems to be doing well. No broken bones (jaw, nose, etc.) and we’re hoping she has a full, sweet recovery)
I could write six blog posts about the experience, but I want to focus on one, and tie it to people who just learn they lost their job (or lost something else that is big).
My wife and I were sitting in the emergency room with our daughter, who was laying on the bed. We were waiting for the next update and we had all kinds of questions. Of course, as parents we think about the worst case possibilities and wonder how this will affect her speech, looks, social activities, etc.
How long will she have to eat out of a straw?
When will her teeth be strong enough to bite into a piece of bread?
What happens if they have to extract her teeth now?
How much pain will she be in, and for how long?
I think we did good, as her parents, but I think it’s fair to say were were terrified.
That’s where the emergency room staff came in. I had never had such a positive experience before. The wait to get help was very short and every person we talked with was very kind, patient, professional, and even somehow soothing.
I was thinking about how we were terrified, but we had people to “hold our hand” through the ordeal, and help us know that this would be fixed, and she would be back to normal, and it would be okay.
That’s exactly what many job seekers need.
In my job search I needed someone who could almost take control, let me see there were answers and processes and tools, show me I wasn’t alone and this wasn’t unprecedented.
Just knowing we were surrounded by professionals and tools in the right environment to get the problem resolved eased our terror.
How can job seekers find solace in the tools, environment and friends they have? It should be there, or close – perhaps just look a little harder?
How can career professionals help? Don’t forget that even though you’ve helped people through this process a million times, this might be the first, most terrifying experience for your new client.
How can friends and family help? Be supportive, validate the feelings, and try and help the job seeker get in the right environment, with the right tools, to help get through this process.
My experience in the ER was one that I don’t want to have to repeat again, but I’m happy to say that in our time of fear and unknown we were set at ease by the environment and people.
Please, help job seekers get in the right environment, and surrounded by the right people, and equipped with the right job search tools.