Here is an article that I wrote recently to help candidates submit a resume that gets attention.
Use curb-appeal and staging to sell yourself in your resume.
I’ve been watching all of those shows where people have been trying to sell their homes and can’t. So,they bring in a real estate expert to find out why. The answer always involves curb-appeal and staging.
Does your resume have curb-appeal and is it staged properly? You’ve probably never thought of your resume like that, but you should. Selling a house is alot like selling a candidate to a prospective employer. The candidate's resume needs to have curb-appeal and must be properly staged.
Curb-appeal is the first thing a buyer sees. In real estate, it is how the house looks when the prospective buyer sees it for the first time. It’s the first impression. Within the first 10-20 seconds of seeing your resume, the hiring manager or recruiter gets a first impression and makes a decision whether you are likely to be a qualified candidate for the position. It’s a "10 second test" that your resume must pass in order to be fully considered. As a recruiter I see dozens and dozens of resumes each day and I make decisions on each resume. For example, this one is qualified and I need to read further, this one is not qualified, this one needs to just go into my database, or this one is not good enough for my database. Your resume has to pass the "10 second test" if you want to get the job interview.
When the hiring manager looks at your resume, it is usually in MSWORD. They open it and see the top-half of the first page. This is where curb-appeal and staging are important. In order to pass the "10 second test" your resume needs staging. Staging your resume is like arranging and decorating a room. In this case, it is only the top-half of the first page. It is the only room that can pass the "10 second test". They’ll never get to the other rooms in your resume if they walk out in the foyer.
Here are some things to do when staging your resume:
1. Put in your complete contact info at the top including an e-mail address and all phone numbers (they might actually want to contact you to setup an interview). Include your degree after your name. If you have a Masters or a Ph.D. tell them here in the first 10 seconds.
2. The very next thing on your resume should be the SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS. This is the most important section of your resume and it needs to pass the "10 second test". It’s make or break right here, right now!
3. In the SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS tell the hiring managers that you are qualified and then they will want to see the details below. At this point you should have passed the "10 second test". Show them in this section that you meet the requirements for the position for which you are applying. If they require 3 years experience, then one of the bullets should show it. Tell how many years of industry experience you have and tell them how many years you have in the discipline that they are looking for.
Your bullets should hit all of the requirements found in the job description. If you hit all of the requirements, you're sure to pass the "10 second test" with a properly staged resume that has curb-appeal.
4. Rearrange your SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS for each job application. If you have staged your resume properly, then the rest of your resume probably won’t have to be touched.
5. Show your experience in the details below. Forget the old advice of having only a two page resume. No one looks at a printed paper resume anymore. It's all reviewed on the screen and most programs offer search and scroll buttons. Most of the homes that are not selling are not staged properly to show off the rooms. Think of each of your work experience sections like rooms and stage them properly to show off the experience that you gained there. Put away the clutter and show off your experience in some real details not clichés’.
Some sure fire ways to fail the "10 second test" include:
1. Sending multiple resumes for multiple jobs to the same person or company shows poorly and lacks curb-appeal. It makes the candidate look desperate at best and totally incompetent at worst. No one is qualified for 10 different positions.
2. Another sure fire way to fail the "10 second test" is to make the hiring manager get out his calculator to figure out your years of experience. Just tell them in The Summary of Qualifications section.
3. Don’t’ use unusual fonts or tables with row and columns. The curb-appeal can be destroyed by using strange fonts. Most people in staffing use an Applicant Tracking System or ATS to suck in resumes and keep track of jobs and candidates. If your resume is difficult to park in their garage, then you're not making a good first impression. It needs to be machine friendly. Tables with multiple columns make it very difficult to properly parse your resume into an ATS.
In order for you to both pass the "10 second test" and stage your resume properly, you need to actually look at your CV the same way the hiring manager looks at it. Ask yourself if you passed the "10 second test". With the proper curb-appeal and staging your resume can pass the 10 Second Test and land you an interview.