Writing a Resume? I've got some tough love for ya!

You've heard of tough love right? This is the kind of love that family members dispense to love one’s who either don't listen or refuse to follow the advice of their elders. Well, in response to all of the corporate generated schmaltz and fake romance from this previous Valentine weekend, I am inspired to dispense my own version of tough love. What is the object of my affection? Well.... writing resumes or, to be more specific, the people that use a resume to get IT positions in the DFW area - IT Job Seekers and IT Staffing professionals.

There are literally millions of articles and published materials on the subject of writing a resume. If you type "writing a resume" into Yahoo for instance, you will get over 120,000,000 results. I have been asked every question that you can imagine when it comes to writing a resume "Should I keep my resume to 1 page?", "Do I need to have a cover letter?", "Does education go at the top or bottom?", "Should I list references?". The questions alone could cover my entire blog. Let me answer all of these questions with a simple one word answer: Depends
When I say "Depends", I'm not talking about Adult Diapers. Although, with some of the resumes that I have seen over the years, that would be appropriate. No, I mean it “depends” upon the position. With all of the advice that is out there for writing resumes, I can tell you that the single most important thing to remember and probably the only thing that you need to remember if you are an IT Job Seeker or IT Staffing Professional is to "WRITE THE RESUME TO REFLECT THE POSITION YOUR ARE TRYING TO OBTAIN". That's it….period.

Let me dispense some tough love to both IT Job Seekers and IT Staffing Professionals. You can choose to use it or not. I have had a great deal of success placing IT Talent on contract and direct placement in DFW, and I can tell you that my advice will work if you follow it. If not, you can follow the advice of some of my elders (more on that later).

IT Job Seekers

Here are a few tips to follow:

  1. Always, I REPEAT, ALWAYS write your resume to reflect the position in which you are submitting. Your goal in sending a resume is to get an interview. Do not assume that the hiring manager or HR will understand that you are a fit. They are looking for your resume to match their job description.
  2. Do not assume that a hiring manager will read your resume entirely. Typically, hiring managers are being bombarded with resumes by HR, Recruiters, Internal referrals, etc. Make sure that the SUMMARY and WORK HISTORY reflects the job description.
  3. Your recent position or experiences need to reflect the job that the hiring manager is looking for. If a hiring manager does not see the experience quickly in the resume, they will move on.
  4. Do not have 1 resume that you send out for every job. SEE TIP NUMBER 1. Always, I REPEAT, ALWAYS write your resume to reflect the job that you are trying to get. I know that this can be time consuming but your resume is not going to be all things to all people. That's why the notion of a perfect resume whether it is one page, has references or a cover sheet is absurd. The only thing that matters is that it reflects the position in which you are submitting.
  5. Do not procrastinate. When you see a position that you fit, rewrite your resume quickly and send. Don't wait. If you have learned anything from my previous articles, remember that hiring managers get bombarded by agencies, HR, etc. Once a manger has a few people scheduled to interview, do you really think that they are going to keep scheduling interviews? Hopefully you’re not that egotistical.

IT Staffing Professionals

  1. As a recruiter, you must always be blunt and honest with an IT Job Seeker/candidate and let them know if their resume will not get them the position. This is specifically the form of tough love that I’m talking about in this article. You should know based upon the job description and your knowledge of the hiring manager’s needs if the candidate will get an interview based upon how well it reflects the description.
  2. Know how the Hiring Manager wants the resume to look. In other words, ASK. If you are dealing with a Hiring Manager that sees hundreds of resumes, they will have a preference and it is in your best interest to understand the format that they want which brings me to number……
  3. DO NOT use a standard format for your resume. If you have the arrogance to believe that you have a format that EVERYONE wants to see, I’m glad that you are my competition because there is no such thing.
  4. Always, I REPEAT, ALWAYS have the candidate write his/her resume to reflect the position in which you are submitting. If the candidate is unable to, do it for them. This statement may seem like filler and redundant in this article but it is the single most important thing to remember – your “Take Away” if you will.
  5. Get the resume written and submitted as quickly as possible. DO NOT let the candidate re-write later in the evening or take 12 to 24 hours to get it back to you. If the candidate is unable to write the resume to reflect the job description, re-write it for them while they are on the phone or in your office. Remember that Hiring Managers are receiving other resumes and scheduling interviews. You never know – once their schedule is full, they may not even review your candidate’s resume.
  6. Get a detailed job description - I understand that a hiring manager may be in a hurry or it may hurt your delicate ego to admit that you have no idea what the hiring manager is talking about but how do you expect to find and deliver the right candidate without the proper info? In order for the candidate to re-write the proper resume or for a recruiter to even find the proper candidate, you must get, at the very least, a GOOD description. The more detailed the better. If your to scared, embarrassed or just lazy, somebody else will fill the position.

Please use some of these tips to help you get to the next step and secure the interview. I promise that they will work.

This past weekend, I celebrated my 17th wedding anniversary. One thing that my wife will tell you after being married to me for 17 years is that I am very passionate about my profession and that I care about other people’s successes. I am not writing this blog to open up a debate regarding the format to write a resume or the best way to write a resume. As a matter of fact, this article is for me to share my successes and opinions with people that can use the information. You can take my wisdom and use it to get another job or a placement to make more money. If you decide not to you can follow the advice that some of my elders once told me out of tough love, “Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya”.

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