The Keys to the Interview Print E-mail

I was surfing around some of the career pages of major companies that have recently had well-publicized lay-offs or hiring freezes such as IBM and General Motors. I was curious to see where their open positions are and for what positions they are hiring. While doing my surfing, I came across a link that led me to a link that took me to another link (you know how it is). I ended up at a good article on keywords and resume databases - http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/02/news/economy/kowitt_resume.fortune/index.htm. The article quotes Al Campa of Taleo software. Taleo is a brand of HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems) software that helps HR departments hire and manage talent. The article quotes Campa as stating. The whole automated system just makes it easier to go through resumes pretty painlessly. In the market today, even if the country was running at 3% unemployment rather than near 10% in places, HR departments of large companies simply cannot operate without HRIS systems. The volume of resumes is far too high to manage by hand. The resume database is a fact of life.


As with all facts of life, we need to stop fighting it and start working with it to achieve our goals. Resume databases are here to stay and the smart job seeker will accept that and go with the flow. We all lament the lack of personal touches in hiring but the days of having 25 applicants for a job opening are long gone. Today, a job opening will likely have 250 applicants instead and it is simply impossible to personally review that many resumes. We have to automate to survive. For the job seeker, survival means adaptation.


The article linked above has some excellent points. One is the use of a keyword or core competencies section. At Getinterviews, the core competencies section is an integral part of our resume strategy for almost all our clients. Having keywords that tag the skills of the targeted positions is very important. We make our core competencies section one of the main sections in the top half of the resume. As part of our intake process, we ask our clients for job advertisements that are representative of the career goals they are targeting so we can hone in on specific keywords. We want to bring those keywords into play and also provide details in the content that back up those skills. As the article describes, employers are looking for candidates with near-100% matches on qualifications. Everything we can do to make sure our clients resumes come up high in those searches will help make our clients more successful.


Another important factor is the use of an e-resume. Have you ever viewed your uploaded Word-format resume only to discover it is full of strange character sets? Word documents do not always upload cleanly to a database. Formatting and design elements will often cause strange or unusual changes to the content of the document, usually resulting in a document that looks messy, unprofessional and difficult to read. Other formats such as HTML or PDF files cause even greater problems in uploading. The only solution is to use a database-compatible e-resume. The e-resume is designed to be readable by computers but also easy on the human eye. It follows certain layout rules and is in a text format. The layout rules help the human reader and the text format helps the machine reader. The goal is to get the machine to grab it in a search and then have the human reviewer contact the job seeker after skim-reading it.


An e-resume is also used as a source document for the copy/paste procedure that some job sites and career pages require for inputting a resume. The e-resume content will copy and paste cleanly without worry about losing formatting or causing problems. It makes getting the resume into many of the job boards much less of a hassle.


The article notes there are no magical words that must appear on every resume and I totally agree. Content of a resume should be well-considered because a resume has a limited amount of space. Choose words that are powerful and representative of the skills targeted. The resume is a persuasive document with a goal of spurring an interview contact. It needs to be engaging and full of useful, keyword-rich information and description. Unimaginative sentence construction, word choice, or syntax only makes for a boring resume. Boring resumes don't generate interviews.


Is your resume keyword-rich? Is it passing the database test? Are you consistently using an e-resume as an essential tool in your job search? If you answer no to any of these questions, you are not maximizing your job search efforts.