In a previous life I was a headhunter. I scoured the region looking for just the right people to fill jobs. Applicants were screened and tested and interviewed. Only the best two or three got “live” interviews. The role I played was mostly detective; the higher the position, the deeper I dug. It was pretty easy to ferret out the fakes back then, privacy laws were non-existent and previous employers told the truth, and expected the same courtesy in return.
Today things are different. Privacy laws erect a barrier between what an employer would like to tell you and what she can tell you by law.
Technology can be a double-edged sword. It helps applicants craft the perfect resume; misspelled and repeated words are underlined in red, and a right mouse click can provide the perfect synonym or antonym. But you’d better take care in how and what you say. Today, software scans resumes for keywords or phrases, years of experiences, salary requirements and even zip codes. In other words, if you want to get noticed, you’d better use the right words for the position you’re seeking.
I’ve been working with a company helping them fill a C-level position. In the last three months the job description was updated, ads were written and placed and over 50 resumes were submitted and read.
While reading through the resumes a number of thoughts struck me. 1.Candidates used a LOT of adjectives to describe their skills and accomplishments. If something could be said in 10 words, they used 20 just to make sure you (or the computer / scanner) didn’t miss any of their greatness.
2.There is no room for modesty or humbleness in today’s resume; if you’ve got it flaunt it. If you don’t have it, flaunt it anyway.
3.Finally, no one admitted on their resume to having skeletons in their closet, yet a simple Google search turned up several. Did they think we wouldn’t check?
After spending hours looking at resumes, comparing qualifications and checking references I decided to take another look at the final five who will be interviewed.
These resumes are works of art; every word carefully crafted to instill a sense of competence, authority and skill. Every comma precisely placed to emphasize a phrase; they could have been written by Madison Avenue pitchmen.
I’m ready and excited for the personal interviews to start. I’ve got my question ready for each of them:
Can you also walk on water?