IT Employment

Does your resume say what the hiring manager wants to know?

Be very careful when crafting your resume that its most important parts won't be lost to a different interpretation.

"Egocentrism is when one is over preoccupied with their own internal world. Self-relevant information is seen to be more important in shaping one's judgments than do thoughts about others and other-relevant information." (Windschitl, Rose, Stalkfleet & Smith, 2008).

Some studies show that egocentrism fades as we grow older, but I think it remains a strong, and almost unpreventable, way of being for most people. It's very difficult for people to see things through any lens other than their own.

I refer to this a lot when I talk about job hunting. When people make mistakes with their resumes, their cover letters, or the interview, it often has to do with the fact that it's difficult to separate yourself from what you want to see in a resume versus what a hiring manager wants to see.

To illustrate, let me use a personal example. My husband and I gather information in vastly different ways. If my husband and I were present during a bank robbery and were asked afterward to describe the robber, I would be able to describe his eye color, his sock color, and his demeanor and to speculate about where he goes to get his hair cut. My husband would not be able to offer a clue to the guy's appearance, but he would be able to describe the getaway car down to the type of wheels and motor.

Now, it took me a few years to come to terms with our different ways of looking at things. Even things we say to each other now have to run through the "filter of expectation." Unless we're clear on things, there's the likelihood that the same sentence could be misinterpreted.

So, given that small example, can you imagine how terminology can be misconstrued between you and a stranger looking at your resume? Can you see how many ways, for example, a blanket statement like "completed all duties associated with a project" can be interpreted without specific qualifiers?

While there's no way to know how the person looking at your resume is going to see things, one thing is for certain: He/she is going to be less enamored with the breathtaking beauty of your professional development than you are. His/her concern is if anything in your background and qualifications matches the job they're offering. The clearer you can be on that subject the better.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

11 comments
brianachievepeak
brianachievepeak

Strongly agree with you. Executive resumes should be employer friendly so that they can easily find the person as per their requirement.

schmidtd
schmidtd

The most basic error most job applicants make is they think the job interview/resume is about them. It isn't, it is about the employer (hiring manager). Many people think a resume/interview is about showing how good of a worker/person they are. Instead ALL hiring processes are about how you will fill a specific need of the interviewer. Teasing out what the interviewer is looking for is everything. You shouldn't be thinking about yourself at all or how to make yourself look good, you should be actively thinking about what the interviewer wants and is looking for, well assuming you want that job anyway. Once you understand what they want the rest is trivial, well again if you actually have anything close the skills they want. Oddly this is much harder than it ought to be, and to a great extent much of the blame is on the hiring manager or HR. After all, their most basic and first task is to accurately and thoroughly define what the position expects. This isn't a simple task, but it *is* the one they have been assigned. Their task isn???t helped by people who spam resumes thinking that is the right strategy, but there needs to be some kind of internal test that assures serious applicants will genuinely understand what is expected. If you don't belive me, read the average job advertisement, try to imagine the job it descibes. Now go and look at the actual job.

trcoogs
trcoogs

To play the devil's advocate here, wouldn't general statements lead to questions about the details at the interview? That way you could expect questions for which you have intelligent answers.

ittechexec
ittechexec

You nailed it, Toni! It's vital to frame your experience, skills, and accomplishments to speak to the needs and wants of your audience. To a large extent, it doesn't matter what you think, just what they perceive. Of course, you need to be comfortable and confident in the material presented so that you can back it up unequivocally during the interview process.

Matthew G. Davidson
Matthew G. Davidson

I am always concerned in how my resume, cover letter and interview are seen by the hiring manager. For each job I apply to I change each to fit what I think the hiring manager should know about me. Seems like I have too many resumes floating around as well.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

First thing is employer knowing what they need and what that means.... While they are employing people to produce buzzword bingo job descriptions, or those requiring a time machine (e.g. 5 years experience in VS2012), the candidate matches are going to be fools, liars, or far too expensive....

JamesRL
JamesRL

I've had 400 resumes come in for one position, where I expect to interview the top 5 candidates. So, you have to give them enough information to entice them to interview you. It is a sales job.

toni.bowers
toni.bowers

"To a large extent, it doesn't matter what you think, just what they perceive."

GSystems
GSystems

You've clearly expressed the Flip-Side of modifying every application to "fit" a certain job. I think this is all intentional smoke and mirrors, since many of the jobs I see people have (The good ones, of course) are had by someone who knew someone who knew someone that could have their resume considered...or through a recruiter of some sort. Since many jobs don't have a real hiring team to fulfill the job, the least qualified, most FOS candidate gets the job because their drive is different than the person who may actually do the job well and enjoy doing it. In the end, although your strategy isn't a bad one, it sure is time-consuming...and by the looks of things, even following their guidelines to a "T" has not rendered much success... Is this a fair assessment?

JamesRL
JamesRL

I usually tweak my resume to fit the position. It isn't a total rewrite, but I may chose to make greater emphasis on some things to be a better match to the job advertisement's requirements. And I've hired many over the past ten years. Never hired a friend of a friend. Always went through a process. We even have courses in the process and the interviewing techniques.

toni.bowers
toni.bowers

I agree that the "someone who knew someone" element is alive and well in the hiring process (which is a shame, when it's used incorrectly). But I try to drive the point home about writing your resume for the reviewer because so many people are hung up on what they think are they're best qualities without taking in mind the job description. The person looking for a job is, obviously, his or her only focus but that's not true for a manager trying to fill a job. You have to make the path for a manager looking for a skills match as easy as possible to increase your chances.