Why a resume is not all that it is cracked up to be

Resumes. The old school way to judge someone based on what is written on a piece of paper. And you decide based on that information if you think they should work with you. Works every time right?

WRONG. Well that is not how I hire staff. Not now, not ever.

A resume doesn’t tell me your attitude – and your attitude will give me a far greater insight into you than any piece of paper.

Now don’t get me wrong – I still review a resume – I need to know that my future staff have the right skills and experience for the job. But half the time I don’t even get to the resume unless the person passes a few initial tests first.

So what do I look for when I hire staff – that goes above and beyond a resume? Here are my rules:

1.Attention to detail. So when I place a job advert, I always give my company name, but not my individual name. I want people to do some research and find out if they want to work for me.  I want them to actually want the job and for them not to use the job as a “time filler”. And I want them to use my name. Any applications who address their email or cover letter to “Dear Sir/Madam” has not even taken the 30 seconds required to visit my website or social media pages to get my name. That lack of detail and care tells me that you would not survive working for me. Oh – and my name is Stacey – not Sarah, not Tracey, not Susan – so if you use my name, spelling it nice would also be a great advantage.

2. Time and effort. I always ask for a covering letter along with the resume. Often, I just get people forwarding the two attachments. So in the email there is no hello, no please find attached, no thanks – no nothing. Just forwarding attachments. If you can’t be bothered telling me why you are attaching documents – you will not survive in my business and quite frankly if you deal with my clients like that they would be horrified. Following basic instructions is a clear indicator of how you will fulfil your duties in the role.

3. Why – why are you applying for the job? You see – anyone can apply for the job. But I want to know why you are applying. So sending me a stock standard cover letter which does not mention my business name, your career aspirations or anything to do with the role – well – really shows me you are not interested in doing the actual job. I want to know why you want to be part of my team. I hire people for the long term – I want you to still be working for me in ten years time. So show me you want the same “relationship”.

4. Tell me about you – the real you. The number of emails and cover letters I get which are identical to each other is really off putting. That doesn’t tell me anything about you, it doesn’t tell me what you enjoy, what you want your career to look like and what your passions are. Tell me something your resume doesn’t. Heck make me laugh (I may be an accountant but I still love a good laugh).

So there you have it. Some basic tips to get your resume looked at. Whilst your resume might hold your amazing skills, your expertise and show me where you have worked – I never open a single resume unless you pass the 4 tests above.

You can teach skills – but you can’t teach attitude and enthusiasm.

So next time you are hiring a new staff member – think about what you are looking for. Think about who is applying, and don’t jump on the first resume you receive. There are so many other factors to consider to find the right fit.

Feel free to share your recruitment tips below!

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