We all know that technology has its own language, and technology executives are fluent in the jargon. However, fluency in techno-speak does not always translate to fluency in the language of resumes. While your resume needs keywords and some of that industry jargon to satisfy the electronic and techno-savvy reviewers, the HR recruiters who are often the first screeners need more than that. They need to see accomplishments, challenges/actions/results, and that you can relate to non-technology associates, too.
I’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes for technology executives, and yes, they do all start to look alike. The bullet points listing hardware and software experience start to blend together. I imagine if I were the recruiter screening these resumes, I would start to think one candidate was just as good as another, and I would be hard-pressed to select a few for interviews without resorting to “eeny, meeny, miney, mo.” An executive search firm partner stated, “The resume is a marketing document that most people will spend less than two minutes reviewing.” One interesting (and slightly frightening) study by TheLadders posits that recruiters often spend no more than SIX SECONDS looking at a resume! If that’s the case (and sadly it is, at least in the preliminary stages of the hiring process), you must make the most of those 6-120 seconds!
That’s where a wordsmith can make all the difference. A wordsmith will select the adjectives and power verbs that will paint a portrait of you that will catch a recruiter’s eye and make them want to know more. A wordsmith draws in the reader with finely-crafted sentences and phrases that make you stand out from the crowd, while ensuring essential keywords are present and overused buzzwords are not. The resume wordsmith also knows that while the resume is about you, companies want to know what you can do for them, so vital points will portray you as a person of action who has experience solving just the sort of challenges the company currently has.
Format is important, but that alone will not differentiate you. As I said in an article on IT resumes, even a resume that appears fairly strong can fall far short in accurately depicting what a dynamic, extraordinary person you are. Sometimes people just lack the writing skills to portray themselves, but more often they are reluctant to come across as braggarts, or they simply don’t see themselves as others do. In this article, the writer is speaking specifically of face-to-face or phone encounters, but at least two reasons why people are dropped from the hiring process apply to resumes: “You appear overconfident/pushy/self-centered/insecure/aloof/ditzy/scatter-brained/desperate” and/or “You lack sincerity/self-confidence/clarity/conviction.” Many candidates don’t think of their skills and aptitudes as traits that are just as cut-and-dried as the color of their eyes. The external perspective of a wordsmith can be invaluable; I can construct an accurate picture of you that isn’t over-inflated but does make it easy for that bleary-eyed recruiter to realize that your resume should be on the top of the stack!