Saturday, October 29, 2011

Writing Resumes That Get Results

Written By Jeff Snyder
SecurityRecruiter.com
October 26, 2011

Resume writing has never before been such an important topic. An article entitled “Want an Unbeatable Resume? Read These Tips from a Top Recruiter” showed up in Forbes on 8.24.11. Several weeks ago, the article showed up at the top of LinkedIn as a featured article.

As of this moment on 10.21.11, this article has been viewed 100,410 times, shared on Facebook 1,922 times, on LinkedIn 22,400 times, on Twitter 944 times and so on. It appears that resume writing is quite a popular topic in the midst of an unstable job market in an unstable world and rightfully so.

A global company recently had an opening for a Global Security Manager. In only ten days, they received over 400 resumes. To make the cut and land in the top 10, a security job candidate would have had to deliver a security resume that stand out as being exceptional.

A resume is the first impression a job candidate makes with an employer more often than not. Most job seekers send a resume as a first step in communicating their availability for a job rather than communicating in other ways first.

A Professional Security Resume Writing Service

At SecurityRecruiter.com, a professional security resume writing service was created approximately three years ago as the first round of banks were crashing. The idea was that if there were going to be more job seekers than jobs in the market, only those whose resumes that rose to the top would get attention from companies that still had jobs to fill.

This assumption was a correct assumption three years ago and it is still true today.

Three years later, it appears that not only are active job seekers who have been displaced from a job looking for resume writing advice, but so are actively employed professionals who are looking for a competitive edge on their competition.

The Forbes article brought up many points that make a lot of sense and some points that deserve deeper attention.

Resume Length

The article suggested that resumes should be simple and should not exceed 2 pages in length. Resumes that are built with significant evidence of accomplishment, value and quantifiable business data will land somewhere between 2 and 3 pages. Resumes of this length that have been written correctly will be read even by the busiest of recruiters and human resource professionals.

Read in 10 Seconds

The Forbes article suggests that resumes will be read in 10 seconds. It is true that the first scan of a resume will happen in 10-15 seconds, but what the Forbes article left out was the fact that the first scan is the action a resume reader must take in order to shrink the large pile to ultimately create the stack of resumes they’ll go back to fully read. A resume does need to be built so that it can be scanned in 10-15 seconds. Built correctly, this resume will then be moved to the read again pile where it will be read in great detail from top to bottom. So while the need for a simple to read resume is there, so is the need to deliver a resume that shows accomplishments, value and quantifiable results.

Avoid Fancy Fonts, Table and Fancy Layout

On this topic, the Forbes article was 100% correct. Pretty resumes are a dime a dozen but the real trick is to build a value-driven resume that is clean and free of encumbrances that will get in the way when the resume is absorbed into an Applicant Tracking System. The use of resume templates, boxes, fancy fonts and fancy symbols generally does not work well with Applicant Tracking Systems used by human resource departments and by recruiters.

Get Rid of Objectives and Summaries

The Forbes article suggests getting rid of objectives and summaries is the right thing to do. Long drawn out objectives and summaries will not be read by busy resume readers. This is especially true when a resume is going through the 10-15 second review.

However, a properly written summary or objective with 2-4 sentences can give the reader enough enticement to cause them to want to read the rest of the resume. Use a summary, but do so in a highly strategic manner. Keep the demands of the resume reader you’re soliciting in mind when you write an objective or summary.

Skip Personal Information and Photos

On this topic, the Forbes article is 100% on target. Personal information that might be of interest to the resume owner may actually provide enough information for the resume reader to form a bias against the resume owner. Keep the resume professional.

Avoid Fuzzy Keywords and Phrases

This comment in the Forbes article referred to claiming to have excellent communication skills, having great customer skills and claiming to be creative. If you use these types of words in your resume, do so in the context of a sentence or a full bullet that explains how your great communication skills led to a positive business result. Explain how your creativity solved a problem. Explain how your exceptional ability to deal with customers made money for the company or perhaps saved a disgruntled customer from leaving the company’s client list.

Writing Security, Risk,Compliance and Privacy Resumes

Through the SecruityRecruiter.com security resume writing program, we teach our clients how to build resume content that displays accomplishments, contributions, value and quantifiable evidence into a resume. Our client’s resumes can be quickly scanned in 10-15 seconds in order to be set aside for deeper review.

Based on research we’ve done with hiring authorities and with human resource leaders, we’ve built a custom security resume writing methodology that considers the need for a resume to be technology friendly, business-focused, accomplishment-focused and value driven while also needing to be eye catching to the point where the reader will want to go beyond a quick 10 to 15 second scan to actually read the resume.

Landing a New Job

Security jobs, risk management jobs, compliance jobs and privacy jobs are plentiful even in a generally poor economy. However, only those professionals who’ve invested time to sharpen their resume to demonstrate business value will see their resume float to the top when consideration is given to who will be interviewed for the most desirable jobs.

Jeff Snyder is the President of SecurityRecruiter.com, an executive retained search firm highly specialized in global information security, corporate security, risk management, global compliance, privacy and converged security recruiting. SecurityRecruiter.com’s first security recruiting assignment was executed in the mid-1990s. In recent years, SecurityRecruiter.com has been retained by small to medium-sized organizations as well as Fortune 100 companies to identify, recruit and deliver the industry’s top global security, risk, compliance and privacy talent up to  and including the CISO and CSO levels.


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