How to Win a Recruiter’s Heart & Mind

28 03 2017

A very common, and often accepted piece of wisdom in the world of recruiting is that you should follow your gut.

Some of the most respected minds in HR and recruiting advice using intuition to help guide who they hire.

At the same time, there is a real, measurable skills crunch out there. There are more jobs going unfilled in the U.S. than ever before, and it’s because there’s a lack of workers with the right skills to fill them.  

Many recruiters believe strongly in using their hearts – their intuition – to make hiring decisions, but at the same time, they’re having to use their minds to evaluate who has the right skills for important positions.

Want to land your dream job? The one that everyone’s going to apply for the second it comes up? You’ll need to prove you have the skills and pass the intuition test with recruiters and hiring managers.

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Winning a Recruiter’s Heart

Is it possible to win over someone’s intuition? Can you intentionally give someone a good gut feeling about you?

I believe you can.

According to studies on the job interview process, most interviewers make a snap judgment the moment they see you about what kind of candidate you’ll be, and then spend the rest of the interview confirming that judgment and ignoring things that don’t agree with it.

I know, that sounds terribly unfair.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do about this. The main take away is that the first impression is the impression.

Now, you can bet that if we make snap judgments during interviews, we make them throughout the hiring process.

For example, recruiters spend just 6 seconds looking at resumes.

So first impression matters at every stage of the hiring process, and you can expect it to be even more important if you’re after a desirable job.

Here’s a checklist to go through at each stage of the process to make sure you make the right impression.

The Resume

Generally speaking, recruiters and hiring managers check resumes for sloppiness, usually in the form of glaring typos and grammar errors. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your resume is error-free.

  • Run it through a spell-checker.

  • Read the entire resume out loud to yourself (it’s one of the best ways to catch errors).

  • Have a friend read through it.

  • Look for these common grammar mistakes.

The Phone Interview

Phone interviews are generally used by recruiters and hiring managers for screening. A few tips to keep you from getting screened.

  • Don’t talk negatively about previous jobs or bosses.

  • Don’t talk about money too much.

  • But be prepared to answer questions about expected salary – know what the going rate is, and why you’re asking for your rate if it’s different.

  • Make it clear that this is the only type of role you’re interested in doing.

The Face-to-Face Interview

You’ve come so far! Don’t blow it in the final phase.

  • If you’re not early, you’re late. Be 15 minutes early, minimum.

  • Use a couple of those extra minutes for a final appearance check.

  • Use a couple minutes to take a short walk once you’ve arrived. It’ll help calm your nerves.

  • Use the bathroom one last time.

  • Smile and be friendly to everyone you meet.

Winning a Recruiter’s Mind

As I mentioned, employers are having a terrible time finding candidates with the skills they need.

The problem has gotten so bad that the time to fill a position is at 27 days, the longest ever.

I talk to recruiters and hiring managers every day at Betterteam, and they almost always mention the lack of qualified people applying to jobs.

I worry that companies get so used to unqualified people applying for jobs that they just expect them to be unqualified, and so miss great hires because they passed by the qualifications they were looking for during the whole 6 seconds they spent with the resume.

So, here’s a quick checklist to help make sure you don’t get passed over for a job you are qualified for.

The Resume

Make it so they’d notice your qualifications even if your resume blew by during a hurricane.

  • Pay close attention to how the employer writes the job ad. Reuse the language they use to describe qualifications in your resume.

  • Make sure the format is easy to read, and that qualifications are bolded and bullet pointed.

The Phone Interview

They’re going to do an initial check to be sure you’ve got the skills.

  • Be ready to talk about specific projects you completed from beginning to end.

  • Know what success looks like for the position, as well as common mistakes people make.

  • Be ready to give specific numbers, i.e. exactly how much you grew sales by in the first quarter.

The Face-to-Face Interview

Almost there! They probably think you’re qualified at this point, but just to be sure…

  • Be ready with specific examples of what you’ve accomplished in previous roles.

  • Know your industry – be able to talk about the best examples of people doing your job well, what direction it’s headed in, etc.

It really is a fantastic time to be looking for a job. If you can show employers that you’ve got the skills they need and make the right impression, you’ve got an excellent shot at landing an awesome job. If you’re looking for more job search advice, check out Betterteams’ list of job boards, by profession. Good luck!

****Campus to Career thanks Paul Peters for this insightful post!!****

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About the author: Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.





Boost the Skills Section of Your Resume [Infographic]

9 08 2016

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Are you a talented content marketer?

Or perhaps you’ve got killer sales skills?

Many candidates ignore their skills section, believing that recruiters focus more on other parts of their resumes. That’s a huge mistake. Your skill set is something you should expose to the world – it’s the foundation of your professional identity.

Consider this – recruiters spend  an average 6 seconds looking at a resume  before deciding whether it’s worth their time. Knowing what skills to put on a resume [https://uptowork.com/blog/what-skills-to-put-on-a-resume] is critical so that you can grab recruiters’ attention at this stage in the  process.  And you can do that with a well crafted skills section.

But first things first – how do you find out  what skills recruiters desire most?

A lot of recruiters are after basic, non-technical skills. Communication, teamwork, leadership,problem solving, and analytic thinking  are at the top of their list.

Have a look at the job ad to which you’re responding, and then check out other ads for similar positions. Notice anything in common? These are the skills recruiters want  for this job – make sure to you mention them.

Once you know which skills can boost your chances at landing your dream job, it’s time to consider how you should communicate these skills on your resume.

Lots of recruiters use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to make their lives easier while dealing with hundreds of resumes.  The keywords you found in the job description are what you should  add  to your resume to outsmart the bots. However, you should be cautious, adding only relevant keywords that can be backed up with quantifiable results.

Transferable skills are a good option as well. Even if they don’t  show up in the ad, they still present extra value. And your resume can’t have too much of that.

Look at people who already occupy your dream position. Which qualifications, skills, and accomplishments do they highlight on their LinkedIn profiles? If you boast similar skills, add them to your resume – you’ll show recruiters that your skill set makes you a top professional in your niche.

But that’s just the beginning. Check out this infographic for more tips on what skills to put on your resume.

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****For this unique post, Campus to Career thanks Natalie from Uptowork!!****

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Bio: Natalie is a writer at Uptowork – Your Resume Builder [https://uptowork.com]. She writes about how to create successful resumes so that you can land  your dream job. When she isn’t writing, she eats tacos and reads complicated novels.





CVs and Résumés: Get Them Right to Get the Job (Infographic)

24 05 2016

It’s as simple as this: without an excellent résumé, your prospects of finding employment are slim to nil. Your résumé is your first impression on a recruiter, and with so many others like you also trying to make a distinctive first impression, it will need to be particularly strong to warrant further attention from the recruiter.

In that case, it’s well worth taking the time to analyze your résumé and make sure that it is word perfect before submitting it to a recruiter. That might seem insultingly obvious, but the stark truth is that a large number of applicants fail to do this. Recruiters are constantly sent applications with glaring errors such as spelling mistakes, sloppy layout, inconsistent or even false information and buzzwords which were clearly pulled from the Internet and slapped incoherently into the résumé.

Australian payroll and contractor management company Ayers has identified the main aspects of excellent résumé writing by honing in on three categories.

Spelling/Grammar: When you’re finished writing the résumé, proofread it carefully. Ensure that you use the correct spelling for the region in which you’re applying, e.g. if you’re applying for a job in California, use the American spelling of words such as ‘labor’ and ‘aluminum’. Then proofread it again. Only use capital letters at the start of sentences or in proper nouns. When all that’s done, it’s time for another proofread. In fact, get another person to proof it for you in case you’ve missed anything.

Layout: A résumé is a professional, formal document, so use black type throughout and adopt a neutral font such as Arial or Times New Roman. The snazzy fonts and colors belong elsewhere. Ensure that your résumé is consistent in its layout and favor the use of bullet points, as this will make it easier to read than chunks of text where the recruiter is straining to determine what are the most pertinent points.

Content: This is the most important aspect of the whole lot. This is your audition for the role being advertised, so make it count. Talk yourself and your achievements up as much as you can without delving into lying territory. If the job application asked for specific skills or qualifications, address these accordingly. Support any claims you make with concrete evidence.

Follow these rules and your résumé is all the more likely to grab a recruiter’s attention. Read the infographic below for further advice.

CVs-&-Resumes-Get-Them-Right-to-Get-the-Job.jpg





5 Things Recruiters Want to See on Your Resume

11 08 2015

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Today’s tight job market presents job-seekers with a barrage of fluffy blog posts promising “secret” information recruiters “don’t want you to know.” With titles like “This one weird trick will get you hired IMMEDIATELY,” the implication is that the only thing separating your resume from those of the job-seeking illuminati is one crucial piece of information.

The truth, of course, is that there is no special trick. There’s no certain font or magic one-liner that will get you hired. What matters most is whether or not an employer can look at your resume, quickly extract the information they need and follow up accordingly.

When you know what recruiters really want to see, and why, then you’re on the path to getting hired. So, close out all your other tabs and listen up – these are the five things recruiters want to see on your resume:

  1. Continuity

Nobody likes a flake. While opinions may differ on what qualifies a flake – some say frequent job-hopping is bad, while others say it speaks to strong work ethic – all will agree that a flake is a person to be avoided. Employers want someone who is capable of handling the work: someone who will show up, do what’s necessary and not bail or change tracks until it’s done.

Recruiters scanning resumes, then, look for a sense of continuity. It doesn’t matter necessarily which positions you’ve held, how long you held them or why you left. What matters is that all of the things on your resume work together and convey a sense of steadfastness and dependability. Your resume needs to answer the invisible questions hovering above the recruiter’s head:

  • Are you a hard-worker?
  • Can you get things done?
  • Are you the right choice for this job?

The best way to maintain a sense of continuity is to establish a strong, clear …

  1. Career Narrative

Where did you start? Where are you now? What happened in between? Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and recruiters scanning your resume are looking for the same.

  • I started at X.
  • I learned Y.
  • By the time I left, I’d done Z.

Your resume shouldn’t merely be a list of skills and gigs; it should present the reader with a picture of the exciting road that is your career, portraying each entry as a stop along that road, and you as the wandering hero.

Recruiters want to know what challenges you’ve faced, what dragons you’ve slain, how you’ve grown and what you’ve learned. Most importantly, they want to know why this job is the ultimate destination of all your relentless questing, and why they should throw the doors open to welcome you.

  1. An Ongoing Commitment to Personal Growth

Nobody’s perfect, and being introspective enough to recognize your own weaknesses is, paradoxically, a strength. That’s not to say you should fill your resume with things you can’t do or things you aren’t good at – but you should strive to include credible evidence that shows you make a conscious effort to get better, all the time.

It’s up to you to determine what will prove a commitment to growth in the context of your specific field. For some, it may be attending local workshops on your own time. For others, it may be taking on extracurricular projects at work. If you’re in a highly research-driven field like medicine or law, you could probably benefit from a resume which highlights participation in a formal continuing education program.

  1. References, Awards and Recognition

Fundamentally, we are all hard-wired to resist taking risks. It’s an evolutionary trait stemming from billions of years of battling natural selection, which tends to take a firm hand with dumb animals who make a habit of eating weird fruit.

As a result, before you go to see a movie, you look up the Rotten Tomatoes score first. Before you buy a dishwasher, you read Amazon reviews. Before you meet up with an OkCupid date, you camp out in their backyard and watch them from the bushes Google them.

Likewise, recruiters look to external recognition when vetting candidates, because like you, they’re lazy and risk-averse. They don’t want to take a chance on you. They don’t want to give you a shot or take your word for it. To a recruiter, you’re just another weird fruit: You might sustain them, or you might kill them. When scanning your resume, a recruiter wants to feel safe and certain. They want to see that someone else – a former boss, a contest judge, the dean of your college – has already taken the plunge, eaten the weird fruit and can independently verify its awesomeness.

  1. What They Get from Hiring You, Specifically

Tired phrases like “hard worker” and “fast learner” are “a dime a dozen.” They’re squishy and impossible to quantify. They’re just words; even worse, they’re clichés. They hold no meaning, and they don’t set you apart.

So what does set you apart? What makes you not merely qualified for this job, but more qualified than everyone else who’s applying? What puts you in the top 1 percent? Why are you unique? Why are you special? Why are you awesome?

Figure that out, then put it on your resume – because in the end, it’s the only thing that really matters.

sarah landrum head shotAbout the author: Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she’s a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. She’s also the newest addition to the Campus to Career family, serving as a featured contributor on a regular basis. You can find her tweeting during boring speeches @SarahLandrum





Resume Writing Tips for December Graduates

22 11 2011

Special note:  The views, opinions or strategies expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of Campus to Career.  I bring you this resource as just one of the many resources available to you, but am not endorsing the services of the guest blogger.  

Please use your best common sense when soliciting resume and career advice!

Guest post by Darlene Zambruski, Managing Editor, ResumeEdge and JobInterviewEdge

Attention December graduates: it’s time to put together a winning application packet that will help you stand out in today’s competitive job market.

You’re unique, because you’re graduating at a less common time than many of your peers. May is the traditional month for graduation, so you’re roughly five months ahead of schedule. This may allow you to get a jump on the job market. Plus, you’re job searching at a time when many companies are planning their budgets for the coming year, which means they may be looking at what new jobs they can add.

Take advantage of your position. Craft a resume that will truly stand out from the crowd. How can you do this? Follow our handy resume writing tips below.

Five Resume Writing Tips You Don’t Want to Forget:

  1. Keep it clean. The layout of your resume matters. If it’s complicated or unorganized, employers aren’t going to spend time deciphering it. They will just throw it away. Use a simple, clean format that clearly highlights your skills and how they benefit the employer. Keep spacing and margins uniform, and use consistent font and sizing across the board.
  2. Customize your skill set. Make sure the skills you outline are specific enough to clearly match those the employer is looking for. Instead of using general descriptions like “computer skills, management abilities,” get more specific by saying “proficient in operating programs x, y, and z” or “managed x number of accounts.”
  3. Quanitfy, quantify, quantify. When giving descriptions of duties you completed at past positions, quantify the results of your actions as often as possible. How great was your client’s increase in ROI year over year? How many people did you manage or train? How much did you raise for that fundraising event?
  4. Focus on the benefits. No matter how proud you are of your accomplishments, an employer simply doesn’t care unless they can see how it will benefit them. Don’t just list everything you’ve done. Make sure you show how your skills and past experiences will provide value to the company you want to work for.
  5. Create targeted content. As you apply to jobs, make certain the content of your resume and cover letter are unique. Don’t create cookie cutter documents for submission to hundreds of companies. Make each company notice that your application packet is specifically targeted to the position they are offering.

In addition to following these tips, it’s a good idea to look at high-quality sample resumes to get an idea of what others in your industry are putting in their application documents. Resume examples are great for helping you determine what formatting you like best and how well your skill set matches up against the competition.

Putting together a winning resume takes some time, but these resume writing tips will help ensure that your document lands on the desks of the employers you want to work for most.

About Darlene: Darlene has been the managing editor of ResumeEdge since its inception in 2004, and the managing editor of JobInterviewEdge since it was launched in March 2010. She has authored 10,000+ resumes/cover letters/CVs for clients at every career stage, from entry-level to CEOs, and in every industry. In addition to being a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and industry SME, she is also a multi-published novelist in the contemporary and historical lines for Kensington Publishing in New York and is co-owner, with a New York agent, of The JP Literary Agency. She has worked in Story Direction for Hanna-Barbera Productions, Hollywood, California (with work broadcast on CBS-TV); as a freelance writer for Prentice Hall Publications; as an editor for The Reporter, an award-winning Midwestern newspaper; and as the public relations director for The Petite Corporation, marketing its literary talent.  Find out more at http://www.resumeedge.com.