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Resume writing: Do the math.

During this past election, both Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates made much of ‘doing the math’ on each other’s budget and tax plans. Math–statistics-in particular–suddenly became sexy when a good deal of the nation turned to Nate Silver as he predicted the results.

How does this apply to resumes? First off, I want to share with you the math recruiters deal with every day–and why it’s so important for you.

A typical corporate recruiter may be recruiting on anywhere between 20 and 60 open positions at the same time. For the sake of this example, let’s say they have 40 open positions. For each of their jobs, it’s not uncommon to have 50-100 applicants. Let’s chose the middle ground and say an average of 75 applicants per position.

I’m a Liberal Arts grad, so math is not my strong suit. But even I can take 40 open requisitions x 75 applications/req = 3000 resumes to review.

That’s a big number, no? And what do you think that means in terms of how much time they have to spend on an initial read of your resume? Right. Very little. Maybe 1 minute if you’re qualified–much less if your resume doesn’t clearly state you are.

Not to mention, a typical corporate recruiter is a bit of a generalist. They may be hiring for executive admins, technical accounting managers, and Java developers–especially in smaller companies.

What does this mean for you, the job seeker? You need to help them help you get past that initial resume read to a second, more detailed read. Then to a third read as they compare you against a short list of other possible candidates to phone screen. You do this by targeting what they stated they are seeking in the position very clearly in your resume. Don’t make them dig for the information.

In my next post, I’ll talk about a quick way to tailor your resume for a specific job. But first, I’d like to know what are your frustrations with resume writing? What about job applications?

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