As a student nurse, one of the pivotal moments of my career was when I failed an exam. If I failed the re-take, then I was out. My nursing career would be over before it even started. After the results were published, I arranged meeting with my tutor to discuss my exam and why I failed it. In doing this, she had me look at the exam and showed me how it was marked by the examiners. If there were 4 marks for the questions, then they were looking for four points to be made. By approaching the exam from the examiners point of view, I was better able to revise the key points that would come up, and then mark my own exams before the end of the exam, so that I was more confident about passing them. I’ve rarely failed an exam since.
After I qualified as a nurse, my first job was to get… well, a job. I found that by looking at the recruitment process from the hospitals point of view, I could create résumés and complete application forms that got me interviews. When you look at the recruitment process from the recruiter’s point of view, you can see where the pitfalls are and avoid them.
From the organisation’s point of view, there are four parts to the recruitment process:
- Identifying a job and creating a job description. It may be a new job or replacing someone who’s leaving but for whatever reason, an organisation needs to recruit a person to fill a job. To find the right candidate from all the people in the world, they need to narrow down the criteria to identify what makes a person the right candidate for the job. This is usually in the form of a person’s skills, experience and education. Some jobs may also require that a person be registered or affiliated with a specific organisation, for example, as a nurse I was required to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
- Attract suitable candidates. Once an organisation has agreed and funded a post, the next job is to attract candidates to the job. Where they choose to advertise the role will depend on the type of job and the pool of candidates available. In some cases, the pool of candidates is so small that the organisation uses specialist recruitment agents that have links to the right types of candidates, in some cases, the pool of candidates is so large, a simple advert in the local paper is sufficient to find candidates.
- Screen the candidates. Once an organisation has received interest from a sufficiently large group of candidates, the next job is to narrow them down to a small group of people to interview. There are many ways that this can be done, but the first option is to review the resumes or application forms sent in to see how far they match the job description.
- Hire one or more candidates. The shortlisted candidates are usually invited for interview. This may be an initial telephone interview, followed by a face to face interview. There may be tests, such as psychometric tests or candidates may be required to deliver a presentation. Either way, at the end of this process, the candidates are narrowed down to the one person who gets the job.
The one thing to take note is that from the recruiter’s point of view they are trying to whittle down 100+ applicants down to one. All of them may be equally qualified and experienced for the job, so how does the company get to that one person? By picking fault with the initial résumés and actively looking for reasons NOT to hire the person. Whitcomb (2010) cites 14+ pet peeves of recruiter’s in terms ofrésumés. The top 5 were:
- spelling mistakes and typos, for example manger instead of manager. Some typos won’t be picked up by spell check because they are correctly spelt words, just not in the context of the résumé.
- poor grammar. Grammar is the set of rules that explain how words are used in a language, for example using capital letters for names and at the beginning of a sentence. The most common mistakes are in the use of there/their/they’re, its/it’s, and your/you’re.
- no chronological listing of work.When you list your work experience in reverse chronological order, future employers can see your career progression.
- lack of accomplishments. In every job you do, you are contributing to the organisation in some shape or form, otherwise, why employ you? But if how you contribute to an organisation isn’t clear in your résumé, then how would a future employer know how you could contribute to their organisation?
- lack of dates. Whether it’s when you completed your education, or the dates that you worked for an organisation, leaving them out means that potential employers can’t work out how much experience you have.
If you want to get to the interview stage of the recruitment process, then don’t give the person reviewing your résumé or application a reason to put your application in the bin.
Creating customised résumés that get interviews
If you want to get an interview, then your best chance of success if by using a customised résumé. These are my 6 steps
- Analyse the job description, identifying the organisations requirements for the role in terms of qualifications, skills, experience and language/jargon. Compare this to your master résumé to see where you meet or exceed these key requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements for example, key qualifications, then you may not be suitable for this job. In which case, could you undertake a course in the future?
- Choose a design for your résumé. If you joined the GET THAT JOB challenge on karenbrowntraining.com, you’ll see our full range of résumés. Challenge members can also access some samples in the “file” tab in the Facebook group.
- Compile a summary statement for use at the beginning of your résumé, that shows how you meet the essential criteria for the job that you’re applying for.
- Copy and paste the relevant experience, adding achievements that speak to the role you want. Include other relevant sections such as skills, education and professional memberships.
- Tweak the keywords in your résumé, so that they match the jargon used in the job description.
- Proof read you résumé for spelling and grammar mistakes, and make sure that it reads well.
Viola! By understanding the recruitment process, and generating customised resumes, you will increase your chances of getting a job.
Adapted from my 30 day challenge.
If you’re looking for a job, then why not take my free Get That Job challenge? It covers preparing a resume that gets you interviews, building a killer LinkedIn profile, networking and interview skills. Alternatively my Get That Job Club has an exclusive range of courses and resources designed to help you get the job that you want. Try it for 1 month for only €5.
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Take care for now