Who’s Reading Your Resume?
by Linda Matias
It seems that everyone is an expert when it comes to resume writing. If
you show your resume to ten different people, you will get ten totally
different opinions. What is a job seeker to do when there are so many
conflicting ideas when it comes to resume etiquette? Who should you write
the resume for? Computer software? The screener? The recruiter? The decision
maker? The answer is yes to all three. Your resume needs to take into
consideration the nuances of all potential readers, including computer
This is precisely the reason why most jobseekers are confused when it
comes to writing their own resumes. Below is a rundown of all resume readers
and how to appeal to them.
COMPUTER SCANNING SYSTEM
Most resumes today aren’t read by human eyes, but rather a scanning system.
This is how this works: a clerk at the hiring organization receives resumes
and their job is to scan them into the computer. When a position becomes
available, the clerk goes into the computer system and keys in buzzwords and
the resumes that are retrieved by the computer are the candidates that are
called in for interviews.
How to appeal to computer software: Your resume should be keyword rich.
This will increase the chances your resume will be retrieved.
Recruiters search for candidates who meet specific requirements their
clients (the hiring organization) set forth. Although the recruiter works
for the hiring organization, the reality is that he or she wants to close
the deal and will go to bat for you if you meet or exceed the requirements.
The advantage of teaming with a recruiter is that he or she will be able
to provide you with insider information. And in some cases, specific
interview questions you can expect. This type of information is invaluable.
How to appeal to recruiters: If a recruiter has a specific job for you in
mind and makes resume recommendations, then listen to their suggestions.
Once a recruiter is satisfied with your resume, they will submit it and act
as your voice and job search partner.
A screener is someone who doesn’t have a full understanding of the inner
workings of the position. They work from a checklist of requirements that
have been provided by the decision maker and the job description at hand.
Screeners won’t have much room to negotiate and will only approve you to the
next stage if you meet the set criteria by the hiring manager.
How to appeal to screeners: If you know you are going to deal with a
screener, study job descriptions and draw parallels from your experience.
You must connect all the dots for them since they don’t have the luxury to
make assumptions regarding your qualifications.
Decision makers have the most flexibility when it comes to experience and
bending their own rules. This is because they are in control. This is the
reason why most career professionals suggest you apply directly to decision
How to appeal to decision makers: Base your resume on accomplishments.
Decision makers want to see what you can bring to the table.
Resume writing is much more than being able to put sentences together but
it isn’t impossible to incorporate the needs of all readers. In fact,
integrating the requirements of all the resume reviewers will make the
Linda Matias is President of CareerStrides and The
National Resume Writers' Association. She has been quoted in The Wall Street
Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com. Visit her website
or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.