In order to get a full understanding of how the recruiting food chain functions, we must first cover what a recruiter does in order to fill a position (Also known as a search) given to him or her by an employer. Using this information to your advantage can help you tailor your resume and the information you enter into resume databases such as Monster, Beyond, CareerBuilder, etc.
It’s Not As Complicated As You May Think
To start off, Joe Recruiter gets a search assigned to him by his recruiting firm. (Most recruiters are working together these days, since there are not many searches available.) Joe now goes to Monster.com (Or Beyond or CareerBuilder… Basically, whoever has the best deal on resumes at the given time.) Lets say the position is for a Production Coordinator at a Vitamin Plant. Joe enters in some basic information such as the job title, years of experience, location, keywords (Which we will cover in detail later in this article) and probably sorts them by how recent the resume was posted. Let’s break this down further and show how you can use this to your advantage.
Joe will basically narrow down his search using these criteria (Which we will show you how to leverage below) in order to accumulate about 10 to 20 resumes. Joe will then print them all out, grab a coffee and review them in detail and throw out anything questionable. Next, he will call the top ten for phone interviews and, once he has 3 good candidates, he will put together a package for the employer to review. (Sometimes a recruiter will narrow it down to 1 candidate, in order to keep the employer from wasting time debating over who they should hire. It’s really dependent upon the employer’s request for X amount of candidates.)
What Should You Put Down for Job Title?
Most people try to be as specific as possible, when listing their job title, since it makes them sound more accomplished and experienced. You are fully entitled to take credit for your work and you should have pride in your title, since you have put so much effort into becoming skilled at your profession.
There is a downside; however, to entering a long specific title such as in this case, “Automated Manufacturing Production Coordinator.” Odds are, the recruiter does not truly understand what a Production Coordinator is or does and our example recruiter “Joe” is just going to read over the job search requirements and make his own assumptions. In reality, a Production Coordinator prepares and reviews manufacturing procedures, tracks man hours and overtime, takes care of all kinds of salaried people’s needs from pens and notebooks, to ordering specific parts for the process, and many other tasks. Joe is going to see this and note that the position requires a 2 year degree and basically assume that it is a Manufacturing-oriented secretary. Or as far as his search is concerned, “secretary.”
Most of the people, who are looking for this job, did not refer to themselves as a secretary, since they would feel that title is degrading due to the actual nature of the job. They do not think of themselves as secretaries, so they will most likely not put it on their resume. However, the few people that do put the keyword “secretary” in their title or even in their resume, will come up in the search results on the Monster or Beyond resume search. Resume Database search engines and algorithms are not near as sophisticated as Google, so typically they just provide a recruiter with straight word matches.
What Should I Put Down for Years of Experience
The best suggestion we can provide here is to just be honest. In reality, Joe Recruiter is going to put in a number and then continue to reduce that number until he has enough candidates. (Or results in the resume search tool.) There is really not much you can do here to improve your chances, but this is not as important as you may think. When you finish reading this article and try out the Resume Search Test Drive, you’ll see what we mean.
The Importance of Location
Many people today do not put down their full address or even their name on a resume. This is because oftentimes, they do not want their current employer to discover that they are seeking employment somewhere else. You can use this to your advantage, by placing your city and state accordingly, so that you are centered around businesses. For instance, Aurora is a suburb of Chicago, but when you draw a 50 mile radius (Most resume searches use 50 miles as the default setting) circle around Aurora, much of Chicago is not in the circle. If you were to just put down Chicago, (Or Chicagoland) you have now included the Northeast and Southwest Suburbs as well. Since the contact information is what’s important, many job seekers only put down the job title, city and state. We do not support or suggest lying on a resume. The purpose of this tip is just to illustrate how generalization can help.
Keywords and The Employer’s Requirements
Typical resumes do not fully utilize the keywords recruiters are using. For example, key skills usually require the use of various forms of software, training, and certifications. A controls engineer should definitely list the software he or she is familiar with, just like a Safety Manager should list OSHA training and certifications. A recruiter is going to highlight key skills required by the employer and mainly search for those skills or certifications, which become the keywords for Joe Recruiter’s search. In some cases, one particular key phrase may be so important and uncommon, that it is the only phrase used in the search.
Most resume databases provide a space for keywords to be directly entered, while others use their own software to detect keywords. (Some databases create their own keyword lists from skills you select in a table.) This section is not to be underestimated. (Since it is most likely the only part that is actually scanned by the resume databases software.)
The best advice we can give you is to enter your major skills, software you are familiar with, and certifications in the keywords field. You really should additionally consider relisting all of your major skillsets in 2 to 3 word phrases as keywords also.
Recent Resume Post Date and Making Updates
This trick may sound simple, but it is well worth the effort. Login often (about once a day) and make an edit to your resume, then save. Add a space or a period, save, then take it away the next time you update. What you are trying to accomplish here is having a resume with a very recent post date. When Joe Recruiter does a search, he can sort the resumes by how long ago the resume was updated. Recruiters do this because oftentimes, a candidate whose resume hasn’t been updated for a while has most likely already found a job. Recruiters do not like to waste time by calling a candidate, who is already employed. Keep this in mind as well as the fact that your resume could come up as number one in the listings just because you added a space at the end of your resume and hit save.
Now it’s time for you to get a feel for what the recruiter sees. Monster has a “Power Resume Search Test Drive” that can really help you get a feel for what Joe Recruiter sees and how the results can be sorted. (Its free and give you results with no names and you cannot view the resume, but you can get information about what is currently posted in your job market.) Try It Out
Additionally, if you want to be sneaky, you can try to search for yourself using the criteria and keyword suggestions that come up when you type. You won’t see your name, but you will see the years of experience, when the resume was last updated, City, State, and Degree/ Education Level. (You should be able to tell which one is you.) Remember how you found yourself and pay attention to how you found your competition. Just try to think like a recruiter… What would you type in to find your resume?
If you typed in a keyword that was not on your resume, in order to find your competition, then you better put that keyword on your resume. Put yourself in the shoes of Joe Recruiter and use common sense to accomplish what he is trying to do. Take notes on everything you enter, in order to find a candidate for the job you want and make sure that your resume can be easily found using that criteria. Finally, try finding candidates for your desired job using other keywords and different criteria if possible. Make sure that you use everything you noted in your own resume.
Additional Tip: Multiple Resumes
Depending upon the resume database, you may be able to enter multiple resume profiles as well as multiple resumes. If the service does not provide this option, just sign up with multiple email addresses and enter your various resumes into the database. (Keep track of all login information) This will enable you to have multiple resumes in the same database.
Multiple resumes can help you, when you are open to multiple options. For example, you can have resumes targeting “Sales Manager” and “Sales Director” at the same time. One may be the next level down, but you may have already been a Sales Manager at one time and are well qualified for it as well.
Very Important: Make the Time… Anytime.
Don’t tell a recruiter to call back later. Joe Recruiter has a list of 10 to 20 candidates and as soon as he has his 3, he’s done. Remember that he is in competition with other recruiters, who also want to get paid for placing a candidate in the very same position he is trying to fill.
If you’re at the checkout, too bad. Step out of line or just talk as you are wrapping up. Using the bathroom, too bad. Be quiet as you finish your business and try to maintain focus on the phone interview.
Remember, the phone interview will be all a recruiter has to reference when he is compiling his candidates to turn into the employer. Joe Recruiter wants to make sure he is picking people, who will definitely get the position, so he can get paid for placing them. Recruiters are taking a chance with you when they turn in your resume for the position, because the actual employer will still have to interview you and hire you on, before the recruiter gets compensated.
It’s you versus the resume database. You’re most likely going to be found via a resume database such as Monster, Beyond, etc. so you had better try to make your resume easy to find. (We have a list of Resume Directories on our home page.) We have pretty much pulled out all of the stops here and probably dumped a lot of information on you all at once. We’re just telling you what we would do if we were searching for employment.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting,