Meet your recruiting expert for the second installment of “Resume Right: 5 Q’s With a Recruiter.” These are the same questions asked in 5 Qs with Katie, so you can compare perspectives.
Kristin Kalscheur is based in Portland, Ore., and is a Sourcing Strategist for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE), a global, integrated communications agency. For the past 25 years, the independently owned firm has developed strategic communications programs for innovative and world-changing clients, working to influence markets, inspire people and improve lives. WE offers six global practices: Corporate Communications, Consumer Marketing, Environment, Healthcare, Public Affairs and Technology.
How does a recruiter’s resume evaluation differ from a hiring manager’s evaluation?
Recruiters are trained to skim a resume looking for immediate keyword relevancy since they are generally dealing with higher volume, whereas hiring managers are more likely to peruse every little detail. When the resumes arrive in the hiring manager’s hands, the recruiter has already vetted the candidates, so the hiring manager has a much smaller and more targeted pile to review. I personally separate resumes into yes, no and maybe categories, call the yeses immediately, save the maybes for talent adjacency/non-traditional hiring opportunities, and immediately decline the nos. Make sure your resume is keyword optimized so that the recruiter doesn’t overlook you when he/she is scanning for job fit indicators.
What is the most common resume mistake you see?
Candidates will often fall into the pattern of listing job duties rather than accomplishments. It is okay to briefly include the day-to-day job responsibilities (especially if your role is very specific or uncommon), but it is much more important to demonstrate how you made a business impact at each company. How much money did you save? How did you increase efficiency? What awards did you receive? What new business did you win?
One piece of resume advice you wish job seekers would follow?
Keep it succinct by using active voice and strong verbs. For example: “Devised and executed employee retention strategy” rather than “Responsibilities included the devising and execution of employee retention strategy.” And don’t be redundant! I couldn’t help adding that last bit…
Your take on this debate: should a resume ever be longer than one page?
If you have been a working professional for over five years, it is fine to have a resume longer than a page. If anything, one of my pet peeves is when people are so focused on keeping it to a page that they are cramming too much information together and making it impossible to read without a magnifying glass. If you need to manipulate your margins, fonts and leading to get it all on there, please just go to the next page and save me from needing reading glasses before my time!
Does anyone read cover letters any more?
I read cover letters, and I do feel they are still relevant. However, I prefer to see the cover letter in the body of the email to draw an immediate match to the job, with the resume attached for further detail. Though cover letters can draw a parallel, it is crucial that you tailor your resume to the specific opportunity because I know for a fact that there are many recruiters out there who do not read the cover letter.