By Morgan Manock
I’m a new recruiter. Tier 1, bottom of the barrel, the new kid on the block. I never knew this would become my career calling until I was introduced to the recruiting team at Planet Interactive. Recruiters have the chance to play a meaningful role in someone’s career – we don’t just share your resume with our clients or coordinate interviews. We find out what makes you tick and what your real goals are – and then, we’re able to give counsel and advice based on our experience and insights from doing this day in and out. What most people don’t realize is not all recruiters are out to solely make money for themselves. Most of us actually care about you – our candidates. Our main objective here at Planet Interactive is to enable you to make the best decision possible when it comes to your career.
Here are some things I’ve learned in my first year as a recruiter.
1) I will never force a job onto a candidate. If what I am describing to you over the phone doesn’t seem like the direction you’d like to move forward with, that’s ok! It doesn’t do either side any good to reluctantly present your resume to a client when in the back of your mind you already know you wouldn’t accept the job if an offer came through. It’s fine to simply tell the recruiter thanks but no thanks and explain what you’re truly looking for to make a move.
2) In the same token, sometimes the recruiter knows better than you. Arrogance aside, we would only call someone about an opportunity if we felt like their skills were a good match. Not everything about an opportunity is laid out in the job description. Based on our calls with the client and hearing first-hand what they are looking for, we usually have a better understanding of the responsibilities, team structure, and career trajectory that you just don’t find on the job boards. Trust us when we say we wouldn’t be calling unless we felt you could make an impact in this next role.
3) Salary is not everything when it comes to finding a new job. Yes it is a large component, everyone needs to pay their bills and put food on the table, but sometimes you have to think big picture. Is this a step up as far as company is concerned? Is there more room to grow within the business than at your last position? Would you expand your skills while also adding value based on what you already know? These are questions everyone should ask themselves first before immediately declining an opportunity based on monetary issues. Don’t forget to factor in the overall benefits package that can add to your paycheck overall. More vacation days and a larger coverage cost on health insurance can put money straight into your pocket without adding any extra hours to your day.
4) The timeline for setting up interviews and receiving offers is unpredictable. Some companies are immediate with feedback while others sit on resumes for weeks. We can usually pick up on patterns if clients are more often than not faster than others, but, truthfully, each job is different. Recruiters never intentionally withhold information from a candidate. If we haven’t reached out with feedback in a week or two its 99.9% due to the client not providing any. We are just as anxious as you are in keeping the process moving and sometimes it’s unfortunately just a waiting game. Feel free to check in (as we should be doing regardless) but we usually know just as much as you do…nada.
5) Interviews are not the end all be all of why you did or did not get the job. So many candidates have wonderful interviews and still don’t receive an offer. There are plenty of factors that play into who the company hires that are simply not in anyone’s control. Whether it’s promoting from within, cancelling the job, somebody’s Uncle recommended someone last minute, the list goes on. Trust who you are and what you’d bring to the table. There are always new opportunities on the horizon and it’s our job to find you the perfect fit.
As a recruiter, I look at hundreds of resume each week. And having graduated with a degree in journalism, I love editing resumes, ensuring they really sing when hiring managers review them. Below are some suggestions to help you land that interview with your dream company.
Customization: One of the best pieces of advice is to tailor your resume to align with job you want, while keeping in mind that formatting, organization and readability are important as well. Take a long look at the job description for the role you have in mind. What key words and ideas jump out at you? What have you accomplished in your career that makes you an awesome fit for the position? Do you have the software/technical skills reflected in your resume that are required? Your resume should reflect all of these things.
The closer your resume matches up with the job description, the more compelling it will be for a Recruiter or Hiring Manager to follow up with you. It may be easy to assume that having a certain job title means you have a specific kind of experience, but you need to spell things out for someone like a recruiter who is quickly scanning for key words that jump out.
Length: Typically, you’re better off sticking to one page if you have less than five years of experience, and expand into two+ pages if you’re more seasoned.
Things to Leave Off:
Header: Your name, email address, phone number, city, state and zip code should be clearly listed at the top of the page. No need to share your street address.
Summary: A well-written Summary sets the stage for the rest of your resume. It’s a much stronger opener than an Objective statement. Five to seven sentences are ideal. Speak to your years of experience, area of specialization, and industries in which you’ve worked. Do you have an advanced degree? Do you have staff management experience? Are you a strong project manager? Have you worked for a big name company or client? What are your technical or software skills? Look at that job description again. What can you call attention to on a high-level to matches the things that the description calls for?
Tools/Skills: After your summary, make a quick list of the programs and skills you have in your toolkit – leading with those called for in the job description. Whether you’re a marketing analyst well-versed in Adobe Analytics, SQL, Excel and VBA or a designer skilled at using Adobe Creative Cloud and Sketch and Axure, call attention to your familiarity with the required and nice-to-have tools.
Education: If you are very early in your career (less than three years out of school), you might consider floating your Education as the first item on your resume. If not, the Education section should be toward the end. Include the name of your school, the degree earned, and your graduation date.