Attn: job seekers – resume tips directly from HR

Many of you do not know that I work full-time in healthcare in the human resources department.

Recently I’ve been taking over recruiting, and the screening of applicants – which means resumes.  Lots of resumes.  Resumes for days.

I couldn’t help myself but make some notes that from my perspective what would increase your chances of getting looked at by a recruiter and or hiring manager.

Picture from Google Images

Picture from Google Images

Put your name and contact information on your resume.  I honestly can’t believe how many I have seen come through that don’t have either.  If your work history looks good, I want to forward you to the hiring manager.  But I shouldn’t have to take the time to research your name and contact information to include onto your document.  If you want the job, make sure it is on there so you can realistically be considered.
  • Don’t use anything larger than a size 12 font.  Human Resources is not kindergarten.  I do not need to see any of your information in size 24 font.  It makes me question not only how desperate you are, but how focused you are on attention to detail.  No one wants to be scared off by something that big when they open a document.
  • I will judge you based on your choice of font.  Anything that looks cartoon-ish or is hard to read, like a cursive, is a really bad idea.  Stick with classics.  Think of it like you’re writing a paper for college.  Your professor wouldn’t accept Comic Sans, and neither do I.
  • Look at the minimum requirements of the position.  Then do not proceed applying for the job if you don’t meet those minimum requirements.  We send a courtesy email but it is generic, that basically says “thanks, but no thanks” if that happens.  I would also suggest never responding to that email and asking why you didn’t get the job.  It is pretty self-explanatory if you just READ about the job you’re applying for… example: a position is posted for a nurse.  You are not a nurse.  Do.not.apply.
  • Highlight work history and or education that is relevant.  Let’s say you’re applying for a job as a secretary, but your work history shows a majority of warehouse experience.  Note in the work history description for those jobs if you ever handled secretarial duties.  Don’t just put the title, make sure you say that you “answered phones, redirected calls, took meetings notes, etc.” It is tedious reviewing everyone’s resumes, we get several hundred a day, but we do it to find the people who are best suited for the job.
  • Don’t lie.  If we want to hire you, we will find out.  Between references and background checks it is simple to decipher someone who has fibbed on their education, work history, and evening your earnings.  Once you sign that paperwork releasing your information to us during the on-boarding process, it’s all out in the open.  So it is in your best interest to be transparent (truthful.)
  • Don’t apply for the same job more than once.  Don’t think you can trick the system or the people.  I get it, it’s tough out there, but I remember your name… and you didn’t get the job the first time or haven’t received a phone call from us for a reason.
  • Don’t save your resume as something general.  Save the file name with your actual name so it is easy to find.  Once I found one saved as, “the_best_resume_ever” ironically, it was one of the worst.  Don’t embarrass yourself, or try to be silly.  Be professional.
  • Cover letters do help.  But don’t let them hurt you, because they can do that too.  If you’re using a generic template make sure you change the name of the position and organization you’re applying for.  It is hard to overlook when I see a cover letter for XXX hospital, when that is not the hospital I’m hiring for!  Include the title of the position you’re applying for and a few sentences as to why you’re the best candidate for the job.
  • Follow-up with caution.  We live in a world of technology now.  Typically in the organization for which I work, you’re only going to receive a phone call unless you’re selected for the interview.  We email every applicant with that information.  So if you call twenty times hoping you’re going to get a different answer, realistically, you’re not.  Plus, if you’re rude to HR, it may hurt your chances if you display a poor attitude and or inability to follow direction.  However you may be able to work the system.  If you do your homework you may be able to find the name and contact information for the hiring manager somewhere on the internet.  LinkedIn is actually a great way to network.

Lastly, good luck.  I know it is hard and very competitive out there.  Stay positive and you will end up in the position you were meant for.

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