I’d like to offer you some counterintuitive advice: don’t spend too much time worrying or stressing out over your résumé. Yes, I know everyone else tells you to spend an inordinate amount of time writing, rewriting, correcting, asking people to proofread it and offer their comments and advice to absolutely seek out a professional résumé writer. They’re all wrong and misleading you. I’ll make this part of your job search really easy.
First, allow me to offer a little background. There has been a continuous trend leading up to a confluence of factors, which results in your résumé either being reviewed by artificial intelligence technology or junior-level human resources screeners who will skim-read it.
With the rapid ascension of LinkedIn, aggregation job boards (such as Indeed.com, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter) and the proliferation of job boards, job listings are ubiquitous. In addition to the job sites, companies are bombarded by résumés from external recruiters, internal employee referrals and responses from their own job boards. Add the fact that everybody literally carries their smartphone with them at all times, it becomes incredibly easy to find a job posting and email your résumé in response. Companies are now completely overwhelmed by a high volume of résumés.
The recruiting departments at many large corporations have undergone seismic shifts. The senior-level, experienced human resources professional has been displaced by either a junior person juggling dozens of simultaneous searches, third-party recruiters that don’t directly work for the company—but are contracted out to help for temporary time periods—and cold, impersonal résumé software database portals.
A hiring manager is too busy doing their own job, supervising their team and doing the work of the person who left the company that created the job opening, to carefully and thoroughly read and analyze your résumé.
We are in a plug-and-play job market where companies desire candidates possessing the exact skill sets and experience that precisely match the job requirements. Firms demand someone who is already doing the exact same job at a competing firm and they must be able to hit the ground running. It’s even more challenging if the company has 12 requirements for the job; they want you to possess 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14 of those skills. If the background is not a near-perfect match, the résumé screener casts it aside and the robotic algorithms spit out a rejection letter.
You have a toxic combination of a tidal wave of résumés flowing into a company with an overworked human resources staff, hiring managers that are spread too thin and exceedingly high expectations about the candidate’s background.