FAQ: Can you look at my resume and tell me what I should do? or I am not getting any responses from my resume can you help?
As a former self-proclaimed rockstar of the CFO recruiting world, having generated millions in fees from successful placements, I have seen tons of resumes. The secret was to sort into A, B, & C piles , cherry pick the ‘A list’ that would make my client smile, place the top candidate and then win “KimForce” and a friend a fancy producers award incentive trip to somewhere in South America! With a postcard of my award destination on my desk, I sorted as follows.
A= Looks like a great match! The top 3 in this pile with the best accomplishments will get an immediate call back and interview with me.
B= Could be a match, but doesn’t have exactly what the hiring manager is looking for… or at least I can’t tell &/or would have to modify or re-arrange the resume to explain the choice. Most likely I will see if they might possibly be a fit for something else in the future, or keep them in a “Plan B” type folder.
C = Unqualified for this position and unlike any person we ever place or… clearly has discrepancies on the face of the resume documents… or very unrealistic salary expectations. Really doesn’t get the concept of job search, how to get hired, or how to enter current the job market.
The main trick to getting on the A list and a ’call back’ is easy. And this was true even before we searched electronically… back when resumes were ‘faxed’!! If you are still faxing that was one tip already!
Here are 10 Quick Tips (from the recruiter’s desk).
TIP 1: Key Words! Look at the key requirements and put those (word for word, spelling for spelling) right at the top in your resume. It seems so obvious! But no recruiter wants to look for it. If you are an MBA & CPA put that at the top! If the ad asks for Certified Public Accountant and Masters in Business Administration, then spell it out somewhere in the body of your resume too. Key Words are the ‘main trick’. Spend your time on these!
TIP 2: Have a related accomplishment, for each key word & key job requirement, that jumps out of your resume for the reader. This may bump you into the Top 3! Use similar language to what the recruiter is asking for… if they want “outstanding financial analyst” use that exact phrase somewhere if it fits, it sounds silly but it helps. Also, ’Numbers people’ appreciate numbers ~ so know your numbers!!
TIP 3: The recruiter wants to be able to brag about you… Your accomplishments should be easy to repeat (and support in an interview process if necessary). Example: If the Hiring Manager seeks a qualified CFO capable of taking the client from 4 million to 8 million in revenue: The recruiter should be able to fashion a ‘voicemail length’ statement from your resume & cover letter opening lines like… ”Kim is an MBA and CPA and her CFO experience includes helping a business at $1o million in revenue grow by 100% in less than a year”. Notice how I used specifics and numbers?
TIP 4: For permanent placement, be very specific about timelines and for each jump, supply a reason why you left, and for each gap you have, provide an explanation (had a child, cared for a sick family member, got married, moved). If you had a gap, face it, don’t hide it.
TIP 5: For Contract or Contract to Hire placement, Cut & Paste your related ‘blurb’ of expereince at the top portion of your resume, then list other skills in terms of how many years or months related experience you have. When you did it is not always as important as giving the recruiter some “meat” to cling to (and to brag about later).
TIP 6: All designations should be directly behind your name with commas at the top right portion of your resume. It sounds goofy but it saves the recruiter time when trying to do a quick “sort”.
TIP 7: If your education (or continuing education) is recent,put it on the first page. If not, it is ok to put it on the second page. (2 pages only please). I don’t know why but my clients tend to rank qualified candidates in order of preference from youngest to oldest all other factors being equal, so you may want to wow them with content first, then let them do the math on your age when they see on the 2nd page when you graduated. Maybe they think older and more experiencedmeans they will cost more in salaries & benefits?? I don’t know & never asked… there’s just too much liability in that kind of curiousity.
TIP 8: Use Bullet Points Wisely: At the very least, revise or rearrange bullet points ‘to the top’, to match exactly what the ad is requesting.
TIP 9: Be realistic! At most you will make 10% more than your highest salary! Be open minded - its a compensation “package” and your recruiter can help you negotiate a win/win with other ’bennies’ to fill in any gaps!
TIP 10: The Cover letter. If a recruiter is handling the search for a client you do not need a cover letter. It may actually hurt your chances to be considered for something else in the future. Spend your time on TIPS 1-9!
I hope you found this helpful. I have posted a Free Sample Resume (actually its my own resume) on the Home page of my website so you have something to help you visualize your own in a new format.
All the Best!
Kim Miler, CPA www.KimMillerCPA.com Melbourne FL area