Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Student Resumes: Who Are You?

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Student Resumes: Who Are You?

Article excerpt

Sixty-eight percent of hiring managers spend less than two minutes reviewing a job candidate's resume. That's not much time for an applicant to make a good impression. Indeed, 17 percent of decision-makers devote a mere 30 seconds--at most--per perusal, according to a recent national survey of some 2,200 employment gatekeepers at companies big and small across industries. Harris Poll conducted the questionnaire late last year for CareerBuilder, which provides human capital solutions.

Even one-half minute seems like an exhaustive background check compared to the infinitesimal six seconds recruiters allocate to a curriculum vitae, found TheLadders, a job-matching service for member professionals. Its 2012 report, "Keeping an Eye on Recruiter Behavior," tracked ocular movement of 30 human resources personnel for 10 weeks and discovered, among other things, that they literally and barely glanced at a resume to determine "fit" or "no fit" for the post.

Since officials give aspirants little more than a look-see, it's crucial that a resume sparkle, especially for entry-level seekers because there usually are many competitors to factor and few real-world assignments to tout. Students scheduled to graduate from the academy after the fall semester need to get started on making their summations shine (as do counterparts slated to earn a degree in the winter or next spring). But how to stand out? Here are three principles to follow.

No. 1: Since attention spans have diminished, encapsulate your credentials.

As the above trends indicate, brevity is the byword in today's fast-paced digital era of social media and smartphones. This abridgement extends to resumes. They once amassed extensive delineations of experience, education, awards, service and the like to such an extent that the compilation sometimes came off as a booklet about why an employer should be interested in the hopeful. Even student resumes, by definition short on credits, went long on explication and padding. Contemporary accounts impart the inverse: succinctly emphasizing strengths that benefit the company. So list your skills in a compressed way tailored to your audience.

No. 2: Be precise in both diction and presentation.

"With so little time to capture interest, even a candidate's word choice can make a difference," declares the March 13 press release from CareerBuilder about its research on the scant scanning of resumes by hiring managers. The firm's vice president of human resources recommends meticulous language to pinpoint desirable attributes. She adds, "Subjective terms and cliches are seen as negative because they don't convey real information." The top-five verbs employers prefer: "achieved" (52 percent of respondents), "improved" (48 percent), "trained/mentored" (47 percent), "managed" (44 percent), and "created" (43 percent). The five phrasings most off-putting: "best of breed" (38 percent), "go-getter" (27 percent), "think outside of the box" (26 percent), "synergy" (22 percent), and "go-to person" (22 percent).

Quantifying your qualities--backing them up with numbers, statistics, percentages, examples --also generates positive buzz. For instance, many college and graduate students try to make the shortlist without any previous exposure to the demands of the opening. These pupils often work at retail stores or in food services during school. One underused strategy is to incorporate into these duties issues employers stress such as increased revenues, decreased expenses, goals reached, and improvements made. …

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