Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Good Old Fashioned Paper Resume vs. Linkedin

Even though the good old fashioned paper resume may seem like it is outdated and has its place back in the dark ages, be advised that you should not count on LinkedIn exclusively to tell your story. Linkedin has not replaced the paper resume. A great resume should be the catalyst that tells your story and sells you and your ‘skill sets’. That is not to say you should not refer someone to your LinkedIn profile. The point being, it is prudent to have the good old fashioned resume on hand to be sent to a prospective employer. 

For example: if you are an Engineer, you can submit your resume for a position and in a cover letter refer them to your LinkedIn profile so they can see examples of your work, drawing designs, etc.  Even as technology has advanced, the resume remains an integral part of the hiring process. The key to remember is a less than stellar resume can also work against you. To keep that from happening, we have a few tips to side step any mistakes a candidate might make. You’ve probably heard them before but we think they bear repeating because in our experience, these mistakes keep repeating themselves.

1. Making grammatical errors and typos
According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, almost 60 percent of employers identified resumes with misspellings as one of the top mistakes that led them to automatically deep six a candidate’s resume. Spell check is not always reliable either. It is critical to check and recheck spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is easy to transpose letters and to overuse or misuse punctuation (especially commas). We can’t all have an English Professor at our disposal but it is important to have someone you can trust to review your resume after you've reviewed it numerous times yourself. It may sound silly but it can even be helpful to read your resume out loud to yourself to see if you pick up on anything that doesn’t sound quite right. You can also set your resume down for a day or two and return to see if it reads exactly as you want it to. 

2. Submitting incorrect information
It may appear to be obvious, but getting the details wrong or not clarifying the details can get your resume tossed into the reject pile fast. When you put an incorrect phone number down or are inaccurate with your job titles or dates of employment, it makes your resume look less than credible. If you say you're detail-oriented, and incorrect information is on your resume, it can reflect negatively on you. Make sure your references still have the same phone (cell) numbers and email addresses. It also may be wise contact them to alert them that they may receive a call from a potential employer to make sure their information is still accurate. A wrong number can be called by a prospective employer and a job title can be verified with a former employer. Make sure they are accurate and your references can be reached. Also make sure your title, etc., is the same as your previous employer says it was.  

3. Don’t give everyone the same resume
Remember that your resume should not be generic. You should tailor your resume to the position’s job description, to market your ‘skill sets’. No two positions are alike. Make sure your resume reflects the position you are seeking. In a CareerBuilder's survey approximately 40 percent of employers identified resumes that are too generic as one of the mistakes that may lead them to automatically place a candidate’s resume in file thirteen. For example, if you have a Commercial and Residential Modular background but the position is for a Residential Modular candidate, make sure you emphasize your Residential Modular background. This form of personalized resume is focused to the needs of the client. If the job description says the position requires P&L experience, integrate this language into your resume using real examples of your P&L background and the results you achieved.

4. Be careful with formatting and style
Formatting is important. If you're going to use bullets, they should be the same size and shape in each section and align from page to page. Also, make sure your resume style progresses with you. In some cases you may want to remove those early jobs that aren’t relevant to the Modular or Manufactured Housing Industry.

Although we personally feel being a ‘seasoned’ candidate is a plus, another area that can work against a candidate is dates. It is enough to know that you graduated from college. It is not mandatory that you put down the dates you graduated that may place you back in the ‘Disco era’. For most of us, living through that era was embarrassing enough!

Be creative in your language within your resume and show your ‘sizzle’. By that we mean, if you have some really great achievements or accomplishments, let them shine. This is one area where you should not be afraid to show off. Show them what you’ve got, because you only get one shot!  Don’t be vague because the prospective employer doesn’t know what you've actually accomplished. Employers like to see as much information as possible up front. If you saved your previous employer money, put down the actual dollar figure. If you were number one in the company in Sales, tell them the kind of producer you are in a dollar amount. It is not a good idea to give a generality that cannot be verified.

5. Omitting exact dates
If you omit the exact dates of employment, it can raise red flags with the prospective employer and makes it look like the candidate may be trying to cover something up. However, if you've got gaps in your resume, it is usually understood with the economy and the way the industry has been. Be up front about it and address the ‘gap’ issue in a cover letter. In a CareerBuilder's survey, approximately 30 percent of employers identified resumes that don't include exact dates of employment as one of the most common resume mistakes that may lead them to automatically pitch a candidate’s resume.

While it might be easier for a candidate to just refer a potential employers or Recruiter to their Linkedin page instead of sending a paper resume, be advised that this isn’t necessarily the best way to go. It’s better than nothing but not nearly as good as the old fashioned paper resume. Or you can use them in tandem; sending your resume to them and referring them to your Linkedin page. Hopefully doing this and incorporating the tips above will help you land the ideal job you are hoping for.

Cathy L. Sage is President of Robert Sage Careers, LLC; an Executive Search Firm and Job Board Publisher who specializes in the Factory-Built Structures Industries. Cathy can be reached at sales@robertsagecareers.com or call 727.504.5350. Cindy Newberry is RSC’s Commercial Division Manager. Cindy can be reached at cindyknewberry@tampbay.rr.com or 863.662. 4185. For more information about the company and to visit the Job Board, access http://www.robertsagecareers.com.          

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