Free Resume Training – Section III

What’s in This Section

  • Where Does Your Resume Go?
  • 10-Second Scan
  • 30-Second Scan
  • Hidden Agenda
Overview of Section III

You might not know this, but your resume, at least a typical resume goes through several hands through various phases of its life. What we’re going to talk about in this section are those different phases and what it actually goes through. So where does your resume go? We’re going to look at what the possibilities are.

We’re going to look at the 10-second scan, the 30-second scan, and the potential hidden agenda. All the things that your resume has to overcome.


Where Does Your Resume Go?

First up, where does your resume go? Lots of resumes are sent out every year, right? To a whole bunch of companies, but only a very few of them actually make it to the interview stage. In fact, like I said before, usually about 1,100 job resumes get sent in for one job. Now what if you were a recruiter and you had to fill one job? You’ve got 1,100 resumes to deal with, right?

Well, what if you had 50 positions to fill? Now it gets pretty serious, right? So for that reason, one of the first things that happens with most resumes is electronic screening.

With electronic screening, basically your resume is scanned, it’s OCR’ed, where they go in and they try to detect the fonts and characters and decide what kind of words are on there and then it’s looked at for just layout, and checked to see if it has the content that they think would be pertinent.

So your resume can get eliminated in that electronic scan phase. But most resumes are going to make it through that part.


Now recruiters are kind of like a funnel. In a recruiter situation a company has decided that they don’t want the hassle of actually having to go through the resumes and find somebody who matches up.

Recruiters actually have a database of thousands of resumes and they pretty much want anybody to send in a resume because there’s always a possibility that they could match that resume up with a company. Whatever they happen to be looking for. So recruiters don’t really care about you individually.

They care about having a huge database of potential job applicants so that they can more accurately match up exactly what the hiring company is looking for. For example, the hiring company might say we want somebody with this particular skill set.

We don’t necessarily care if they’ve got a good work history because we don’t really need to keep them around. We might not keep them around. We just want somebody that knows how to do this and we can put them on the job and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just let them go.

Recruiters actually want all kinds of resumes just so that they’re able to fill the multiplicity of different positions that come to them.

Human Resources Staff

Now HR staff are other people that might be doing the job of a recruiter too. They might be receiving resumes, they might even be taking care of some of the interviewing. They could do a lot of stuff, the problem is HR people have a lot of jobs.

HR staff have got to fire people, they’ve got to investigate complaints within the company, deal with staffing and a bunch of other stuff. Since HR people deal so much with people and a lot of negativity, they are inherently negative themselves. So when dealing with you, they’re going to be kind of apprehensive. They’re going to be suspicious, even like, what trouble is this person going to be causing me?

Because ultimately the fact is, if you come in there and you’ve got social issues, you’re going to cause them problems. Whether they are the first person to receive your resume and look it over or the last, if your resume floats around in the company, it’s going to eventually land on someone’s desk in HR. Because they are ultimately the people that deal with a lot of this stuff.

Most big companies want somebody in HR to check it out and scrutinize it, find out what this person is hiding? Again, they deal with a whole lot of people.

Receptionists and Adminstrative Assistants

One thing that you have to be aware of, is the potential that your resume could end up in the hands of the receptionist or administrative assistant.

Now, not that these are bad people or there’s anything wrong with them. It’s just a fact that most receptionists don’t know very much about the different jobs that we could be applying for, they don’t know a lot of details. They don’t know key words, they don’t know industry specifics. They don’t know a lot of stuff that’s really not their job to know or expected to know.

But the sad thing is a lot of times, they are the person who receives that application or the resume. So for example, you go online, you find a company, it says, would you like to submit a resume and you do that online.

A lot of times it gets forwarded to a receptionist or an administrative assistant. What they’re going to do is actually look at it and based on what it looks like, maybe check for some key words, then they’re going to make a decision whether or not to forward that.

Potential Supervisors

Your potential supervisor could very easily end up with your resume. A lot of times they will. So what we’re talking about here is the different hands that could grab hold of your resume while it’s going through the company before you actually get to the phase where any kind of decisions are made as far as actually interviewing you.

Hiring Managers

Hiring manager, the one who is actually going to do the hiring, it’s very possible that they will get to check out your resume before an interview is conducted. All of these people could be one person. And what I mean by that is some smaller companies, even some medium sized companies might bundle some of these jobs together.

So somebody in HR, they might do the hiring, they might do the interviewing, they might do everything. In fact, I was hired to a job which was a fairly medium sized company, it was by no means a small company and the HR person there did all of this, so that is a real possibility.

A lot of times there will be different people, especially with larger companies, but it is possible that one person will do everything.


The 10-Second Scan

The 10-second scan, this is one of the most critical things. You’re not going to believe this because remember, I was talking about the receptionist. Well, a lot of times that receptionist is the first person to see your resume or maybe an administrative assistant.

So the thing is here, they’re going to base their decision on whether or not to pass your resume along or to go ahead and trash it, right? Or as they would say, put it in the file.

Well, they’re going to base that on aesthetics, the way that it looks and possibly they’ll look for some key words, that’s about it. So you have ten to fifteen seconds to make your impact, let me tell you how you do that on the resume itself.

You would think people start at the top and they just read the whole thing, right? Nope, not right. If you went down to the bottom of the top third, that is where their eyes focus and they start reading.

If you want to make your impact, you have to do it right there because you’ve only got about ten, fifteen seconds of them looking at your page before they make a decision to either go on and look in more detail or go ahead and pitch it. That’s it, ten seconds to make your sales pitch.

What you want to do is list specific qualifications and phrases that would be easily recognizable. The problem is, let’s say that you were applying for a position that’s very technical, and in that being technical, there are some skills that you definitely have to have in order to do that job.

So you have got experience doing that very thing and in the past you’ve got excellent examples of accomplishing the goal. If though you put on there that last year you were able to accomplish doing whatever, say setting up a new website or something like that.

However you do not list the programming languages that you had to know in order to accomplish that goal to the receptionist who has no clue about your job, your resume’s going to seem irrelevant.

To somebody who would be your hiring manager, they might know that in order for you to do that job, you had to know x, y, z, or whatever. However it hasn’t made it that far yet. It’s only in the hands of a receptionist who has been told to look for certain qualifications before passing that resume on.

The reason is, they want to interview just a few people, not the whole 1,100 that are applying for that position. So this receptionist or this administrative assistant is looking for some specific things that show that you are qualified for that job.

So you have to make sure that in that location, you’re going to hit directly what it is that they’re hiring for and show with any necessary key words or phrases that would make an impact and show that you are capable of doing that.

If you do pass the 10-second scan, that means that they have looked at the page and they have decided, this is someone that I find interesting, I need to look into it further. Then you’re going to get the 30-second scan.


The 30-Second Scan

The 30-second scan may or may not be done by the same person. If it’s done by the same person, they’ll have just decided to go ahead and give you some more time and they’ll look into it a little bit more. Or that initial person will say, OK, this merits some further investigation and they will pass it on to the next person who then will give you the 30-second scan.

This is usually an HR person because this HR person is there to protect the company. Remember what I said about them looking for people that are going to give them a hard time? That’s exactly what they’re doing here. They’re wanting to see if it looks like something on that resume says that you might be somebody difficult to deal with or that you might be somebody that causes some problems.

They might look at some personal information, they might look at your hobbies or maybe they might look at work history. They could look at a whole bunch of different things. HR employees by and large are very skeptical because again, if you get hired there and you’re a bad apple, you can cause them a lot of problems and their job really is to protect the company.

HR is constantly dealing with people. They’re looking for personality, they’re looking for professionalism. They want to make sure that you’re not some yahoo. They’re looking for honesty, integrity, they’re looking for dedication. These things are qualities that as an employer, you want your employees to have, right?

If you were an employer, wouldn’t you want the people that work for you to have these qualities so you didn’t have to worry about if they were ripping you off or that they were doing a poor job or that they were selling secrets to your competitor?

You want to know that this is somebody that you can trust and they’re doing the same thing. That HR person, the person that’s doing the hiring as well, they’re only going to succeed if you actually fit the bill.

So if you pass the 30-second scan, and this is why they’re so skeptical and critical, because if you pass that 30-second scan, you are pretty much a slam dunk for an interview. And that means basically less than one half of one percent of all resumes submitted are going to make it past the 30-second scan.

That’s how serious it is. So by them letting you pass, they have essentially said he’s OK, she’s OK, and they’re kind of putting their necks out on the line. So if you don’t fit the bill and if you are a troublemaker, if you cause problems, that makes them look like an idiot later on. That’s why they’re so careful.


The Hidden Agenda

Ah, the hidden agenda. This is a potential thing that you have to be aware of, there’s really nothing that you can do about it for the most part. There are some things you can be careful with, but for the most part, some of this stuff is just out of your hands. So you have to be aware that it could happen.

If your resume looks threatening, you might not make it. Let me tell you what I mean. Let’s say your resume makes it past the receptionist 10-second scan, it goes to somebody in HR, they give you the 30-second scan and it looks pretty good.

They go ahead and take it right to the hiring manager or your potential supervisor. They’ll take it, they’ll say, here, I think this person is qualified for the job that you are trying to fill.

They look at it and they see a whole bunch of experience and skills that offset their own skills and experience. Looks like you know a whole lot of stuff and you’re probably pretty good. And maybe, you challenge their position, even that could be a bad thing for you. More than likely it will be. They might say, he looks like he’s not going to really be a team player because he looks like he’s Mr. big shot and this and that.

That’s sad because it could hurt you and the company, the company could possibly benefit from what you’re able to do for them. But you’ll never get the opportunity because of that hidden agenda. And again, that’s just something that sometimes happens and nothing you can do really.

This one, stereotyping, this is something that unfortunately is very real and it’s unfair a lot of times, but it does happen. For example, if they recently had an employee that belonged to a certain club or membership or some type of organization and you happen to belong to that same club or organization and you put it on your resume, unconsciously, they’re going to link the two of you.

If they had problems with him, you’re going to be a problem too. Fortunately it works the opposite direction. So you have got a 50-50 chance. If they have somebody who is one of their best employees and they are somehow associated with you, there’s going to be some stereotyping there and it’s going to work in your favor.

They’re going to say, OK, they might not say it out loud, they might not even think, it would just be like a subconscious thing and it’s something that people do. I would even go as far as to say it’s somewhat natural because if you went to one college and somebody else went to that same college, you’re just going think that they’re going to be similar.

If the one is lazy then the other one is probably going to be lazy too and it’s not always true. I know it’s not usually, in fact it’s not, but stereotyping just happens. So you’ve got to deal with it. How can we deal with that? Well, be careful with what you put on your resume.

Only put things that really you think are pertinent. I know there was a lot of talk in the past about putting a lot of hobbies and personal things on your resume, but really, if it’s not relevant don’t list it.

I don’t mind that people put a little bit of stuff on there, but be real careful and selective. Because if that links you to somebody else that they have had issues with in the past, that’s going to be something that you’re going to have to overcome and you might not even be aware of it for a very long time.


Hiring managers want the following things.

They want a truly qualified prospect, somebody that can really do the job. They want someone who’s easy to work with and I’m not talking about, you know, they don’t want to be buddies and go out, hang out with you on the weekends or something. That’s not what we’re talking about, just somebody who’s easy to work with.

Somebody who takes direction, somebody who takes initiative, somebody who does not cause problems with other employees. That’s what they’re looking for and they want someone who’s not going to make them look bad.

If they make that decision to interview you and then they go ahead and make the decision to hire you, for a variety of reasons, you cannot make them look bad. That’s what they’re scared of. That’s what puts a mark on them.

If they hire you and you’re a drunk and you can hardly come into work without being drunk or they hire you and you’re late all the time or they hire you and the products that you’re supervising are constantly sub-standard. You can’t do the job and then that makes them look bad, that’s a mark against them that’s going to stay with them for a long time.

So understand that the person that’s hiring you, they’ve got a lot of things to consider because in making that decision, they’re affecting their own future really in a sense.


Review of Section III

So here’s the hurdles that we need to overcome. Your resume is going to get sent out. It’s got to pass the electronic scan, we want to make sure that it has key words on there so that it does. And we want to make sure that it’s laid out in a very legible fashion, no super fancy fonts. You get a super fancy font on there and it might not get scanned correctly.

Not just graphics but actual text so that the computer can read it. If you have all kinds of wacky fonts, then that’s going to cause the scanner problems. So it’s going to cause you problems because your resume will just get rejected because it’s not scanned correctly, it won’t have enough actual information on it that the computer can read.

The 10-second scan usually going to be done by a receptionist or an administrative assistant or someone like that. This is just a very cursory exam, remember, and it has to hit home. Your resume has to look nice, layout easy to read, no super big long paragraphs, just short sentences, short and sweet to the point.

If you pass that, then it’s going to go on to the 30-second scan where much more digging into it is done to see if there is really something here that could benefit the company. And then if it passes that 30-second scan, it’s pretty much a slam dunk that you’re going to get an interview.

Section I

  • The New Job Market
  • Resumes Are a Teaching Tool
  • Resumes Must Meet the Need
  • Resumes Must Be Truthful

Section II

  • Who Is Your Student?
  • Resume Research

Section III

  • Where Does Your Resume Go?
  • 10-Second Scan
  • 30-Second Scan
  • Hidden Agenda

Section IV

  • You’re a Teacher
  • You’re Not Going to Lie
  • You Have Only a Few Seconds to Make Your Impact
  • Are You Ready to Write?

Section V

  • Contact Info
  • Keywords
  • Accomplishments
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Affiliations
  • Trainings

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