I recently had the opportunity to play HR Manager at my current job. As an assistant to the HR Manager for many years, I was excited to step up and help out my organization while my manager was out on leave for a few months. I couldn’t wait to sift through resumes and see what had changed and what trends had emerged since I was last in the job market. Although I see plenty of resumes in my role, it is usually further along in the hiring process. In the past, I never had time or much reason to read them. Now that I’ve had this rare opportunity to see the entire hiring process from beginning to end, I’ve never been more shocked. Here’s a couple of “trends” I noticed…
1. No address listed. I know we live in a digital world and all, but in my opinion there is still a need for addresses on resumes. Why? So I know where you live! Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think it’s helpful for employers to know your physical location, even if all communication is through phone and email. If an applicant needs to fly in from somewhere or drive a thousand miles to get to an interview, it may be easier for everyone to do a video or phone conference first. If things progress, an address also helps with travel accommodations and scheduling.
2. Vague objectives.
“Objective: To obtain a position where I can utilize my work experience and education to improve the company’s operation.”
NOOOOOoooooo. Ugh, c’mon people! This is so boring. I can tell by reading the very first line in your resume that you took no extra time applying. In my head I’m thinking, “I bet they sent this exact same resume to 100 other places.” It takes two seconds to write a real objective or goal that actually applies to the position you’re applying for, so get specific. Or, leave the objective out altogether and just tell me about yourself and why I should like you if you have a lot of positions to apply to. This is the first thing employers will read so whatever you write, make it good. HR experts, please chime in here and tell me your thoughts on this.
3. No cover letter. I know, cover letters are a pain. They take time. But let me tell you, the people who write one are going to get my attention. I know how long I’ve spent writing them in the past, so I appreciate anyone who takes the time to write me one. This is not to say you won’t get beat out by someone who has better experience and no cover letter, but it definitely ups your chances. In my limited experience, the majority of applicants don’t submit cover letters. Writing one could make all the difference.
4. Stalking. This HR experience was the first time I saw the full picture from the employer’s perspective. It was also amidst an era of social media. A little following up is always a good thing but don’t cross that line. The line will be different with every employer. As an applicant, it is your job to figure it out and stay on your side. Once you cross it, there is almost no going back. One recommendation I will make is to contact only one person, two at the very most if you don’t hear anything at all. Don’t email me, call two other people and connect with someone else on LinkedIn within 24 hours of an interview. I hate to break it to ya, but employees talk to each other and sooner or later we’ll realize you’ve contacted all of us multiple times and that’s just crazy. If you decide to engage via social media, don’t choose them all! Just pick one medium and one person and be patient.
Ok HR experts, what are your thoughts? What resume trends have you seen emerge over the last few years?