Image: Adobe Stock Post Contributed by: Miguel Navid
Writing for the XXI century recruiter
Times are changing and people are reading less. However, this does not mean people are consuming less content, in fact they are consuming more content simply in different formats. The birth of online streaming networks such as Netflix and Hulu have transformed the Saturday afternoon reading session, to a viewing of the favorite TV show. Newspapers have gone online and increasing amounts of people are getting most of their information from social media. This fast-pace and dynamic environment also extends to how recruiters consume CVs and LinkedIn profiles.
So what can you do to keep them interested in your job candidature?
2 words: write tight
Understanding the basics of CV reading might be a good place to start to understand what I mean. I like comparing it to a Mario Brothers game encompassed by a duel with Bowser Jr. and another with Bowser to win the game.
First, recruiters use what is called an Applicant Tracking system or ATS to shortlist and filter resumes (our Bowser Jr.). More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies and around 65% of large corporations use this software, which ranks CVs according to keywords related to the job description. Therefore, it is essential to keep your information concise and on-target to get the greatest rating possible and pass this first screening phase, as JobScan explains in the image below.
Second, recruiters skim through the shortlisted CVs giving an average of 6 seconds per candidate. Talent hunters live in the same world that you and I live in. That means that they consume social media and online video streaming, media in which key information leaps off the screen. Herein lies the importance of writing tight, the key element to defeat our second duel, Bowser.
Writing tight implies a series of formatting and content decision in order to express the same idea in a more concise way. So for example, let’s take the content itself. Which of the following sentences is clearer?
Clearly number 2 is much “tighter.” Some good rules of thumb are: be concise, develop short paragraphs and avoid jargon or pompous language. CVs are not the space to include suspense or long explanations. They are a tailored snapshot of your accomplishments in your professional setting.
According to the Resume Writing Academy, here is how to make the most out of writing tight:
- Lead with the WIN – Recruiters want to read what you have accomplished first, there is no time for suspense and long explanations.
- Eliminate unnecessary adjectives – Though they add information and more color to your text, adjectives can muddle your message. It is important to know when to use them, for the less you use, the more the remaining words stand out.
- Cut articles – A, an, the. Though in other types of media and writing this would be unacceptable, resumes abbreviate information and therefore have different “rules” than other kinds of writing.
- Avoid clichés and wordy phrases. Here is the RWA’s guide to “translate” those phrases:
- Due to the fact that = because.
- In order to = to.
- As to whether = whether.
- A considerable amount of = considerable.
- In a hasty manner = hastily.
- Have a preference for = prefer.
- Depending upon = depending on.
- Be consistent throughout the CV both in terms of formatting sentences and headlines.
Putting in the extra effort to trim your resume and LinkedIn profile are key to passing the screening phase, and if you have passed a Mario Brothers game before, writing tight and getting your interview should be no challenge.