Two Different Formats for Resumes

As regular readers of my career blog posts already know, I am a big believer in using connections as the primary job searching vehicle. Too many people looking for work feel that if they are submitting several resumes a day to job openings they are covering their bases. That’s simply wrong.

“Blind” submissions of resumes (i.e. submissions in cases where there is no personal connection to the organization) are extremely unlikely to be even acknowledged, much less result in an interview. Much, much more effective is the resume that is presented by someone who is in a position to advance your case to the person or people who will be making the hiring decision.

The resume you want to give to that “someone” is the kind of resume I’ve previously blogged about.

Personal Connections vs. Online Application

If, however, you choose to submit a resume to an online job posting there are a few differences from the resume format I’ve been championing. These differences relate to the way in which most resumes are screened today: by computer.

First of all, the resume can be significantly longer. You want to be able to reflect in your resume as many of the key words (i.e. the words that are used to define the position’s responsibilities and the necessary qualifications) as possible. A longer resume gives you more space in which to do this.

Second, in addition to using those key words throughout the resume, it is valuable to list them in one place. This can be done in one of two ways: either under a title “Core Competencies” or at the bottom of the first page in four point type, in this format:

keywords: leadership, team building, fluency in Spanish, analysis, policy, research….etc.
Third, it is important to place the title of the job you are applying for at the top of the resume, right under your header.
One last point on “blind” submissions: if you are missing even one of the listed job requirements don’t bother applying unless the job is likely to be so specialized that very few people will fit the qualifications. In general, job openings posted online generate hundreds, and often thousands of submissions. Although you may be confident that the fundraising you did for a two hundred thousand dollar organization makes you eminently qualified to raise money for a two million dollar organization, if the job specifies that you need to have raised money for a seven figure organization you won’t be considered. Lacking merely a “preferred” quality (e.g. “moderate fluency in Spanish preferred) is most likely to knock you out of contention as well.
This may seem unfair and narrow-minded, but for the vast majority of posted jobs the employer can afford to be picky and hold out for the exact collection of qualities specified. All the more reason to use connections to land an interview!