The third edition my best-selling Ladders Resume Guide is currently available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions. I’ve included a brief excerpt below.
This updated version is designed to make your resume writing go smoothly. In about 90 minutes, I provide the basics on how to create a professional two-page resume, share templates to help you do so quickly, and provide specific step-by-step advice on writing bullet points and a professional summary that will make you stand out.
Ladders Resume Guide is based on the millions of $100K+ to $500K professionals we’ve helped over the past 17 years, and the success of their millions of applications with our employers. I provide you with the tools, tactics, and tricks you need to transform your past experience into an effective resume. I review the right format for structuring your past jobs into a job history, and tackle the best wording and phrases for your past achievements.
Here’s that excerpt I promised you…
The four audiences for your resume
Who is my future boss?
Odds are that you’ll be hired by a stranger.
Most Americans end up being hired by strangers, in fact. It’s one of the strengths of the American system. Rather than being dependent on who you know, or who your parents knew, or who your parents’ parents went to college with a century ago, in the USA we try to hire the best person for the job, regardless of social, family or ethnic backgrounds.
Now, given the math of most industries, it’s also the case that you’ll probably be hired by a friend of a friend, or a friend of a friend of a friend. In any city, and in most fields, the likelihood that you “know someone who knows someone” is actually quite high.
But at the moment you create your resume, your future boss is a stranger to you. The better you understand your future boss’s mindset, and the people and systems she has helping her, the easier it will be.
Your resume has four audiences to please.
There’s a 23-year-old screener, with a couple years experience in HR, who makes a first pass through resumes to determine if basic qualifications are met. There’s a recruiter, who is either an outside search consultant, or an internal HR employee, who reviews the screened resumes to assemble a shorter list for the boss. There’s the hiring manager herself – while she is the decision maker with regard to the hire, it’s best to think of her as a client of the recruiting process. And finally, sitting alongside the entire workflow is the company’s HR computer system, called an applicant tracking system – understanding how the world’s computers read and relay your resume significantly reduces your chance of making mistakes.
These four audiences determine whether or not you make it to the next step.
The specifics and the configuration of these roles and responsibilities are as varied as any human organization, but this typical arrangement captures the essence. Each of these audiences has a different need from your resume, and a slightly different goal for what they are trying to achieve in the process. It is important that you not assume they are like you, or have your sensibilities, preferences, or capabilities.
We will review their incentives, behavior patterns, goals and outcomes individually, and it is most effective if you can address each of their needs in your one resume document.