Details Score Resume Points
By Judi Perkins, FindThePerfectJob.com
Without additional information, the name of your employer on your resume indicates nothing.
Neglecting to describe your employer not only cheats you of your resume's full value, but it leaves the interviewer with a question mark about the context of your skills. Even professional resume writers often fail to provide company descriptions in rewrites for their clients.
Don't assume companies know each other, even in a niche industry. Don't assume a local employer is aware of another local employer. Your objective is to give an idea of the size of the company, what it does, and who its market is so that the hiring company can place your experience in relation to what they are looking for.
Without the definition, the interviewer must glean information to put your experience in context. While they're looking for the answer to their question, they're not fully focusing on your skills and accomplishments. Even if you worked for a well-recognized company, you need to provide the scope:
- Were your marketing responsibilities regional?
- Did your accountabilities include national or international operations?
- How does your piece fit into the entire picture?
Although an undefined employer may not get your resume immediately screened out - as some other resume sins will - your resume's ultimate goal is to eliminate questions, not cause them.
Part of the science of finding your perfect job is to stand out from the crowd. In the multitudes of job seekers who don't provide this information, a prospective employer will appreciate that you did. And if he chooses to bring you in, he won't have to clarify the context of your previous experience - possibly finishing the interview on a courtesy basis only.
A company description reads like any of these examples:
- Publicly held company with 400+ branch offices nationwide selling retail home furnishings
- Twelve-person consulting company serving primarily the high-end restaurant market within a 100-mile radius
- Leading manufacturer/distributor of educational toys for children with annual revenues of $1.5m
You can find this information on their About Us web page. Sometimes it's the sentence that shows up when you Google them, right under the company name.
Make the 'In Pile'
Unfortunately, inertia is often a big factor in resume screening. Contrary to popular opinion, every word of every resume is not read. First the resume gets a glance. Then it gets a skim. Then it gets a more detailed read. But every step is contingent upon the reader finding a reason to go the next one.
Here's the truth: most hiring authorities screen out rather than screen in. Especially if they're overwhelmed with resume responses.
- If the formatting makes it difficult to read - you're out
- If they don't see what they are looking for in a glance - you're out
- If they don't have all the information they need to know - you're iffy
Resume as a Screening Tool
Describing your previous employers is one in a dozen ways to ensure your resume is read. Your resume is a screening tool, not only for the company, but for you. It's the point man on your job search. It needs to screen you in for the opportunities you are targeting, so that you're invited in and are able to discern if this opportunity is one you want to pursue.
If your resume receives anything but 100 percent of the interviewer's attention, your resume isn't doing its job. If you want to get in the door, your resume is the only way to open it.
Judi Perkins is the How-To Career Coach and was a recruiter for 22 years. She worked with hundreds of hiring authorities, set up/followed up on over 15,000 interviews, and consistently broke sales records by building relationships with clients and paying attention to details. Her insight into the hiring authority's mind has led to many of her clients finding jobs within 8 to 12 weeks because her focus and orientation is considerably different from that of other coaches. She's been on PBS's Frontline, SmartMoney magazine, CareerBuilder, MSN Careers, Hot Jobs, the New York Times, featured as an expert in numerous career books and will be in the New York Daily News in October 2010. Join her free newsletter at FindThePerfectJob.com.