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Feeling Tense?

Job seekers dilemma: resumes vs job descriptions

Most often the first salvo in your battle to win a job is your resume. It says most of everything there is to say about you.

But, no matter how well crafted your resume is, there is probably a basic disconnect between your resume and the job description for the job you’re seeking. Read them both carefully. With few exceptions, your resume is past tense. “I worked here.” “I accomplished that.” “I was this,” or “I held this position.” All in the past.

But job descriptions are typically written in the present or future tense. “The successful candidate will…” “We’re looking for someone who can…”

Overcoming this hurdle can be a challenge. This is where you focus on your skills. “I can do this.” “I am comfortable with…” “I am competent in…”

There is no perfect match. But this can narrow the gap.

But there are gaps that remain. Many of these are tied to the automated tracking systems (ATS.) These screening software can be very precise and exacting.

For example, we heard of one candidate who didn’t make the cut because her resume claimed that she was proficient in MS Office. Now, most professionals who have worked around software for more than two weeks recognize that “MS Office” refers to “Microsoft Office.” Unfortunately, no one told the ATS. The software was looking for “Microsoft Office.” The candidate submitted “MS Office.” In the eyes of the software, that was a no match and her candidacy was foiled.

A human reviewing her resume most likely (we can’t assume) would have seen that for what it was. The software couldn’t.

The same holds true for singulars and plurals.

The lesson? Review the job description carefully. Don’t take anything for granted. Give them precisely what they’re looking for.


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