Key words help resumes stand out in hiring process - East Valley Tribune: Business

Key words help resumes stand out in hiring process

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Posted: Friday, February 24, 2006 10:55 pm | Updated: 4:58 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

You’ve discovered the job you want. You’ve sent out your resume. You’re waiting. But what happens to that resume when it arrives at the prospective company?

It depends on the process at each company. Sometimes it depends on the company’s size.

At most companies, jobs are posted internally first. Then the outside hunt begins. Resumes are mailed, faxed or emailed to the hiring company.

At Sun American Mortgage, the cover letter is an important part of the process, according to Martha Whitmer, secondary marketing manager. It should include an introduction and “some indication of when a new employee might be available to start work,” she said.

“This is especially important when an applicant lives out of state or lives in another city, which would require an extensive drive to our company each day. We’d look for an explanation as to why a person would want to make that drive or if a move to Arizona would be imminent. You can often get a feel for the personality of the applicant and a professional cover letter is a great hook,” she said.

At larger companies, more people may be involved, such as at Avnet, the largest publicly held company with headquarters in Phoenix. There the hiring team includes recruiters and an outside consultant who may search through the resumes for the top candidates prior to handing them to a hiring manager, said North America Staffing Manager Claudia Reilly.

“I would suggest to anyone applying for a job, especially at a company our size, to list a specific position or positions,” on the cover letter or in the e-mail, Reilly said. That way, the resume doesn’t have to be sorted by a computer program to find a good match for the applicant.

Be sure your resume has the key words that match the job description in the advertisement, Reilly said, because that’s what the recruiters are trying to find.

“Avnet has worked for the past couple of years on perfecting our job descriptions – skills, knowledge, background and education. Our managers also give us key words when they fill out the job requisition. I spend a few seconds, maybe 45 seconds at most, on a resume. I look for the words, the title, the skills, the education,” she said. “The key thing is to understand the job. With having really detailed job descriptions it helps us. It helps the people applying, too.”

Having 15 years experience in human resources also means Reilly knows how to glance at a resume.

Whitmer agrees that you get a feel for what to look for, including job stability.

“We look at how much time was spent on each job. We avoid job-hoppers. For most positions in our company, we would require some level of experience; however, we do have a training program that an applicant could be eligible for, if they struck us as a motivated, self-starter with a sincere desire to learn the business,” she said.

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