In Search of the Resume That Got the Interview

by Brian Skory

When looking for a new job, your resume is your "calling card." It is usually the first thing that a hiring manager sees, and their decision to contact you will likely be based on the quality of that resume. Recently, I read about an innovative approach to increasing the odds of your resume getting traction. Yes, a nice layout and using action verbs goes a long way, but it's the content that will ultimately convince the hiring manager. That is, something that the hiring manager reads is going to catch their attention. So what better way to fine-tune your resume than to pattern it after resumes that have already captured the attention of that hiring manager.

Use LinkedIn and the company website to identify recent hires for roles similar to the one you are pursuing.

Companies generally have a page on LinkedIn that lists its employees. If you are pursuing a software developer role, you can scroll through that company's employees and look at their profiles. What types of industries did they come out of? What were their previous roles and job responsibilities? What LinkedIn groups do they belong to? Review several of the employees who hold a similar position as the one you are pursuing and see if you can spot any commonalities. Then, do a google search of those employees using "their name + resume" as the search string. People often have their resumes posted online. If you find theirs, you can do an even deeper dive.

After comparing several LinkedIn profiles and/or resumes, you will often start to find a pattern for those who made it past the initial gatekeepers and eventually became employees of that company. Maybe you notice that several of them have recent certifications of one sort or another. Or perhaps you notice that several of them highlight their involvement with the local developer community—something that is possibly valued by this company. Whatever you might find, you are looking for opportunities where it might make sense to modify your resume to highlight your own similar skills, experiences, and continued education. Please note that I am not suggesting falsifying your resume or misrepresenting yourself in any way. Rather, I am proposing that you review resumes and LinkedIn profiles of individuals who made it through the review process to discover clues as to what that hiring manager is and isn't looking for.
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