Your Ticket to the Show: Five (5) Key Resume Points To Get You Into the Show
- Your Ticket of Admission
When thinking of a resume, many people get a little freaked out. This doesn’t have to be the case though. In its most simple form, think of a resume like a ticket to a concert, a theater show, or even to get on a plane. If you don’t have this ticket you can’t get in.
But instead of watching the action from the comfort of your seat, or being flown to your next destination, the ticket – your resume – opens the door for the next step: sharing your story. You want the resume to tell enough of your story that entices and teases the director to call you in for a performance.
Remember, your resume is your ticket to get into the show, and it has to be the right show, the show in which you hopefully will become the main act.
The Ticket Agent
You can’t just walk into a show or on an airplane with just any ‘ol ticket though, right? It has to be the right ticket, for the right show, at the right time. If you handed a ticket to fly to San Francisco to the gate agent for the flight to Amsterdam, she wouldn’t let you board the plane.
Makes sense now doesn’t it?
Just like airlines have gate agent representatives, and the theater has ticket agents, companies do the same. They are not called ticket agents, but they essentially do the same. Historically this screening was done by an “HR” (human resources) professional. She would collect all the resumes – the tickets – for each open position, read and screen the resumes, and send the most qualified to the hiring manager (the “director”) for interviews.
In many if not most instances today this screening is done electronically. An average of 250 applicants apply for any one job today. Imagine reading and screening each one of these resumes? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do this, and they don’t either.
So companies now utilize a system to screen all of these applicants more time efficiently. The “Applicant Tracking System” (ATS for short) is the new ticket agent. He’s big, burly, and doesn’t really care about you.
Let’s give this brute a name: “Brock”. Brock is no-emotions, no nonsense agent that doesn’t even look at you when you approach him. The massive chest tattoo of him crushing a skull with his fingers isn’t as scary as his objectivity. You have the right ticket? Brock will let you in to the show. Your ticket isn’t right? The bouncer-type Brock with no neck and arms as big as your waist will immediately reject you. You’re gone… outta here… no show for you!
Brock looks very carefully at your resume to be certain you have all of the qualifications, skills, traits, experience, and background to talk to the director. This is why it is SO important to craft your resume to the specific job to which you are applying. Standard, “cookie-cutter”, one-size-fits-all resumes won’t do it. Brock will send you home, and likely not feeling good about your rejection, with no regrets at all.
The Right Ticket #1 –
So what are some key features of the right ticket? As mentioned, you firstly must apply for the right job, with the right qualifications. Without going way deep into all the details (a great resume writer can help here also) basically include as many of the skills, qualifications, capabilities, and examples of what you have accomplished in your resume as they align to the job asks.
Think of it this way: the director (the hiring manager) has a part to fill. He is looking for the right actor (employee) for the part. He knows what he needs: it could be a tall brunette with a slight speech hesitation. If you’re a blond who speaks impeccably, you’re not the right person for the part. He knows what he needs for the show to be successful.
The only way he’ll know whether to speak with you further about the part is through the screening and casting process. You send in your qualifications (in our case a resume) which clearly and directly outlines your capability to fill his need. He sees that you could be a good fit for the role and calls you in for an audition (interview).
Takeaway: make sure with all certainty that your skills and qualities meet all if not most of what the director is seeking.
4. The Right Ticket #2 –
Remember that Brock is not all that smart. He knows his job: to allow those in to the show with the right ticket, and send away those that don’t have this. Ask him to pour a drink, or schedule you for the next show, and he’ll likely grunt and send you away. He may even bare his chest and flex his pecs, crushing that skull in your face. Not a good sight.
The same holds true for your resume. YOU may know you can do the job, have the enthusiasm, and this is your dream job! THEY don’t know though.
In addition to again stressing the importance of #3 above, make certain of the following:
Accuracy – your resume MUST accurately reflect your accomplishments. Never lie about this. It will catch up to you.
Spelling – we’ve all heard this time and again. It is important to stress, and stress over. For some odd neurological scientific reason our eyes are immediately drawn to misspellings on a page. The resume reader will find this. It may not be Brock, but the hiring manager will see this and imagine all of the work that you’ll turn in that’s incorrect, or may take down the entire company.
Fonts – this is not a middle-school art project, or a display of your amazing creativity and ability to use the WordArt function in MS Word. Brock and the hiring team literally hate this! Many ATS systems cannot make out the yeah it looks cool in person fonts, or tables, or graphs, pictures, or other things. To Brock this is like a ticket that has BBQ sauce and beer splattered all over the content. Make it simple and easy to read.
Telling Your Story
– Alright, you’ve made it in to the casting! The director wants to speak with you, woo hoo! Remember that this is the main function of your resume. It’s a door opener, a ticket to see if you’re right for the show.
Imagine again you are the director. Would you want to watch an audition of an actor that doesn’t fit the part? Definitely not! It’s a waste of his time, and yours also.
When we think of it from the other side, it works. Now present yourself with this in mind. You want the role. He NEEDS to fill a role. Your job is to first show through the resume that you could fill this need, and then when you are in front of the director, that you are the right actor for the part.