Make Your Resume a Fast Pass to the Pharma Hiring Line
By Sharon M. Slayton, MBA
Despite more dire statistics in other industries, the August 2010 unemployment rate among the chemical manufacturing industry, which includes Pharma and Bio-Tech companies, was much better than average, at 6.4%. This is great news for the industry and for job seekers too. Still, job seekers need to be aware of some important ways to get noticed in a deep and wide pool of available and wandering industry talent.
While personal referrals and networking remain the number one way to get yourself queued up into the interview line, no matter how close your ties to the hiring source you’ll eventually have to pass critiquing and qualifying tests, like resume search engines, to be considered a valid applicant. This is nowhere more prevalent than in Pharma/Bio-Tech, where credentialing and education requirements are often the hallmark of hiring qualifications. That prevalence creates another dilemma for the uninitiated or out-of-practice Pharma job seeker - if everyone is seeking the same credentials, what other criteria gets the brownie points when it comes time to pick out the interview candidates?
Despite the increased importance and role this technology tool has in the recruiting industry, it's surprising how little the average job seeker knows about the search gates that are keeping their resume from passing even the initial qualifying tests. Today, most job seekers are familiar with using job board search engines, but they remain uncertain about how they can use the technology to gain insight into their job search materials and marketing. It’s also remarkable how few people realize that a well constructed resume can, and should, control and predict what happens almost immediately in the hiring process. The point is, that before you can put your best interview skills to work, you have to get to the interview, and no matter how cliché or worn-out the statement may be, the road to that interview eventually and ultimately starts with a really great and purposeful resume.
Writing a resume packed with purpose
Talk about rewriting your resume and the groans can be heard above a packed Monday Night Football crowd. People say it’s hard to write about themselves - it’s the top complaint of people trying to write their own resume. It is hard to write about yourself, but it shouldn’t be hard to write about what you have done and can do for a company. This is where keywords can actually make it easier to rewrite a better resume. The trick lies in seeing what the employer-reader sees, not what you do. The problem is that such feedback has largely been dispensed to HR and hiring organizations, with little information about how the game is played and what rules apply being given to the job seeker players.
Some technology-based career search companies realize the importance of this gap, and are launching new job seekers tools that will reveal a great deal both to and about the job seeker. Even without this technology, there's a relatively simple method based on a combined database and psycholinguistics formula that you can apply to derive not only the right resume, but a resume that is targeted to you and your industry. People who are serious about getting or changing their job should take the extra steps, and benefit from the insight they might gain through the exercise.
Finally, there are some adjustments to make in your presentation that will reflect a responsible and proactive career approach from the first employer contact. Once resume keywords pass the search engine tests, most HR professionals will be able to spot a purposeful and prepared applicant a mile away. If there’s real keyword strategy and development of those keywords into a career-presenting message, there’s no way an applicant will have problems preparing that message into a broader interview context. It only works, however, if the picture painted in the resume is real.
There are checks and balances in the system. When you incorporate keyword and search engine knowledge into defining your “fit” and the employers’ fit as well, your job search application-to-interview conversions go way up, and with real know-how, they actually become predictable. Does this make you any more or less qualified to do the job? No! And so interviews and screening processes, in general, will and should continue to exist. But, no matter how you look at it, a purely statistical review will confirm that more interviews mean the likelihood of landing a job increases proportionally. If you think you’ve got a great resume, but you’re not getting the calls for what you thought were the perfect jobs, you may want to do some keyword and key statement analysis on your resume to check out its target appeal. Once you land your interview, what you do to convert your application from candidate to job-offer status will depend on communicating the maps you create from your resume to the job, and from the job, to your greater part in the company. And I’ll bet you didn’t know you could get all that out of your resume and those silly keywords!
Sharon M. Slayton, MBA
Sharon Slayton is an independent business, marketing and change management consultant, who specializes in designing and facilitating operations and goals for profit-driven and not-for-profit businesses. She designs programs that combine jobs and individual development training with economic development opportunities, and creates communications and community marketing strategies and campaigns.
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