Writing Wrongs

Advice on crafting your resume

November 22, 2018 Photo

Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers advice on crafting your resume for our new robot overlords.

I’m looking for a new job. What are some of the pitfalls I may be missing when writing my own resume?

Claims professionals are very DIY-types. So, this information is aimed at helping develop your DIY resume writing skills to avoid the many pitfalls that will prevent your resume from being selected to that one great job that you really want, whether that means a better company, more substantial claims and smaller caseload, newer technology, or more money. Here are three pitfalls to avoid at all costs.

1. Not understanding the six-second rule. This is the amount of time a recruiter/human resources professional will look at your resume (or LinkedIn profile) and decide if you are a candidate for the job. Seventy-five percent of the resumes I review fail at this because they “overwrite” their credentials. The top one-third of your resume is your career DNA and has to capture hiring authorities’ attention. To do this, get rid of your long objective and replace it with the title of the position for which you are applying (assuming you qualify). Right underneath the title, add a two-sentence summary that backs up your title. In the summary, use the language found in the job description that is key to being successful in the position. Then add your core competencies, which is a list of relevant skill sets that are needed to get the job. These competencies come directly from the job description, as well. Title, summary, and core competencies in the top one-third of your resume is all you will ever need to get the interview. Your work history supports this area.

2. Not understanding robots and applicant tracking systems. You will be lucky in 2019 if a human is the first contact to review your resume. Applicant tracking systems today are built to eliminate you, not recruit you. Even if you are perfect for the job, a poor resume will not get noticed by a robot. A well-written resume that passes the six-second rule will immediately get graded well by the computer and hopefully get passed on to a human being. All insurance companies with over 400 employees utilize applicant tracking systems. The more you can make your resume robot friendly (using the job description as your guide), the more interviews you will book.

3. Not understanding LinkedIn and your resume. LinkedIn is not a social network. For internal insurance recruiting departments, it is a public resume database. Make no mistake about this. No recruiter spends time in LinkedIn looking at pictures of food. They are looking for you to fill critical insurance openings. Your LinkedIn profile is your six-second resume on steroids. To optimize your LinkedIn profile, you now can change your title to whatever it is you want it to be instead of it defaulting to your current title and company. You can customize your summary to match your resume. You can add your awards, videos, blog posts and anything else relevant to make you stand out from the crowd. An optimized LinkedIn profile allows your paper resume to come to life. Yes, employers who view your resume and like what they see will check you out on LinkedIn; it’s human nature. Make sure you have a great professional headshot on your LinkedIn profile. The irony is that if you put a picture on your paper resume, you may be a freak. If you don’t have one of your LinkedIn profile, it makes employers wonder.

The bottom line is that you are not human anymore; you’re a group of optimized keywords aimed at robots and humans in HR to get noticed. If you are writing your resume, you can stand out if you really understand how your information is being interpreted.

Got a career question for Roger? Email him at Roger@GreatInsuranceJobs.com.

About The Authors
Roger Lear

Roger Lear is cofounder of Great Insurance Jobs. roger@greatinsurancejobs.com

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