You can call them gatekeepers, screeners or, as business writers Mark Slack and Erik Bowtiz termed them, "the troll under the bridge" (our favorite).
Regardless of how you refer to the people who first receive your resume, they are the ones you should target – not the hiring manager. (This assumes your resume is being screened by a person, not software. Here's advice for the latter.)
When it comes to resume writing, there's obviously a lot of focus on spelling and formatting because research shows they matter.
However, next time you revise your resume - before you make a single change - think about the person who will double click on your resume (make sure it's a PDF). Picture them actually sitting down, opening it up and reading. Visualize the screener in your mind and think: How do I need to rewrite this to gain their interest and land an interview?
"Always remember a resume screener's number one goal is to find resumes that best match the job criteria," notes staffing and recruiting expert Gary Wing. "Targeting your resume with the resume screener in mind is the best way to get your resume through the door and on the top of the pile."
Wing has several suggestions on how to rewrite a resume for a screener, including this: When listing past employers, add their size and the marketplace in which they compete.
His example (which is stellar, by the way): "Dunder Mifflin Inc., Nashua; $175 million regional paper and office supply distributor (NYSE: DMI) with an emphasis on servicing small-business clients. Corporate headquarters in New York City with eight regional offices in the Northeast."
He notes that failure to write a resume for the screener - as opposed to the hiring manager - is one of the most common mistakes job hunters make.
"If you're wondering why your resume isn't generating interviews, it could be because you aren't tailoring it to the gatekeeper," he says. "The screener's job is to weed through the resumes and find the candidates who best match the manager-mandated job criteria. It's not necessarily their goal to determine who is merely capable of performing the role."
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