Linda Hertz Group

My Medical Device Sales Career

Is Your Resume Getting You Action? 7 Tests to Improve Your Call Backs!

I often hear, “I wrote a great resume, but I get few responses to it”, or worse, “I paid a huge chunk of money for someone else to write my resume and I still am not getting any action”. When I ask to have the “non-responsive” resume sent to me for review and I find there are no inherent career problems with it (excessive job hopping every year or applying to jobs that are not related to work experience), often the problem rests with the resume formatting and construction.

There are 7 tests that your resume must pass to meet visual, electronic, print and formatting requirements to increase your resume call back response. If you can construct or dress up a resume that meets this criteria, you will address the varying needs of all three customers who make decisions on your resume: Hiring Managers, Human Resources and Recruiters! Here are the 7 resume construction tests, how does your resume measure up?

  1. Visually pleasing and in a traditional format that Recruiters, Human Resources and Hiring Managers are accustomed to seeing.
  2. Written so one can see WHAT you accomplished in each role or job quickly.
  3. The resume is constructed so that it can be entered into a Company or Recruiter Data base, AND converted correctly into a Resume Applicant Tracking System so it can be found again in a large database (think of your resume in a resume database of over 33,000 or 100,000!).
  4. The Resume has the right Key Words, written the right number of times on your resume, that reflects your experience so you can be found in that huge data base of resumes. I wrote an in-depth article on that subject alone and you can link directly to that article HERE without needing to search for it.
  5. Simply put, no Job Seeker should put their resume in PDF format; to be Pretty Darn Frank…PDF stinks when it comes to formats for resumes; USE ONLY WORD DOC. construction!
  6. Remember that most Hiring Managers need a resume that is Printer Friendly. If you put tons of solid colors or even large heavy black segments (think black bars or the letters of your name in white set into a heavy 2″ black box the width of your resume)….EVERYONE groans! Who wants to use all their printer ink on one resume or fiddle with your resume trying to remove it before printing; answer…NO ONE.
  7. You should keep your resume to NO MORE than 2 to 3 pages in this business!  Typically if you are less than 3 to 5 years out of college 1 page could still be efficient, mid-career people almost always need 2 pages to cover their job experience, and it is ok if you have even more tenure or a higher level job (meaning you have a number of promotions to cover) that 3 pages is required.   Don't go over 3 pages!

Some of these 7 points are self explanatory, but I would like to go a little more in depth on a few of them. The first point, construct a resume that is traditional.  For some reason people think that if their resume is creative or different that it will give them an advantage, and perhaps it will if you are in the Arts, BUT NOT if you are in Medical Sales, Management or other traditional career roles.

I often tell my Job Seekers, it is like renting a car and trying to find the steering wheel, but the rental car company wanted to be creative and be noticed, so they switched the break and gas pedal (yep, your break is the right pedal now!). Well, you noticed the difference immediately, appreciated the creativity perhaps and you will always remember it, but you are there to drive the car to an appointment, not to take the time to learn how to drive it. So, you ask for another car quickly. So goes a resume that is just TOO DIFFICULT TO DRIVE…we move on to the next one. Give me a resume that everyone is use to driving; I want to get to your qualifications quickly!

What is a Traditional Resume?

  • In Medical Sales it is ALWAYS the name FIRST line, then full address, telephone number, e-mail address at the TOP of the Resume.
  • Next, Most Recent Job Experience listed first progressing down the page to older jobs chronologically, with months and years listed by each employ.
  • In each Job segment include: years at that job, responsibility AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS for each.
  • Lastly, your education at the bottom of the resume (forget High School if you are a professional with a four year College Degree).
  • OK, if you did not click into the link earlier in this article, then do so now sales reps....this resume is a great sales rep. example here and you can download that template for your own use. Sales Managers, you can also use this and I changed it up for you with a different download and example here. I will be adding other templates as time goes on! Enjoy!

Another point that is VERY important and many Job Seekers are not aware of is number 3 above (and really is tied to number 5, that stinky PDF Resume Formatted resume). Human Resources and Recruiters often auto feed a resume from their Outlook or directly from a Job Board into their ATS, Applicant Tracking System. We then pluck them from our data base to send to the Hiring Manager, if we cannot find them once we place them into the system, the Hiring Manager NEVER gets your resume for a current job opening or, gasp, a FUTURE Job Opening!

Of course the Key Words you place within the resume are important for us to find your resume again, but if you did not format the TOP of your resume correctly…most ATS programs will simply miscode your resume. Think of it as a SCANNER that starts to the top left corner of your resume and scans from left to right, that is exactly how the ATS reads your resume. If you put your address at the top of your resume as the FIRST written words, your first name may come out as “Main” and your last name as “Street”. If you use that insert header function in the Word Doc. the ATS may not read it at all! Same with a PDF File, many systems don’t auto read it at all, in addition, Recruiters hate PDF’s because they cannot put their company stamp at the top of the resume to signify you are their candidate when they submit you to the Hiring Manager or Human Resources. Make it easy for everyone, format the top of your Resume correctly and in Word Doc. format!

Example of an ATS Friendly Resume (Information Order at TOP of Resume):

  • Your First Name, Last Name (Middle initial can be ok…but can cause problems with ATS…but if you have a common last name..ok).
  • Your Street Address
  • City, State, Zip (Make sure you use a correct 2 letter abbreviation for state, everything on one line is best)
  • Cell Telephone number (make sure you label as Cell; i.e.: Cell 808-XXX-XXXX)
  • Home Telephone number (if you choose to have it on the resume, best to have on a different line and make sure you label as home)
  • E-mail address (best to have on own line)

A Resume is all about you and if you are not getting any Action with it, well, you have just learned how to dress it up a bit! It may be the difference between getting a job or not even getting called for the first interview. Everyone may not like a first date, but without it, you will never make it to the alter! Make sure your Resume is dressed for the occasion and will stand out in the crowd.

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Tags: resume, resumes


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Comment by Linda Hertz on September 6, 2012 at 11:44am

Yikes..thanks for todays like on this article, but it is older and I see the links aren't working and I need to update it...and I will this weekend!  Thank you!


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