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Many of the resumes prospects ask me to review are generic in form and content. Put yourself in the place of the recruiter. Are you going to select candidates as you would cards from a deck?

Likely not. First, you’ll use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), or recruiting database, to source candidates based on specific selection criteria, or keywords. That might be a BSEE with 5+ years’ experience in design, quality control and solution sales, with a local address, who is willing to travel. Or it might be an RN/BSN with 8 or more years in an OR environment who has expertise in endoscopic surgery and infection control, and shows industry leadership.

Once you extract those 200 or 300 resumes that meet the “must have” qualifications, are you going to call them all to interview? Or will you refine your search by seeking out candidates that offer more than the basics, those that reflect value beyond minimum requirements?

So, if you come across an RN/BSN with 10 years in an OR environment, expertise in endoscopic surgery and infection control, who has contributed to important AORN research—and also happens to be fluent in several languages AND features a branding statement at the top of the resume that states “Dedicated to delivering the same level of hands-on nursing care to patients as that provided to a beloved family member,” wouldn’t you want to see if that candidate is as good in person as on paper?

Or is the better strategy blindly selecting 10 resumes from the deck and offering those candidates interviews?

Remember, employers want to hire candidates that offer more in value than they cost in salary and benefits. Make it a point to provide information that reveals to an employer how special you are, so your resume doesn’t remain in the deck.

Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC