Episode 38: Write a Resume that Gets Past the Screeners with Katrina Kibben


June 9th, 2020

50 mins 26 secs

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About this Episode

We welcome Katrina Kibben in this episode of Real Job Talk to talk with us. We're always glad to find another Kat! Katrina is a writer and recruiting professional who has built Three Ears Media around her interests in communication and marketing to teach companies how to excel around employment branding, writing for recruiting, and representing themselves with authenticity.

Katrina came into recruiting by accident after an executive met her while she was tutoring his daughter. She took her writing background and wrote copy around recruiting. Now she spends the majority of her time teaching recruiters to write in a way that will resonate with candidates.

Katrina’s realness drives her consultancy in helping her clients also be real in how they describe themselves to potential employees. When we’re real with our current and potential employees, we keep them and attract the people who will thrive within our companies.

Katrina respects recruiters, but admits that most recruiters don’t know the role past the job posting. So here are some of her tips for resume-writing.

Recruiters are busy; they spend 4 seconds on your resume to see if it matches. If you're a job seeker trying to get to that busy recruiter and have them notice your resume, make the words in your resume match as closely as close to possible to their job posting. Resumes are marketing tools; they need to look like the job description for the role you are looking for.

When writing a job description or resume, use Google Trends to make sure your titles match what ever title has the most search volume.

People often go WAY too far back on their resume. Those college jobs aren’t necessary, and length is important. A concise resume shows that you know how to tell a story. A long resume makes you look like a job hopper. Also, no need to point out that you know MS Word or other skills that are obvious in the job you’ve done.

If you have a 10 page resume, it reads like you have a hard time editing, and when being able to be precise is a necessary skill, a rambling resume hints that you won’t be able to be concise in your job.

Big tip: use a wordcloud to identify top keywords in a job description and make sure all of those top words stand out in your resume. Get someone to give you an extra 15 seconds by having the words stand out. Recruiters tend to look at the beginning of the resume, at your job titles, and then also the weird stuff you list at the bottom….

We talk about Katrina’s own job searches. In her last search, she thought of different roles around her core areas -- writing, branding, marketing, and recruiting. She started with creating a basic marketing resume, pulling words and concepts from other job descriptions and postings out there to create her base resume. Then from the marketing resume, she took the base and tweaked it for content marketing, and then again tweaking it for all the related roles she was interested in.

Don’t feel like a good writer? Steal from job descriptions. Do voice to text talking about the work you’ve done, and think about what you’re most proud of. You want your resume to reflect you and your voice and to represent you authentically. Get the words out even if you don't think you're a good writer.

Starting a new job search? BLS.gov shows you what sectors are hiring and can help you figure out where to look in a tough job market. You can go to a job board or Facebook group and search for “now hiring” and see who is hiring. We talked about new grads doing customer service and how it’s a great new job.

Work your network. Call people who have worked with you and who you would consider working with again and check in. Ask them what they remember about you and who is out there who they would want to work with again. It will lead to your next role.

You can’t make those calls in panic mode. If you’re panicked, call your friends, not your network. Fake it until you make it if you are scared, because nobody wants to put someone in crisis out to their network.

Do your research about companies: look at Glassdoor, evaluate your fit against their “about us” page and see if you can see yourself there.

If you're a hiring for a role, how to you create a great job posting? Write a pitch: "You help (blank) do (blank) by (blank)ing. Write your must haves; e.g., "Don’t apply if you don’t have these 3 things." Take the “about us” marketing language of your company's web site and then make it about people. Then write what the person is doing now that will make them prepared for taking on the role you're trying to fill.

Katrina’s book: The Job Post Writing Workbook She also teaches on-demand courses about writing to get promoted and job descriptions and more.

Find Katrina everywhere at Katrinakibben (she’s the only one!).