Northrop Grumman recruiter Dr. Matthew Clark gave GT-AE students something of a six-second "pop quiz" on resume basics Aug. 25.
As a capacity crowd looked on, Clark took just six seconds to "accept" or "reject" each of the more than two dozen resumes submitted to him during his hour-long resume workshop, "The Six-second Resume Review" sponsored by SAESAC. He also gave students an idea of how they can survive that six-second siege.
"You should all update your resume at least 30 times between now and the Georgia Tech Career Fair," said Clark, a Georgia Tech grad who was on campus to recruit masters and doctoral students for his company's Future Technical Leaders program.
"And think outside the box. Don't just tell me what classes you took. If I'm an employer, I want to know what you can do for me."
That was just one of the pearls of wisdom that Clark passed on to students who joined him in at the Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering for an hour of straight talk about career goals. Other observations:
- Don't depend on optical scanning technology to correctly upload your resume. Wherever possible, upload your own version. "You'd be surprised what some of the scanning programs do with the technical terms," said Clark. "You really want to make sure your own version is the one that HR sees."
- The goal of the resume is to get you the interview - not the job. Write it with that in mind. "If I'm a recruiter with10 resumes of people who all have similar skills, who am I going to call for the interview? The ones whose resumes pose the fewest questions, that's who. I want to interview someone who is the closest to what I need."
- Overt skills are only half the battle. Intangible skills are just as important. "I want you to have the hard skills, but there are other skills I'll be looking for - things like project leadership and critical thinking. Those skills will change over the course of your career, but as a new college grad they're pretty straight-forward. If a job requisition says that you'll be working with a team of senior engineers, then the candidate who says he or she has experience working with leaders, taking directions, and working well in that scenario will be the one I call."
- Have several versions of your resume available. Because each company will issue job descriptions that emphasize different skills and goals, savvy job hunters will create different resumes, each with different emphases. Clark told the group that his personal "resume file" is about 50 pages long.
- Don't be vague. Tailor your resume to the job requisition. If a recruiter is looking for someone with experience in a particular area, highlight examples in your classwork, research, extra-curricular activites or co-ops. "If your resume is vague, then I'm going to think, maybe, you are not willing to put the time and energy into presenting yourself. I may think you don't understand enough about your field to extract information to tell me. Or, even, that you are lying."
- Your resume might end up being more important to you than your dissertation. On this point, Clark, a GT doctoral graduate, winked. "If you think about it, there's a good chance that no more than five people are going to read your dissertation. But your resume, if you do it right, will be read by a lot more."