Resumes: Trust But Verify

Trust“Trust, but verify” is a Russian proverb told to President Ronald Reagan by Suzanne Massie, a writer on Russia, during the final days of the Cold War. This is also something job seekers and career changers should consider when preparing a resume and LinkedIn page.

RESUMES: Prior to being a featured SME guest this past Tuesday on Job Search Radio I was schmoozing with the host Jeff Altman aka The Big Game Hunter. He told me he was out of the office Friday and Monday and when he was back at his desk there were over 450 resumes waiting to be screened in his Inbox. Some were sent in regards to specific jobs he was recruiting for and some were sent unsolicited in an attempt to get on the radar screen of a top notch recruiter – a smart move on their behalf.

Now Jeff is just one recruiter. If he received that many resumes in 2 ½ days can you imagine how many resumes a large recruitment firm or corporate HR department that post jobs and advertises online and on job boards receives daily?

You now know how fierce your competition is and here is what can be done to get them to call you over someone else.

First off when people have this many resumes to review your resume must capture their attention in the top one-third of the first page. Failing to do so are around 60% of the submissions and they end up being scanned for 6-10 seconds and then relegated to whatever resume repository the company uses.

The remaining resumes that capture the reader’s attention contain the right keywords and on the surface the documents present a candidate who appears to have the right education and experience to make them viable to interview. However these readers are not amateurs who are easily fooled. They have gone through so many resumes at this point in life that they know that what they see is not always what they get. What’s written may be true, but then again it maybe not.

So next they drill down another layer to see how you validate what you stated in your resume as being true. This is done in several ways. The most common is by including achievements and accomplishments. They verify that you are not just blowing smoke but that your actions speak louder than your words. Another way is to strategically including verifiable recommendations that will turn conjecture into fact.

The more you write blanket statements the less your chances are of being called. The more you verify what you state in your resume the greater your chances of being called.

LINKEDIN: I speak to a lot of recruiters and hiring managers and over the past few years I’ve noticed a new trend in how they recruit, screen and select candidates; they depend on LinkedIn.

Some will go through the resume screening process to narrow the pool to a workable number of potentials and then they will look up each candidate on LinkedIn to seek verification of their credentials. If they are not on LinkedIn or their profile page is poor they will be passed over.

What they look for as verification is the following in no particular order. They look over all recommendations to see what others have to say about you. They weigh the number of endorsements you have that verify that others concur that you have the skills you listed. They will look at the courses you took to verify what you studied in college and your grades. They will look at work samples you uploaded that verify the quality of your work. They will look at the accomplishments on your LinkedIn page and they will also look at how well it is written to verify the quality of your communications skills.

All told your resume and LinkedIn page may tell the truth about who you are but without these means of verification it can be like the tree that falls in the forest that makes a loud sound that no one hears or bothers to pay attention to.

So keep this Russian proverb in mind, Doveryai, no Proveryai – Trust but Verify, if you want to land on the call back list.

As always I am happy to critique U.S. resumes, LinkedIn pages and job search action plans at no cost. Email me at

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