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Do you revise, re-write or reformat your candidate resumes?

I posted this question a couple of weeks ago to several groups on LinkedIn that are frequented by recruiters. The results were amazing.

Historically, I had always trained my staff to review the resumes and make recommendations to the candidate for changes specific to the job opening. It was then up to the candidate to make the changes or leave their resume alone. After all, the purpose of a resume is to get the hiring authority interested in meeting the candidate and, frankly, that was my job. With my best clients, I didn't always need a resume.

But times have changed. Just about every candidate needs a resume and every hiring authority wants to review resumes. Many managers use the resume as a way to eliminate your candidate from consideration. Part of what Infoployment does is to recommend resume modifications and I quickly discovered that just about every resume needs some tweaking. While not all candidate resumes are dreadful, most do need minor updates in format and content. However, nearly all resumes are not quite right for the position they are applying for.

In today's market, every time a candidate applies for a position on their own, without a recruiter, most job coaches recommend that they alter their resume to fit the job description. They are told to review the job description thoroughly and make changes so that the needs of the company are easily seen on the resume.

Recruiters need to be sure that their qualified candidates are not eliminated because of a poorly produced resume. So, I asked around - Do you revise, re-write or reformat your candidate resumes? Here are the totally unscientific results:

33% YES, I revise, re-write their resume

20% YES, and include a "form" cover or skill summary written by the recruiter

7% NO, I submit their resume as is

0% NO but I send a "form" cover or skill summary written by the recruiter

40% NO, but I encourage them to rewrite it before I submit it

Unpredictably, this was roughly a tie between Yes, they revise, re-write, or reformat the candidate's resumes and No, we encourage the candidate to rewrite the resume themselves. A lot of the Yes answers also include a standardized recruiter formatted supplement with the rewritten or reformatted resume, which they say makes it easier for the hiring managers to compare "apples to apples".

There were a couple of unexpected comments, though I suppose with the advancement of social media, I should not have been surprised. For example:

  • we offer 140 character tweet highlights
  • we also offer suggestions for their LinkedIn profile
  • we ask the candidate to do a video introduction so a link can be included with their resume submittal

So, was there a consensus? No. Half the recruiters feel that they are responsible for the quality of everything their client sees. Half believe that the candidate's writing skills and the presentation of themselves is just as important as their job skills. Yet nearly all the comments resonated that it is the recruiter's duty to take the time to properly prepare the candidate submission. That no matter who wrote the resume, the candidate has to fully support and be comfortable with the contents of the resume.

But the top comment to date was "Sooner or later the client will know that the CV has been rewritten and it's only the recruitment agency that will lose its credibility". (Author's Note: The person who wrote this said "yes", they rewrite and reformat resumes. Hummm)

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