Provisional Blog

How to Polish Your Resume to Improve Your Odds of Getting Hired

July 9th, 2019

When it comes to finding your next great job, you need a resume that’s polished and professional. But if you’re not an expert resume writer, this can be a tough task to tackle. Where do you begin and how do you stand out in a sea of other resumes? Here are some simple tips to put to use today:

Write it like a marketing document.

Too many candidates approach resume writing like they’re authoring a career autobiography. But keep in mind you only have a few seconds to grab the hiring manager’s attention. To do that, you need to keep your resume clear, concise and compelling, focusing on your track record of success and not on every job you’ve held since high school.

Get rid of the objective statement.

This will simply make your resume look dated. Instead, include a Summary of Qualifications at the top that lists out your key strengths and accomplishments that are most relevant to the job.

Use keywords.

Another important aspect for today’s resumes is using keywords throughout it. Many companies employ Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which filter resumes based on keywords from job postings. So review the language in the posting again and make a list of keywords that make sense to include in your resume.

Create it in a clear format.

Beyond writing a clear resume, you also need to format it in a way that makes it easy to scan. When you do this, you should include the most relevant information front and center, as well as use bullet points and bold face in order to call out important aspects of your career background. Also, make sure to include enough white space so your resume doesn’t look cramped.

Include the right contact information.

On your resume, you don’t necessarily need to include your mailing address any longer since most communications happen via email. Therefore, simply include your phone and email address, as well as a relevant LinkedIn URL where hiring managers can learn more about you.

When you follow the tips above, not only will you make the task of reading your resume easier for hiring managers, but you’ll also increase your odds of getting a call for an interview.

Need more help finding your next job?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of Spokane’s top employment agencies, we can connect you with rewarding opportunities with the area’s leading companies. Contact us today or search our jobs in Spokane now.

The Scoop on What Happens to Your Resume After You Apply

March 20th, 2018

Submitting a resume is stressful, not simply because you want it to make a great impression, but you’re not really sure if it will make any impression at all. Once you hit the send button, it’s hard to know what happens next. Does anyone even see it? And if they do, how much time do they spend reviewing it? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional has the answers you need. Here are some insights into the process, so you know what to expect and when:

Filters through the scanning system.

Most companies nowadays use some kind of scanning system to filter out resumes from poor-fit candidates before a hiring manager even sees them. These systems often rely on keywords in order to perform the job. That’s why, before you send in a resume, it’s important to use keywords and phrases from the job posting when describing your background and work experience.

Goes to HR for review.

If your resume does make it through the scanning system, it will likely go to the HR department next. Personnel in HR will dig a little more into your resume, scanning it for the qualifications and requirements of the position. At this point, if you’re a good fit, they could even call you to conduct a quick phone screen.

Gets sent to the hiring manager.

After these initial screening steps, your resume will then be submitted to the hiring manager for review. These managers are often the ones responsible for making the final hiring decision, but they’re also busy running their departments. They therefore need the resumes that come across their desks to be pre-screened and qualified. If the hiring manager likes what they see on your particular resume, you’ll then get a call for an interview.

Didn’t get a call?

If you don’t get a call for an interview, then it’s likely your resume was eliminated at one of these points during the process. Competition in the job market is fierce, which is why it’s so important to invest the time to submit a well-written, powerful resume that stands out to a potential employer. It’s also important to ensure your resume contains the right keywords so you’re not cut by scanning software right out of the gate.

Need more help with your resume, or any other aspect of your job search?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, from resumes and interviews to connecting you with top opportunities. In fact, we’ve placed more than 8,000 direct hire employees with leading local employers since 1994. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more about how we can help you.

5 Signs Your Resume Needs Work

January 16th, 2018

Looking for a new job? As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, Provisional knows you need a resume that’s going to position your background in the best light possible. If yours doesn’t, then you’re not going to get called in for an interview. How can you tell? Look for these signs that your resume needs work:

#1: You’re applying for jobs you’re qualified for…but aren’t hearing back.

You have the skills and experience to do all the jobs you’re applying for. But your resume seems to have entered a resume black hole. Sound familiar? If it does, then the problem isn’t your background, but how you’re representing it on your resume. So, take another look at it before sending it out again and make sure you are highlighting your strengths, following directions and job postings, and formatting the document properly.

#2: It’s more than three pages.

When it comes to your resume, stick to two pages or less. If you’re a brand new graduate or have limited work experience, it should be a page. Anything more than that is overkill, especially when you consider the fact that hiring managers only spend a few minutes reviewing resumes. So if your resume goes beyond a page or two, it’s time to revisit it and pare it down.

#3: You’re sending the same resume to every employer.

At its core, the resume you send to each employer is likely the same or similar. However, you should still be customizing it for each unique position you’re applying to. That means reviewing the job posting ahead of time and making sure your approach and the language you use best aligns with the particular position you are applying to.

#4: You only spent a few minutes creating a resume.

Your resume is your ticket into the interview process. It needs to be well thought out, as well as polished and professional. If it’s not, then that’s going to come through loud and clear to a hiring manager. So before you start sending out more resumes, take a step back and evaluate yours. Then invest the time needed to make it as strong as possible.

#5: You don’t think your resume really represents you well.

Resumes are hard to write. However, it’s vitally important to ensure the document you send to potential employers highlights your skills and abilities, and persuades them to call you for an interview. So if you don’t think your resume does a good job of representing you and the results you’re able to deliver, then it’s time to rework it.

Do you need more help creating a resume that gets better results?

Call the experts at Provisional. As one of the top employment agencies in Spokane, WA, we can help you with every aspect of your search, including crafting and polishing your resume for better results. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more.

8 Tips for Getting Your Resume Ready for Your 2018 Job Search

January 2nd, 2018

Looking for new jobs in Spokane, WA in the New Year? Before you launch your search, you need to ensure your resume is ready for employers and recruiters alike. Here are some tips for helping you get there:

Tip #1: Use the right format.

When you send in your resume, a hiring manager expects it to be formatted in a certain way. This not only makes it easier for them to read through, but also helps you appear more professional. So be sure you include your name and contact information at the top; a summary of qualifications below; then list your work history in chronological order, using bolded type and bullet points to highlight your roles and responsibilities. After that, discuss your education, volunteer experience and any other pertinent skills.

Tip #2: Avoid unnecessary information.

For instance, unless you’re an entry level candidate, don’t include an objective statement at the top of your resume. These are no longer needed and will make you look dated. Also, skip the line that says “references are available upon request.” Hiring managers know this and it simply takes up valuable space on your resume. Finally, don’t include personal details that aren’t important for the position, such as hobbies, or whether you’re married and have kids.

Tip #3: Focus on accomplishments.

When you’re discussing your work history, don’t only talk about your tasks and responsibilities. Make sure you quantify them and point out the positive impact they’ve made at past employers. Also, get as specific as possible; vague generalities won’t land you an interview.

Tip #4: Customize your resume.

Don’t send in the same resume to every employer you apply to. Instead, tailor it for each opportunity. That will mean you’ll need to rework some of the wording, as well as the order you list your accomplishments, tasks and responsibilities in, always with the most relevant information first.

Tip #5: Be careful with your verbiage.

For instance, limit the adjectives, hyperbole and fluff, such as “motivated team player,” and “results oriented problem solver.” Hiring managers will simply skip over it, and you’re wasting valuable space on information that won’t get you noticed.

Tip #6: Be concise.

You don’t need to include every past job you’ve held from high school on. Instead, focus on the past 10 years of experience and those positions that are most relevant. In addition, limit your resume to two pages or less. Anything more than that won’t get read.

Tip #7: Incorporate keywords.

In today’s world, applicant tracking systems filter out resumes that aren’t the right fit. That’s why you need to take keywords into account when crafting your resume. Review the job posting and incorporate a few keywords from it throughout your resume. That way, your resume will have a better chance of getting through the system and getting into the hands of a hiring manager.

Tip #8: Proofread.

Before you send in a resume, make sure you proofread it multiple times. Even better, ask a friend or loved one to proofread it for you. That way, you can rest easy it’s error-free before submitting it.

Interested in professional help finding a new job in the Spokane area?

Call in the experts at Provisional. Since 1994, we’ve been matching qualified individuals with terrific new jobs in Spokane, WA – and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Avoid the Resume Black Hole

April 3rd, 2012

As one of the top employment firms in Spokane, Washington, we know that many times a real person isn’t screening your resume when you first submit it. In fact, most large companies, and many mid-size ones as well, using tracking systems to help sort resumes via a list of keywords and other qualifiers like former employers, years of experience, and schools attended. Unqualified candidates are then cut, while those deemed qualified are submitted to the company’s hiring manager or HR team.

This is a big time saver for employers receiving hundreds or thousands of resumes for a single opening. However, as one of the top employment firms in Spokane, Washington, we know if you’re a job candidate, it can seem like you’re submitting your resume into a big black hole of uncertainty.

So what can do to make sure you make it past the tracking system, so a set of human eyes sees your resume?

The single best way is to make sure you’re applying for jobs in Spokane, Washington that you are actually qualified for. You’d be surprised at how many completely unqualified candidates apply to jobs online because “hey, you never know” and then become miffed when they never hear back.

If you are qualified, here are some additional tips to make sure you don’t get scanned out of the running by tracking software:

  • Use keywords from the job description. For instance, if you’re applying for a retail management position, make sure your resume includes keywords like “retail” and “manage.”
  • Use keywords from the company’s website. Are there certain words the company uses on their website to describe their mission, vision, and/or values? If so, try to include those in your resume. For instance, if their website states the company is committed to supporting the community through fundraising and volunteer work and you’ve done volunteer work in the past, then include that information in your resume.
  • Keep the format of your resume simple and clear. That means no fancy fonts or cluttered type. Otherwise, you might confuse the tracking system.
  • Don’t ever lie. Some scammers have gotten their resumes through tracking systems by including certain false credentials and keywords in white type. But most recruiters and hiring managers are aware of these tricks and you’ll only hurt your reputation if you get caught lying or doing something unethical.

And keep in mind that while the tips above can help you get past the first round of cuts, the very best way to ensure your resume gets in front of a human – and you land a job interview – is through a referral from an existing company employee or mutual colleague.

If you’d like some additional help finding out about jobs in Spokane, Washington, give us a call. As one of the city’s top employment firms, we can connect you with some of the leading employers and opportunities in the area.

Answering Tough Questions About Resume Gaps

February 21st, 2012

As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top employment agencies, we know that many people – especially in today’s economy – have gaps in their work history. Whether it’s due to a lay off or taking time off to raise children, those gaps can be a red flag for a potential employer. So how can you handle them and still keep yourself in the running for a job? Here are some tips to consider:

Explain the gap in your cover letter.

Don’t let a glaring gap in your employment history do all the talking to a potential employer. Offer an explanation for it in your cover letter. It doesn’t need to be long. Just state that you were out of work for whatever reason and that you are eager to return to the workforce. However, if the gap in your employment happened ages ago, don’t even mention it.

But don’t stop there.

Also include your explanation under the “Employment” section on your resume. The reason? Cover letters don’t always get passed along with resumes to key decision makers.

Tell the truth.

Whatever the reason for your gap, be honest. If you’re dishonest on your resume, you’ll probably live to regret it. It’s easy for employers to verify your work history and if you put inaccurate information on your resume, they can find out in just a phone call.

However, that said, it’s also easy to de-emphasize the amount of time between jobs without lying. One way is by including years of employment, rather than months and years. For instance, there’s a difference between being employed somewhere between “2009 – 2010” and being employed there between “November 2009 – January 2010.”

Focus on what you have been doing.

Don’t focus too much on why you were out of work. Instead, talk about the new skills you acquired thanks to your time off. For instance, if you’ve been home with your children, have you done any volunteer work, like with the school PTA? If you were laid off, have you been spending some of your time freelancing, consulting, or volunteering?

All of these experiences are work and can be included on your resume to fill any gaps. Even if you simply enrolled in a class to expand or sharpen your skill set, it gives you a good answer to tell employers when they inevitably ask what you’ve been doing during your hiatus from work.

Also, keep in mind that employers may be more understanding about your gap given the recent economic conditions. So don’t be too hard on yourself and try to focus on the positive during your interview.

If you need some additional help with your job search, let us know. As one of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho’s top employment agencies, we can give you access to rewarding job opportunities with the area’s leading employers. Get started now.