The answers to Quora are greatly exaggerated

CV: Where HR professionals look and what is superfluous


What information in the résumé is important, what can you leave out? A Facebook recruiter gives tips

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Many people know the feeling: Even though you have just spruced up your résumé, you wonder how you can use this simple document to stand out from the crowd. But: Is an unusual format or many colors the right way to score points with HR professionals? And should one also mention the summer job from the year Schnee?

Spoiler: Many recruiters reject both. Ambra Benjamin works for one of the world's most popular companies for graduates - Facebook - and is responsible for filtering out suitable candidates from thousands of applications. On Quora, she answered the question of all questions, what counts on a résumé and what are unnecessary bells and whistles, in pretty extensive detail?

What is important on a resume

  • Actual position
    This is where Benjamin's eyes usually go first. Benjamin wants to know about the status quo, she writes. If there are applications sent to you, Benjamin wants to find out why the candidate is applying right now. If it's only a few months in the current position, she concludes that something may have gone wrong. The most important thing here, however, is to check whether the current experience is appropriate with regard to the advertised job.

  • The enterprise
    She is not necessarily interested in famous names. "Because HR managers usually have been doing their job for a longer period of time, they know patterns in candidates from certain companies." Of course it could also be that one or the other surprises, but the assumptions are simply part of the job for Benjamin. What if the recruiter doesn't even know the company? "That means that I just have to read the résumé more intensely and longer."
    "Longer" in this case means more than 20 seconds. Because so much - or so little - time, Benjamin takes about per CV. The other responses to Quora from recruiters indicate that this is average.

  • Experience
    Is there any progress in career? For example, has the candidate got more responsibility over the years? Do the titles make sense? (Benjamin cites as an example "Vice President of Marketing" in a five-person company - that is unnecessary). Do the listed responsibilities match the job description? Benjamin wants to know all that here.

  • Tags
    In order to find out whether the person fulfills the desired characteristics, the key words should be easy to read from the résumé. "At times I had to search through the résumés with control + F," writes Benjamin. Not the ideal case. If you're looking for an iOS developer, the words "iOS" or "Objective-C" should appear somewhere. But Benjamin warns - you shouldn't adorn your résumé with too many keywords. Her tip is to stay authentic.

  • Gaps
    Feared by many applicants, but at least wrongly according to Benjamin. "I don't care about gaps as long as there is a good explanation for them." For example, Benjamin would think it was okay if someone was at home for three years to raise children. Whatever it is, simply state the reason for it. Even if it is difficult and you may not want to talk about personal matters, you should - as creatively as possible - talk about the reasons for the interruptions.

  • The online footprint
    It is not a prerequisite, but when candidates make the effort and send links, Benjamin clicks too. They are mainly interested in things that have to do with the qualifications they are looking for. So whether you've made a name for yourself as a programmer on GitHub, etc.- Clicking through the candidates' websites or Twitter profiles is Benjamin's favorite part of recruiting. "You never know what you will come across."

  • General organization
    This means format and spelling, but also understandable language. Many others also note in their posts that as a recruiter, applications with spelling errors or very confusing documents are immediately moved to the trash. Speaking of paper: Benjamin couldn't do that anymore. She only looks at everything digitally and can't stand it when she receives paper applications in the mail.

What is less important

  • training
    While it could play a role in entry-level jobs what you studied where, recruiters would hardly pay any attention to the university in higher positions. This plays a minor role, especially in the technology and IT industry in which Benjamin works. "A lot of brilliant developers who work on Facebook haven't even graduated from college."

  • Elaborate design
    A critical point, because there is actually nothing against creative formats for résumés. But it's just the way it is, writes Benjamin, that a beautiful design cannot hide a lack of experience. Many resumes would be filtered in companies and converted into standard documents, so the recruiter would not see how nice the format was at first. And some applicants would simply overdo it with their creativity.

  • Too personal details
    Benjamin is shocked in her contribution that it is normal in Europe to attach photos to CVs. In the USA, this would cause recruiters to feel uncomfortable - just like other personal information such as marital status or citizenship. "If we want to know what a person looks like, we stalk them on LinkedIn." In Europe it is of course unusual to send CVs without a photo.

What more applicants should be doing

  • Bring personality to your résumé
    "We recruiters look at these documents all day. Put some funny element in, damn it," writes Benjamin. Of course, you have to know your own industry. A little humor in the CV would not go down well everywhere and you had to know how to do it. The recruiter cites this LinkedIn account as a prime example.

  • URLS for the online presence
    She understands that many people find it uncomfortable to list personal profiles here, but that is not necessary. You can also lead other online projects and thus show your interests and commitment apart from the 9-5 job.

  • personal engagement
    Which brings us to the next point that is important to Benjamin. In almost every phone interview, she would ask applicants about personal projects to pursue in their spare time. Or how you generally spend your time after work.

What should be better left

  • Use Word templates
    Benjamin only finds drastic words here: "Oh my gosh. Please, let's kill them all."

  • Write in the first person
    "At company X, I did this and that." - Doesn't work for Benjamin at all. It is best to formulate the tasks in key words. It is also bad when you switch between the first and third person and the present or the past. It is best to describe everything in the past tense, advises Benjamin, even if you are still in your current position.

  • Include a goal or motto at the beginning
    "Seriously? We're not living in 1992," writes Benjamin.

  • Bring your CV by post, fax or in person
    A gesture with which you can also stand out from other applicants. However, a strategy that, according to Benjamin, backfires in most cases. Recruiters need the resume digital and if candidates would come by in person, they just find it strange and not positive.

  • Exaggerate
    See the video by Harald Schmidt. But: Regardless of title or position - at some point the truth will always come to light, says Benjamin.

  • Too long documents
    The seasoning lies in brevity - also for Benjamin. They are not interested in the fact that you were a holiday job at Burger King in the 90s and as long as you are not a renowned professor with X publications, it makes no sense to fill too many pages.

  • Send the application to the management
    Hardly any CEO reads through applications. The well-intentioned gesture then only ends in the resume ending unread at the desk. (Lara Hagen, March 1st, 2016)

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