Count to Six.
That’s how long the average recruiter spends looking at your resume. Business Insider published that a recruiter will spend less time reading your resume than you spend reading this paragraph. Forbes reports that 80% of open jobs are never advertised and the other 20% have about 118 people applying for them. This can easily explain why companies hire the wrong people and why well qualified candidates may not be among the 2% that receive a call back for an interview. You really can’t blame them, though. How long do you spend looking at direct mail from the pizza or satellite company?
Consider it this way. A person is essentially a vendor that sells professional services to a larger company. The large company knows it’s a buyer’s market and that 117 out of 118 times, they will choose not to purchase services from a particular vendor. A resume is the most powerful marketing tool a vendor has to sell their services, so a good deal of resources should be devoted to strengthening that tool. However, any market strategist will tell you that the vendor needs a way to attract attention earlier in the sales cycle and hold that attention longer to successfully stand out among the competition. Along with a more powerful marketing tool, job seekers need a more robust marketing strategy.
According to Forbes, 56% of hiring managers are most impressed by personal websites, and only 7% of applicants have one. This market inefficiency creates a window of opportunity because creating a personal website yourself will take less than a day. Many companies also offer them for less than the cost of having a professional revise your resume, and companies like BrandYourself include professional profiles with free accounts. Bundle a personal website with a few hours of branding and social media optimization, and you will stand out online, where recruiters are turning to find additional information. Your resume becomes an outline rather than a summary.
Here are six reason why people with websites get hired:
1. Resumes are Limited
If I’m being honest, I’d probably only spend six seconds reading each resume, too. Frankly it sounds like a boring job and I could easily get a computer to do it for me. In all likelihood, algorithms are disrupting HR departments by automatically filtering resumes with gaps, numerous short term engagements, low GPAs, typos, keywords, and specific majors or colleges. The resumes that are left after that are then considered for six seconds each. Being boring isn’t the only downside of a resume. One or two pages of physical media can easily be damaged and only holds a finite amount of information. If only one of your past jobs is really relevant to the position you are applying for, you still need to include the other positions you’ve held, otherwise it looks like you were jobless for long periods. By contrast, a website can link to additional references, referrals, reviews of your work, articles you published while you held the most relevant position. There are no physical limitations on the relevant information.
2. Rich Content
SingleGrain reported a study by Digital Diode which concluded that “video promotion is 600% more effective than print and direct mail combined. They also found that, before reading any text, 60% of site visitors will watch a video if available.” Have you given a speech or been interviewed? You can easily upload presentations, narrated slides, or relevant interviews to your personal website. If you were a recruiter, wouldn’t you rather watch a video about a candidate? Websites are interactive and include images, and personal stylistic features to improve the way that users interact with them.
3. User Experience
Resumes are typically on professional looking white stationery with black, traditional fonts. The really great ones have a watermark. Websites include effective color schemes for building trust, encouraging retention, and strengthening engagement. Websites include interactive, entertaining content about you and your thoughts on your industry. If you are active in your space on social media, that can easily be integrated. Websites afford the ability to post information that is relevant, up to date, engaging and dynamic. You can also optimize this experience by having specific objectives in mind for visitors like downloading your resume, filling out a form, or watching your video.
4. Call to Action
A call to action is a checkpoint or a specific event on a website. Resumes do not have calls to action, which makes it hard to see what is most effective about them. A call to action allows you to make your objective for a visitor very clear, and measure your success in achieving that objective. Call to actions are not limited to a website either, they can be included in email marketing campaigns as well.
5. Email Marketing
If you are serious about landing a job, you will likely email a cover letter. In any other marketing application, we would refer to this practice as an email marketing campaign. One of the most important features of an email marketing campaign is a platform that allows some insight to the success of the campaign. Have you ever wondered if people are opening your emails? Or if they are being caught by spam filters? Have you ever wondered what subject line would be more enticing to a recipient? You can answer all of those questions with a free trial of a mailing software like constant contact, and if you were to use a service like Gmail’s Boomerang, you could schedule follow up emails and reminders to automate your email and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
What if you could watch someone read your resume? You could see if it was thrown directly in the “no” pile, was read thoroughly, or if it was even read at all. You could also make educated guesses on which parts the reader paid attention to. Even if you didn’t get the job, you could find correlations about which parts are more relevant and optimize them for a better user experience to increase your chances of success in the future. The absolute worst case scenario is to be ignored. You will apply for more jobs than you get; that’s okay, but require a dignified no and a reason for the rejection so you can leverage failures to create success. Analytics let you do that. If you have Google Analytics installed on your site, you can create a custom URL and then build a custom alert to email you as soon as a recipient clicks on the link and loads your site. You can see exactly what pages the hiring manager went to and how long he stayed on your site. After he leaves would be an opportune time to call and request an in person interview to discuss your credentials in greater detail. What do you think your odds would be against the six second paper resume crowd?
A six second evaluation of your life’s work is a rather insulting evaluation. You’ve no doubt heard the cliche that every job is a sales job. It’s debatable, but every job hunt is definitely a marketing job. In his classic book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin observes that “remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service.” In this case, the product is you. Taking the time to really control a hiring manager’s evaluation experience won’t make every job right for you, but it will ensure that you receive fair consideration. A personal website will indicate that you are serious, engaged, and invested in your personal brand. Utilizing a personal website in your job search allows you to present unlimited content about your experience in a captivating way and actively gauge how users are interacting with it in real time. Leverage the power of a personal website and actively market your personal brand, because important decisions take longer than six seconds.
About the Author
Stephen Van Delinder is a Co-founder of Reputation Resolutions and Brand Resurrection – companies that serve individuals and businesses in restoring, building, and maintaining their online reputation and brand. Armed with certifications in Digital Marketing and Advertising from New York University, Google, and Bing, Stephen applies his knowledge of online reputation management to help people and businesses look their best online.