This is a guest post by Derek Pangallo.
Hi, I’m a political scientist in Washington, DC working on and writing about political new media and online advertising. Reach me: derek.pangallo(a)gmail.com
No matter the industry you seek to get ahead in, you want a resume that makes a splash. In this post I’ll share some practices I’ve come up with that make you more appealing to the recruiter, and let you get some passive feedback from them. This isn’t an article encouraging you to add your twitter profile to your resume. In fact I’ll make a point to discourage it. The focus is leveraging technology to make your resume work better.
Every hiring manager has a different process, so we must acknowledge that some people read the resume before the cover letter. It’s also likely you’re resume will never be printed unless you get called in for an interview. For these reasons, the first overall impression of the resume is of utmost importance.
The best way to control the first-impression experience of your resume is to use the PDF format. Word documents look messy with all the rulers and toolbars, plus on a foreign computer’s dictionary, your ethnic last name will get the dreaded red-squiggly underneath. No point in racial profiling yourself.
What’s really great about PDF: using Adobe Acrobat professional, you can set the initial view properties of a document point-by-point. I have my resume set to “fit to page” upon opening, so the recruiter gets a bird’s-eye view before ever deciding if I’m worth scrolling down for. Even though you can’t actually read any of my experience or skills, you have to admit it’s a damn sharp resume. Interest acquired, awe accomplished.
You can also set options on the document like “full-screen viewing” and “hide all controls”; don’t do this. When opening a PDF like this up, Adobe gives the warning “this document is trying to take control of your computer” or something — that’s not the first impression we’re looking for.
Link Click Tracking
There are a couple ways to get feedback once your resume is in the figurative hands of a hiring manager. The easiest is to shorten the links in your resume using http://goo.gl. Add the shortened URL as your link, leaving the display text as the actual destination. On my resume it looks like this:
If you hover with your mouse, you can see the link points to http://goo.gl/cTRpE. For the end user, there is no difference after clicking, but we can now track when and how many times the link was clicked. Just add a “+” symbol to the end to see a link’s analytics: http://goo.gl/cTRpE+
You can use this method regardless of where you are directing your visitors. Periodically checking the “all-time” clicks on your links will give you an idea of how many recruiters bothered to click through to your blog, Linkedin, or portfolio.
If you want even more data about outbound clicks on your resume, you’ll need to be directing traffic to a site you control and have a Google Analytics account associated with it.
Using Google’s Free analytics tool, we can massage out even more data about the appeal of your resume. We can see exactly which job recruiter did the clicking, what city they were in, how long they stayed on your site, and much more. I’ll presume that you have a Google Analytics account and have it installed on your site.
This time around our desire isn’t to make links shorter, it’s to make them longer. You may have noticed longer URL’s with “UTM” codes in them. These are codes that tell Google Analytics where you were referred from. Organizing for America and Twitter both use this prominently in their emails.
For your first tagged URL, use the Google Analytics URL Builder. You enter the URL you will be redirecting to, then enter a campaign Source, Medium and Name (somewhat overkill for our purposes, but all three are requires.) I use one character, “r”, for source and medium, and change the “name” field for every resume I send out. Now you can tell exactly which resumes earned you clicks, drill-downing into that data.
Intelligent Use of Landing Pages
A quick word about where you’re actually directing traffic: make it count. Have a custom page on your blog just for talent-seekers. Also, optimize your LinkedIn profile make an impression. One way to do this is to rearrange profile elements so your recommendations are at the top. And definitely make sure LinkedIn users outside your network can see your photo — this is not the default setting.
What I’ve found
I’ve been utilizing these techniques for a few months now, and here’s what I know for sure: most of the jobs that call you for an interview still only clicked on one of your links. The lesson is that your resume only needs one link. Make it count. Depending on the job you’re looking for, link to your LinkedIn, your blog, or your portfolio. Don’t make it your twitter account unless you’re applying to work at Twitter, or your last tweet is always the first thing you want a prospective employer to see.