4 Reasons Why Hamburgers Are Just Like Candidates

Everyone has a preference, a favorite, and a taste for a certain kind of burger with bun.  My friend Martha is quite particular about her food.  She always orders the cheeseless cheeseburger that is well done at our favorite burger joint.  Me, I like the Hawaian burger with a pineapple, terryaki and medium rare.  Resumes are a lot like job seeker and candidate resumes. As recruiters we have a taste for a preferred style or format that isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, or burger if you will.

Hold the Mayo — Candidate Resumes

Personally, I like a clean and formatted resume.  My favorite is the objectiveless resume.  Remove that objective and go straight to the point focusing on qualifications and your expertise.  My preferences might result in me looking for a candidate but that’s the nature of the game.  Some people prefer a cheeseless cheeseburger and others ask for an extra slice.

  • Resumes are subjective. So are cheeseburgers, hamburgers, boca burgers, or whatever.  Some hiring managers prefer an objective, others are
    particular about a coverletter, and some have no opinion whatsoever.  I once had a hiring manager who would not interview any candidate who misspelled a state abbreviation.  If you were a candidate with the right credentials but accidentally wrote Missouri’s state abbreviation as MI instead of MO, you were out of luck.
  • Preferences matter. Because recruiters, hiring managers, and human resource professionals spend 6 seconds skimming your resume, job seekers need to make a great first impression.  The photo below is from an eye-mapping study from 2012 the studied recruiter’s resume viewing habits and the amount of time spent.  The red spots on the page indicate the greatest time spent during those 6 seconds.  Sometimes the job descriptions spells out those preferences for you asking you to include a cover letter, design portfolio, or salary history.
  • Go bold or go home. A growing number of job seekers are creating a job search campaign to gain the attention of the hiring manager.  While the viral quality of these campaigns are appealing, they are not right for every position or industry.  Consider targeting your job search to reach your preferred company through quality content, a solid resume, and networking.  It can happen.  We recruiters and HR folks prefer the traditional job search.  It is just how we are wired to be.
  • Stay positive & focused. Not every cheeseburger can be their favorite. Not every resume appeals to every hiring manager’s tastes.  Some prefer portabella mushrooms while others enjoy extra bacon.  What is important is to be yourself and articulate your uniqueness and experiences through your resume.  Stay inward focused but also outward and look to ways to improve your plating & presentation skills by refining your resume, coverletter, or even your interview.  Because as the candidate we are so focused on ourselves we fail to see the ingredients or characteristics that attract others.  Use persons with whom you trust and experts to provide you with outside opinions and guidance to help you refine your recipe.

Resume and Cover Letter Preferences

Cover letter preferences just like candidate resumes are no different.  Some prefer to leave them off altogether while others will disqualifying you for failing to follow recruiters instructions.  Your resume format and style helps to define you.  Consider your branding message carefully.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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