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Submitted by derosier on


What do you do when a recruiter asks you to modify your MT resume and add a skills block to the top?

Yesterday a recruiter I've been working with for a while asked me if I had a version of my resume with a skills block.  Of course, my resume is a MT style and we all know that the skills block has no place on it.  I explained that in trying to keep my resume to one page there's no room. That all the skill keywords are there and that they're much stronger when linked directly to achievements. That a skills block lacks context and thus I don't find it useful.  Moreover, my pre-MT style resume with a skills block was much less effective (~3% callback rate vs 80% callback rate) and thus, thank you very much, I'm not adding one.

He commented a bit along the lines of: "Ah, so you like to make the manager have to hunt through the resume and find all the stuff he's looking for".

After I got off the phone with him, I realized two problems:

1. I sounded a bit strident because I have very strong feelings about the subject. I needed to apologize for that.

2. A skills block may be less effective in the resume, but based on this guy's comments, it might be very useful for a recruiter that has to try to match my resume against many jobs.

So, I went and created a skills block document that I then turned into a PDF and emailed the the recruiter with an apology and explanation.

I also pointed out that the resume I gave him originally was fairly generic and one reason my resumes are so effective without the skills block is that I edit them down to one page and highly target what it says to the job description I'm given. Thus, before sending it out, please send me the job description and give me time to give him the targeted version and a cover letter.

Anyway, I'm definitely not adding a skills block to my resume, but what do you think about giving a recruiter an additional tool such as this to help him do job matching?


jrosenau's picture

My short answer is No.  My longer answer is reviewing your resume and making sure you are a match for what the manager needs is what the recruiter is for.  By the time the manager gets your resume, he assumes the recruiter has combed the resume and determined you are a match for the skill set he is looking for.  The manager is looking for how well you did your job at that point.  Even without a recruiter in the middle, most mangers expect the HR department to do a similiar type of review.  If its one page, the manager will read the whole thing and be able to glean if your skill set is a match and how well you do your jobs..


TomW's picture
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 manager has to read in order to learn what you did and how well you did it.

Listing the words "C++, Sharepoint, and MS Office" in a block at the top does not give them that information, nor does it tell them how well or how often you have used those skills.