Unless you have a cape and a phone booth, there is only one you. – James Rosseau, Sr.
I worked in Finance and Human Resources during the first half of my corporate career before moving to the revenue side of the business. My first HR job was at WSFS bank in Wilmington, DE. I began in payroll/HRIS as I was experienced in those functions, but I wanted to learn HR generalist duties and they were happy to teach me.
As I was beginning to learn to recruit and hire, I found the influx of applications for any job we posted to be overwhelming. Over time, I found that recruiters and hiring managers used a number of techniques (e.g. leveraging referrals, networking, etc.) to efficiently find the best applicants. I also found that they applied filters to help them prioritize what applicants they would review.
One technique was an early sort based on the presentation of the incoming applicant’s resume. It actually started with the outer envelope. Most would use a standard plain white envelope. Those who used a higher quality, heavier weight envelope, which you could visibly see and feel, were put in a separate pile. From that pile, once opening the envelope, there was a second sort based on the paper used. Those applicants who used a higher grade, heavier weight paper were placed in another pile. The last sort was based on the structure of the written resume in terms of ease of reading, clear presentation of accomplishments (as it is about what the person did, not what space they occupied), etc.
Why the sorts? It allowed focus on those that took the time to distinguish themselves over and above the norm. I would guess that out of every 100 applicants that applied, less than 25 made it through that sorting.
Obviously, that was a long time ago and everything is digital now. However, that also means that there are likely even more applicants for any given job opening as processes are online. Further, what used to be only on paper, that a hiring manager had to initial trust was true and then validate through interviewing, reference calls, etc., is now online as well.
The words written in today’s resumes and cover letters are still important. However, we should expect that after clicking to open those documents and scanning them, the next few clicks are most often to google to perform a search about that applicant and then to review their social media accounts.
This can all be done is ten minutes or less by the recruiter, hiring manager of someone else who is helping him or her “sort and prioritize” and only deep-dive into the best applicants after having established a point of view on who that applicant really is. The questions they are asking themselves range from, “will this person raise the bar or average in my company?” “are they someone I believe I would want to work with?” “will they fit within our culture and uphold our values?” By the way, this same sorting and prioritizing process is often applied to entrepreneurs that are pitching business to someone. The prospective customer does the same thing with the mindset of focusing on if that business owner is someone they want to “yoke up with.” Associations are important.
There is only one you, be mindful of how that is presented in all places … online and offline as the perspective person you want to be employed by or do business with will likely aggregate all sources of information to create how they see “you.”