August 27, 2020
Rebecca McCormick, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Hello, HR Tech-ers! As we wrap up August, we’re so excited to spotlight a talent acquisition specialist who has amazing resume tips, networking ideas, and lean recruiting tricks.
Please meet Rebecca McCormick, whose currently serves as a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Comoto.
I certainly fall into the camp of recruiters who had early career aspirations that wildly differed from the path that brought them to talent acquisition. I did my undergrad in a hybrid course of study that combined business administration with the arts, a degree that left me completely underwhelmed by the career options that were available to me that first summer after graduation.
Shortly after graduation, and on a bit of a whim, I moved to Philadelphia and landed a position with a local workforce development organization that identified opportunities to bridge the gaps between displaced job seekers and hiring businesses. This organization was made up of a comprehensive network of resources available to area job seekers and opened my eyes to career services and training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed residents of the city. I spent 8 years in various roles ultimately becoming a Career and Training Specialist. My days were spent coaching job seekers on best practices in resume writing, interviewing, social media management, and job search strategy while my downtime was spent building relationships with our business development team trying to understand what their clients hiring needs were. I found myself often thinking through which of my own clients might be a good match for those opportunities. It turns out, I was slowly being introduced to the fundamental pillars of recruiting.
I wasn’t looking for a new opportunity when I stumbled on RevZilla’s opening for a Recruiting Coordinator, truth be told I was looking through Philadelphia’s Top Workplaces list to identify potential employers for my candidates. I decided to practice what I was preaching, dusted off and polished my own resume, and threw my hat in the ring. 2 lengthy interviews and an offer later, I found myself on my way pivoting into the private sector and learning the ropes from the employer side of the hiring equation.
Starting as a Recruiting Coordinator was an eye-opening experience, I was the first dedicated recruiting resource to our company and quickly learned the importance of building strong candidate and hiring manager relationships, I became the cheerleader for the new hires that I saw end-to-end through our hiring process, and I learned the effectiveness of providing feedback when having to relay the inevitable rejection message. I was provided with incredible opportunities to shape my skill set and had amazing mentors along the way. In 2 years’ time I was promoted to a Recruiter role and now find myself regularly practicing many of the same skills I honed in those earlier days in workforce development. While the path may seem a bit unconventional, it turns out that each step I took along the way was leading me right where I belong - as the champion for candidate experience, the hiring manager coach, and the feedback advocate.
Seeking employment at any time is a challenge, throw in a pandemic and an unstable economy and it is that much more difficult. First and foremost what job seekers need to know is that you shouldn’t be trying to game an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) when you are writing your resume or completing your application. Sure, you can take the job description that you are applying to, copy and paste it into your resume in a tiny white font in the margin of your document, and your application may be a highly rated match, but the expectation will be that who you are in an interview matches the experience you presented on your application/resume.
The bottom line goal is to use your experience to highlight why you are the right person for the job, not to fabricate your way into an interview just to get your foot in the door. No employer wants to be catfished, I promise. With that said, here are my go-to resume tips:
My number one tip for a successful job search is to start by creating a master resume. This can be 20 pages long if need be. Always keep this handy as a historical reference of all of the work you’ve done, the projects that you’ve completed, goals that you’ve crushed, the ideas that you’ve presented, the teams that you’ve worked with, everything and anything you’ve deemed noteworthy throughout your career. Having this at the ready will make it so much easier to customize your resume as you apply to opportunities that excite you.
Lose the “objective”, it’s boring and it’s dated. All objectives read similarly, “Seeking a __ position in the field of __ that will allow me to use my skills and experience to benefit your company”. Boring. Kick it up a notch and craft a Summary that tells the employer who you are and why you are qualified. Imagine that your resume is a full-length feature film and your summary is the trailer. The trailer is probably what caught your attention to see that film in the first place, the movie (hopefully) is as exciting as that trailer was and leaves a lasting impression on you.
If you’ve found a perfect job opportunity that matches your skillset and excites you to no end, it’s your obligation to make sure your resume tells the right story. Customize your resume so that the person who reads it can easily tell that you have what the role requires. Refer back to your master resume and pull in the accomplishments from your experience that relate directly to the job that you’re applying to.
The easy way isn’t always the right way. Just because you can apply to dozens of roles with one click-of-a-button on a job board doesn’t mean that you should. Customize your resume and curate your bullet points so that recruiters can quickly point to your experience when discussing your qualifications with a hiring manager.
Make sure to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that make sense for the role that you are applying to. The rest is irrelevant and can be discussed in an interview if necessary.
Speaking of accomplishments, ditch words and phrases like “responsible for” and “assisted with” and swap them for strong action verbs that better describe what you were accountable for. On that same note, avoid phrases like “hard worker”, “strategic thinker” and “detail-oriented” - they’re all vague and fluffy. Use results you achieved to support what makes you a strategic thinker or a hard worker.
To support phrases that start with stronger action verbs, quantify your experience whenever possible. If you exceeded a sales goal, how much did you exceed it by and how did you achieve it? If you decreased the amount of time it took to complete a task, spell out how you did it. Dollars, time, and percentages will always catch a reader’s eye and will tell a more compelling story.
We live in a technology-driven world and many companies ask that you have experience using the technology that drives their business (or similar tools and technologies). Skip things like Email, Microsoft Office, etc in favor of those that make sense for the role. This could include coding languages, industry-related certifications, marketing platforms, and creative software.
Write it yourself! You can pay someone to write your resume for you, they can make it all shiny and new looking, but if you don’t know what to do with it or how to tailor it for future job opportunities then you’re wasting your money. You know your job history and accomplishments better than anyone, you should be the one to tell your story.
Lastly, show a little personality either in your letter of interest (if asked for one), your resume, or your application. At RevZilla, we have a field on our application that asks “In 150 characters or less, tell us what makes you unique.” This is a question that really allows candidates’ personalities to shine through and in high-volume roles like our Distribution Centers where all candidates might look very similar on paper this is how we can identify standouts.
I was first introduced to RecruitPhilly by Comoto’s Director of Talent Acquisition who is one of the Co-Founders of the non-profit. The annual RecruitPhilly conference was inspired by the success of RecruitDC. The objective is simple, to create opportunities for local recruiters to network and share ideas and best practices. The inaugural RecruitPhilly conference took place just last year after months of hard work by the Board Members and brought many local recruiters and HR practitioners together to hear from inspiring speakers including Ed Newman, the Chief Evangelist at PhenomPeople and Nick Bayer, CEO of Saxby’s along with a live recording of the Chad & Cheese Podcast. Events like this that typically require extensive travel and large professional development budgets are not always accessible to TA professionals, this is RecruitPhilly’s way of bringing incredible speakers to our hometown for a much more manageable price point. We are truly lucky to have this local event and such passionate Board Members committed to creating this experience for our local TA community and I was honored when they asked if I would jump in to be a part of the marketing committee. Unfortunately the 2020 RecruitPhilly Conference, like so many others, has been postponed until 2021 but I am very much looking forward to being an active member of growing the RecruitPhilly community around that highly anticipated event and others like it in the future.
Being hired to a lean recruiting team that at the time was in a period of incredible growth, I learned quickly the importance of being agile, staying sharp on best practices, and how to identify the right tools to get the job done. For me, success begins by having engaged hiring managers and having a great intake process. We call these our kickoff conversations and use that time to understand what our hiring teams really need so that we can go to work finding the right talent. A lot of curveballs can be thrown in during a search; the role may change, the interview process may change, you may even learn that there is a strong internal candidate that may be a best fit. Having an open and honest dialogue with my hiring managers is most important to the overall success as I navigate ever changing hiring processes.
As I’m sourcing for my hiring teams, I also lean heavily on tools that will help lighten the load. Fetcher has been a great tool that has helped me to cut down on my manual sourcing time and I complement their search with my own sourcing activities through LinkedIn and Google X-Ray for more niche sites. I frequently tap into Carmen Hudson’s Recruiter Hunt site to test and tinker with new tools and apps since technology and available chrome extensions are constantly changing, and I have a SocialTalent account that allows me to jump in and take online classes to brush up on everything from sourcing strategy to talent attraction to employer branding.
I learned about Fetcher through my Director of TA. He truly geeks out on TA tech and when our previous sourcing platform contract was coming close to completion, he invited me to jump on a demo call with Fetcher to see if it might make sense to consider an alternate tool. We quickly agreed that Fetcher would be a stronger resource for us as our team’s workload increased and made the leap. We have been incredibly impressed with the speed and accuracy of the leads that we are given for roles at various levels of the organization and anytime that there seems to be a bit of a mismatch between what we are looking for and the leads we are receiving, the Fetcher team is on the case and always reaches out to learn how they can refine the search. The platform itself is very user friendly and I am a big fan of the chrome extension and the speediness around finding accurate email addresses for independently sourced leads; it makes finding the right fit a truly collaborative effort.
Oh wow, remember what it was like to just book a trip and go somewhere? I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel extensively both domestically and internationally and have taken in the history, culture, artwork, and most importantly regional cuisine of incredible cities through the years. My favorite trip however, was a simple one, a recent one actually and one that I’ve taken dozens of times over - it was a long weekend to visit friends in New York City. I was in New York to attend HireConf and had convinced my husband to come up and spend the weekend after the event had wrapped up. With no agenda but to spend time with all of the friends that live in the city, we floated from neighborhood to neighborhood enjoying great food and drinks along the way, we found ourselves dancing into the night and rounded it out with the perfect slice of NYC pizza. It was truly one of those trips that you look back on and say, “we couldn’t have had a better time if we had tried to plan it” and will likely remain a favorite of mine because it involved all of my favorite people and allowed us to enjoy ourselves with a carefree spirit that I can only hope we can one day get back to.
Rebecca, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experiences with us. We appreciate all of your guidance and thoughts. So happy to have you in the Fetcher Family!
Know a recruiter who we should spotlight? Tell us about them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Fetcher, our mission is to introduce companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration. Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at fetcher.ai.