The next few months are crucial for final-year college students. It involves selecting a line of work, going through placement processes and interviews, and generally taking the first steps towards the rest of their lives. The process can lead to more questions than answers.

This series, the Class of 2024, aims to simplify the way to navigate the world beyond the campus by talking about the sectors with opportunities, ways to use online platforms and preparing resumes, among other things.

The seventh of the 10-part series looks at the role of resumes in landing that job.

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Resume is a key requirement for freshers looking for jobs. This document becomes even more critical when they are searching for jobs directly, without going through campus placements.

HirePro, a virtual hiring services platform, says that a recent analysis on the role of resumes shows that the average number of applications for common job roles are quite high. So students should pay special attention to make their resumes stand apart.

HirePro’s report says there are 3,504 applications on an average for customer service roles, 1,844 applications for data analyst and 1,484 for Java Developer roles. This leads to a selection challenge. Less than 10 people who apply get shortlisted; 75% do not get past the initial screening and 30% do not get a chance to be noticed despite having the required skills.

It is tough to create objective rankings through resume-based information. So people who apply early or people who can join quickly get chosen for the subsequent round of selection.From the job seeker’s point of view, the report says the issue remains with a “spray and pray” approach — applying to a multitude of companies, without customising the resumes. Those with 0-2 years of experience make over 153 applications on an average. Again, it takes over 10-20 applications to get an interview and about 10-15 to get an offer.
But the issue is not about getting the resume noticed.

Focusing on the right skills

The report says that 56% of candidates claim on the resume that they have skills that they hardly know. Given many companies today use automated software algorithms to screen resumes based on keywords, there could be a tendency to stuff keywords in the document. But this approach does not help in an interview if the skills are not real. Usage of professional resume services and possible help from AI tools can only make this more glaring in today’s times.Recruiters are aware of this problem. About 85% of the recruiters say they believe candidates often do not share the right information on resumes and that they like to look at alternatives to ensure effective hiring.

Answers seem to emerge from a focus on behavioural skills and not just on technical skills.

The report states 92% of job descriptions have specific behavioural requirements for jobs as organisations have realised that these factors and cultural fit play a key role in employee success in an organisation.

However, the analysis of 500 job descriptions and 4 million resumes show that just 38% of the people mention behavioural traits in their resumes.

Rising importance of skill-based assessments

In the traditional resume-based hiring method, biases can creep in based on pedigree and common connections. On the other hand, assessment-based hiring is more based on skills. Skill-based assessments can help both the recruiters and the candidates to reduce hiring bias, and to make more objective decisions.

In 2023, 65% of the recruiters in HirePro’s survey say skills are looked at more than experience. This could be another reason for freshers to look at building viable skills, backed by credible certifications, to bolster their job search.

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