Create a resume that gets the right kind of attention.
Job seekers understand that a resume is important. They spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to write a good one and this is a wise investment. Still, many struggle with the technical aspects of writing resumes.
Savvy job seekers want to know how to think about their resume. The entire goal for a resume is to provide credibility and generate interest in you as a candidate. Is your resume driving activity in your job search?
I’ve collected my best tips to help you understand and simplify the process to create big impact and start getting interviews. Here are some things to think about:
- No one actually reads an entire resume. Modern technology makes it so that no one even sees the document you put together unless you email it to a person directly or hand it to them in person, so keep your design simple. No fancy fonts or crazy symbols.
- Make it easy for people to find you. List your contact information in the appropriate places on your resume and don’t forget to include your email and cell phone number as well. Include this in your email signature as well. Don’t make people work to have to find you.
- Your resume is a sales piece about yourself. Your focus should always be on your “buyer’s” perspective. Stay away from statements that focus on what you want from your new company, but rather highlight the value you bring to the prospective company.
- Make sure you can back up your claims. Nothing is worse for a candidate who lists great experience on their resume, but can’t come up with any examples to substantiate that experience. Don’t be a job seeker who misspeaks about skills they have listed. It instantly robs you of credibility.
- Use the right key words. Use common words in your industry so when a company runs a search of their candidate database or of all the people who applied, your resume will come up in the search. Stay away from internal lingo and abbreviations.
- You must have relevant experience. Employers want to see that you have the skills and experience they are looking for in your most recent job history. From a company perspective, hiring people is a tough decision with a lot of risks involved. Your resume should appropriately address those risks and give credibility to your experience so they will want to interview you.
- Be wise with your bullets. Since no one will read the whole thing, list what’s most important first. Our tendency is to list what you do most frequently on the job first—resist that pitfall. Think about what’s most relevant to the person hiring for the job. Also, give context to your achievements so people understand how to interpret your accomplishments. For example, if you rank in the top ten percent of 100 sales people, I want to know about it. Use numbers whenever possible.
- Most recruiters and HR people want to see chronological resumes with dates, company names, and titles. If you use a functional resume, you run the risk that they will assume you are trying to hide something or that you’ve been out of the workforce for a period of time. Hiring Managers are typically more tolerant of the functional format. A targeted resume is a great compromise. It highlights your skills first, but provides the chronological element that HR wants to see.
- No need to broadcast your age if you are worried your age is a disadvantage. Make sure you indicate that you graduated from school/college and be sure to list your degree, but you don’t have to put a date on it. Don’t emphasize over 20 years of experience, if you are responding to a posting that states they are looking for someone with 5-8 years of experience.
- Use several different versions of your resume and customize it for each position when possible. Make your resume relevant. Go back to the language of the job posting itself to determine what you should say in your resume. Think about it. The company just published to you in writing what they want. Why not use some of the words they recognize in your response back to them?
A resume is a marketing tool to sell you. Clever thinking about your resume is great preparation for interviewing. The resume’s job is to get you the interview. Use these tips and watch the number of interview invitations skyrocket.
This is in conjunction with Job Action Day 2017.