If you are a job seeker, you most likely have read articles telling you what are the top things to do in order to get your resume noticed. There are countless opinions as to what makes the best and most impressionable impact on a hiring manager; there are a few unwritten rules as well as a few accepted norms. I have my own opinions to throw in to the lot.
1.) Keyword searching. As people lean more and more on technical advances to streamline the recruiting process, it is sure that if you have submitted your resume for review to multiple companies, it has at least once been perused by a digital gatekeeper. It is important to remember that many companies use software to qualify and rank candidates prior to a human ever laying eyes on your resume. These gatekeepers fail to see the dedication to layout, “interesting” font, or polished word choices you have carefully selected to put the most pizzazz on your points. Remember to have enough “meat” in your resume to appetize the screeners, as well as key words which correspond to the job you're applying for which will show up in keyword searches. This leads me to my next point
2.) Tailor your resume. Yes. It may be easiest to make one resume and hit the mass “send” button to 100 jobs. This may lead to success, but truly if you spend just a few moments to tweak your resume and pull out applicable experience for each position, you may meet with better success. This would add a more targeted approach to your search; you would apply for those positions with only those companies that you are really interested in. Again, pulling out key verbage or words from the job description itself may help with keyword searching mentioned above. Please do not take that as license to copy and paste directly from the job description as this is a sure way to end up in the bottom of the waste basket.
3.) Social Media. Realize what your social imprint is and use your network to the best of your advantage. Always make sure that your social networking profiles display your best self (if you do not have one, this is a great opportunity to get one, fast – LinkedIn is most useful for the professional job seeker). Ask for recommendations, post useful industry information, join professional associations online, etc. I guarantee prospective employers will look; I do every day. Also, connecting to people within a targeted company through LinkedIn may be a great way to push your experience to the forefront. Feel free to add a link to your successful LinkedIn profile on your resume.
4.) Keep it simple. Unless you are a graphic designer, keep your format simple and easy to read and impress them with a direct approach and display your experience. Here, I find “Objectives” to be just a time-waster. I prefer summaries that tell me why someone is a great fit for what I need. The “Objective” section is often bland and tells me very little about your actual experience. If your education is your strongest asset, list it first; the same with technical skills, certifications, or your experience. Lead with what is most relevant to the position and with your strongest asset.
5.) Action verbs and Uniqueness. Your resume may only be viewed for a few seconds before a manager moves on to the next; entice them! A list of responsibilities does little to tell me of what your experience is. The stronger action verb used, the greater the connection. Example:
- Customer service
- Created dynamic displays and implemented merchandising strategies to increase revenue through up-selling
Yes, the latter may be a little more “fluffy”, but you may see the idea. Also, demonstrate what you bring to the table that is different from others. A list of duties only tells of what you can do, I want to know what made you “special”; what made you an asset, someone indispensable to the company. If you created a new way of doing things, saved the company money, streamlined a process, increased efficiency- please share. The best examples of these are ones that are quantifiable.
6.) Be truthful. Remember to sell the best version of yourself, but that you must portray an accurate representation of your experience and skills. Never lie on your resume. Even if you do end up with the job, you can be fired later, a la Yahoo! CEO, Scott Thompson. Accurate education and work history (including employment dates) are essential; remember everything listed should be verifiable.
So what do you think? What is the best resume-writing advice you've ever received?
-Samantha Oster, Operations Coordinator