Your resume is the key to winning an interview. Statistically, hiring managers and human resource coordinators spend 10 to 20 seconds reviewing your resume. In that time period, you need to make your resume stand out from the other 100 they’ve received and warrant a follow-up call to learn more about you.
In a competitive market, you have to design a resume that will make it through the different screening processes and onto the hiring manager’s desk. Connections, relationships and networking can help, but ultimately your resume is the most important marketing tool you have and should outline the great skills and experience you bring to the position.
Instead of finding good examples of resumes online and copying them, you should learn the basics of how to make your resume stand out. The strategies you will learn are not only valuable for building a great resume, but also marketing yourself and abilities in the office after you get the job.
Match Your Resume To The Job Description
Have you ever had trouble finding the right professional language to describe your current job description, responsibilities and duties? Why not use the job posting itself to write your resume? By using the same keywords and industry buzzwords, you establish relevance and a connection with the hiring manager, effectively demonstrating that you possess the skills and experience to fulfill the job’s expectations.
Additionally, many staffing agencies and human resource departments use keyword-software to filter through resumes and identify strong candidates with the qualifications for a position. For example, if a job posting calls for you to be an R.N. or Registered Nurse, it is critical that you mention these certifications on your resume using both forms of the word.
Your resume needs to be relevant to the job listing. Resume power words and industry keywords will help, but you also need to make sure you pull out all of the skills, accomplishments, industry certifications, continuing education courses, and seminars that highlight why you are the right candidate for the position. It takes time, but with good research, you can make your experience match the job. This makes it virtually impossible for the human resource manager not to call you and schedule an interview.
The Right Type of Resume
Different professional fields have different types of resumes. For example, if you are an educator or professor, you will want a curriculum vita (CV). When you are looking for your first job after college, you should list your university and degree first. As you become more experienced, you list your work experience and achievements at the top chronologically, followed by your degree and industry certifications.
Use A Professional Profile
Instead of using a mission statement or objective at the top of your resume, create a professional profile. This is a two to four sentence statement that highlights what past experience, accomplishments, and skills you can bring to the company. This will go at the top of the resume and make your resume stand out from the crowd if the HR manager is in a rush and spending just a few seconds glancing at all the resumes. Your professional profile should be written specifically for certain industries – highlighting the same skill sets and experience in your resumes doesn’t make sense if you are applying as a sales representative and financial analyst.
List Accomplishments vs. Duties
After you have gained work experience, begin to look at your resume differently. Instead of listing the duties that you were in charge of, emphasize your accomplishments and how they benefited your company. List any initiatives you managed or led, and the way those projects earned or saved your company money. Be sure to incorporate numbers as a way to showcase results.
Instead of writing “developed and implemented a new sales tracking system”, discuss how you “developed and implemented a new sales tracking system that generated an additional $10 million in sales by leveraging cross-selling strategies and promotions.” This shows initiative and it turns your resume into how you can help your perspective employer.
After all, every employer wants to know exactly how you will bring value to their team, department, or business and evidence that you’ve delivered results in the past. Many candidates promise results, however only few can deliver. As Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
Take the time to create a digital version of your resume, as well as the version you print out and take with you to interviews. The resume that you email or upload should not have strange formatting issues when it is viewed. You can use hyperlinks in your resume to link to your LinkedIn profile, your online resume, portfolio or other media you have created. This will help your resume stand out and give the hiring manager an easier way to access all of your credentials.
If you attach your resume within an email, send yourself a copy to check how the formatting is holding up. If you have a PC, make sure that your resume will open up properly on a Mac, and vice versa. You do not want any simple formatting errors to stand in the way of you getting that first interview.
Don’t Skip The Professional Achievements, Awards and Skills
It is important to mention all of your relevant professional achievements, awards, and skills. If you’ve received “Employee of the Month”, “Top Sales Associate”, “Best Customer Service Representative”, or other business awards, list it in this section of your resume.
If you’ve had your work published in a prestigious industry publication or received honors from a professional organization, share the name of the award, the organization, date, and a brief description. Belonging to a professional organization can also show your commitment to staying competitive and up-to-date in the field.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Proofread your resume, and then have your significant other proofread it. After that, ask your family, friends, professors and esteemed colleagues to proofread it. The more eyes you have look at it, the more likely you are to catch any errors that you’ve made. If you do not know anyone that is a stickler for grammar, ask a friend of a friend or hire someone.
Send It To The Right People – Decision-Makers
When you submit your resume, make sure you are using the right channels and addressing the right people. If the job posting mentions the hiring manager’s name, address your email, cover letter and resume to that person. Do not start with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Hi”.
If you have connections at the company, you can ask them to forward your resume, mention you to the human resources managers, or follow up with the status of your application. These relationships can help your resume stand out and get the extra attention you need.
The Power of Social Media
Linking to your social media profiles in your email, cover letter and/or resume can help HR see your endorsements, recommendations, and online resume. Take the time to really build out your LinkedIn profile. This can also be an excellent way to find contacts and build your professional network. You can do the same thing to your Google+ profile, another social media site that many professionals are beginning to use and share information through.
Beyond social media, make yourself searchable online by developing a website that you can use as an online resume or personal portfolio for the type of work you do. You can update the blog each time you get a new job, get promoted, or earn awards. If you are mentioned in articles, publications, or on your company’s website, link to those articles to build credibility.
Obviously the type of website you maintain will depend on your career and industry. For example, you need an online portfolio if you plan to work as an artist, photographer, singer, dancer, choreographer, journalist, freelancer, or writer.
At The Interview
Finally, when you go into the interview, it is always a good idea to take a physical copy of your portfolio and resume with you. You should create a professional folder that contains all your documents and do not skimp on the paper that you use. Be sure you choose a heavy, high quality paper and that everything from your business card to the paper is well-coordinated, styled, and consistent. This is your last impression, and it needs to be as good as your first impression.