In a competitive job market, the best positions will often collect hundreds of resumes. It is quite likely that “you” will have less than 30 seconds to prove to the hiring manager that you are a person worth pursuing for the position. This places enormous importance on making sure that your resume stands out and, equally important, stands out for the right reasons. Here are five simple ways to make sure that you get their attention.
- Use descriptive, “power” words in conjunction with the terminology found in the job description provided. For example, let say that you have worked in accounts payable for several years and are now looking at a supervisory position. Which description do you believe would do a better job of grabbing the hiring manager’s attention? “completed accounts payable” or “managed the accounts payable process” An important keyword here is “managed” showing that you have leadership qualities. How about this next one? “assigned workload to other co-workers” or “directed workflow and supervised the junior staff in the completion of journal entries”. I am guessing you get the point.
- Layout the resume so that it clearly highlights the most important information. In the past, the recommendation was to make your resume look different. Set it up in tables, use graphics or put it on bright yellow paper. I even had one resume that was black with white writing. The reality is that most companies now utilize software that will scan the information on your resume and import it into a database making it searchable. These “pretty” resumes often get rejected because the software does not know how to process it. It is important to make sure that the resume is simple and effective. Highlight your skills, experience and education. Let the words not the look of the resume show the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job.
- Have your friends and relatives review your resume, not just once, but several times. Grammar and spelling are very important. You want to make sure that you communicate the right image to the hiring manager. I cannot count the number of resumes that I receive that have glaring errors. This shows a lack of attention to detail and caring on your part. I recently received a resume in which the job searcher substituted the word “for” with the number “4” in every instance. You are not texting or tweeting in a resume. You are not limited to 140 characters. What you are limiting by doing this is your ability to get a job.
- Use bullet points, not lengthy paragraphs, to detail your skills and experience. No hiring manager has enough time to read through all the resumes that they receive. Keep the information organized, to the point and easy to read.
- Do not use a generic resume for every position that you apply for. Yes, it is easier and less time consuming to create one resume and send it out to every position. If you really want to be noticed, you need to tailor your resume for every position that you apply for. Each position is different and warrants a resume designed just for it. There is nothing wrong with having your resume template to start with. Just don’t make this template your final product. Remember to make sure to utilize descriptive, “power” words and the terminology found in the job description. As well, ensure that you tailor your information to draw a parallel between your experience and what the company is looking for.
As my final thoughts, I would suggest to anyone reading this article that you create a resume even if you are not currently looking for work. As I made my way through the ranks in the companies I worked with, I would revised my resume every year or anytime there was a significant change in my job responsibilities. This approach will ensure that you do not forget any important information or accomplishments over time and it will take the pressure off if you ever need one in a hurry.
Do you have any tips for getting a resume noticed?