Have you been applying to jobs round the clock, with nothing to show for it? Many job seekers take this personally, and end up getting discouraged about the entire process. The thing is, you really shouldn’t let it get you down. Most of the time, your resume is the reason you’re not getting called for an interview.
It’s not enough to simply list your work experience; you need to get the attention of hiring managers and employers. Sound complicated? It’s not really. You just need to make the most out of the only real tool at your disposal: your resume!
Here are five simple ways to get better results from your resume.
List your accomplishments
Recruiters spend an average of 10 seconds skimming resumes. That’s obviously not a lot of time. Your resume, therefore, needs to quickly illustrate your potential value, and the easiest way to do this is by detailing a prior history of success. A bullet list right off the top can get attention, and help hiring managers zero in on some of the best skills. Keep in mind, though, that accomplishments are more impressive and memorable if they are quantified (read: use numbers!).
For example, a sales executive who states that they contributed over one million dollars in annual sales will most likely get the attention of a prospective employer (and set themselves apart from other candidates).
Use action words
Using numbers is one way to help your accomplishments stand out, but the words you use throughout your resume can also have a major impact.
When describing duties and responsibilities, try to avoid using the same words over and over again (like ‘responsible for’). Focus instead on action-oriented words that hint at achievement (‘introduced’ or ‘streamlined’). For example, a job description that says you “arranged meetings for company staff” can be made more interesting in this way: “facilitated meetings to strategize growth solutions and company initiatives.”
These action words create a more engaging resume and showcase how you have contributed to previous employers.
Use a professional summary section
This section is considered one of the most important components of a resume, and for good reason: apart from your cover letter, this is what will create a first impression. Using the suggestions above, set out to create an engaging professional summary section that is easy to read (with bullets and headers) and concise.
If you’re just entering the workforce (or re-entering after an extended absence), you can use an objectives section instead. This lays out some of your goals and ambitions and can help tell your story when the experience just isn’t there.
Incorporate qualifications listed in job postings
A resume should be tailored to each specific job posting. That doesn’t mean you have to re-write your resume for every application, but you should be making necessary tweaks to ensure that it aligns with the expectations of the hiring manager. Review the qualifications in the job description, keeping an eye out for the keywords and terms used. Are these same words found in your resume? If not, look to incorporate them where possible.
It’s also a good idea to create a core competencies sections within a resume. You can then easily include mandatory skills found in the job description, increasing your chances of making it through the first screening of candidates.
Proofread your resume
You should always get someone to review their resume. Once a hiring manager or employer finds a spelling error, chances are he or she will stop reading the resume.
Ozzie Saunds is a career specialist at the InspiredMinds Group.
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