For many, the thought of ‘putting pen to paper’ is intimidating. For job seekers, it can be especially challenging if you’ve been off the market for a few years.
The job market is more competitive, technology is playing a larger role, and today’s resume is more aligned with the employer’s needs rather than what the candidate is seeking.
It is always wise to have an updated resume ready should a new opportunity come your way, but before you start writing, make sure you apply these insights to make sure your document is the best it can be and connects with your target audience!
Things to Ditch. To stand out and win interviews, remove:
- Objective Statement—the classic “I’m seeking a challenging role.”
- Your Responsibilities—basic information that hiring managers are already familiar with that looks something like this: “Responsible for managing staff, P&L, product marketing, demand generation.”
- References Upon Request—they will ask for references when the time comes.
- Resume templates—avoid them. You want your resume to stand out not blend in.
Open with Your Value. Immediately engage the reader by providing a summary of the skills, experiences, and achievements you bring to the table.
- Condense your elevator pitch (why you are the best candidate for the job) into a tag line.
- Provide an accurate overview of your key strengths and proof of how you made a difference (using quantifiable achievements that demonstrate your ability to deliver on your promises.)
Employer’s hire because of their needs. It is up to you to convey how you will strengthen their organization.
Number of Pages. The one-page myth remains strong. My advice use the space you need to tell the story of your career, but be as concise as possible.
- Remove text-dense paragraphs and unnecessary details.
- Remove early career stints unless directly related to the position currently being sought. Even then, remove excessive details.
- Choose a readable font / font size. Scripty 9pt font might look great to you, but no one will take the time to read it.
Integrate Keywords Throughout Your Document. With search engines, we’ve all become accustom to using keywords to find what we are looking for. Recruiters / Hiring Managers do the same via applicant tracking system software. Aside from ATS software, LinkedIn is also a vehicle for applicant searches making keyword optimization a must.
- Choose keywords that highlight and align your knowledge, skills, and abilities with the requirements of the job.
- Include variations of the same keyword: Chief Executive Officer / CEO
Quantify Your Accomplishments. Breathe life into your career story by using numbers (dollar signs, percentages) that showcase the impact you’ve made throughout your career. Provide context to further bolster your credibility and provide an accurate picture of your value.
Writing is simple, but it isn’t easy. A carefully crafted resume –one that showcases your value, highlights your achievements, and weaves together an impactful story of your career –will open doors to new opportunities and compel the reader to take the next action –call you in for an interview.
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