In today’s job market, hiring managers see hundreds of resumes cross their desk and in boxes every week. So what’s the best way to be sure yours shines above the rest and gets you an interview? Check out these five tips to ensure your resume gets noticed and leads to call backs for opportunities. —Aisha Taylor
Most job seekers include a laundry list of job duties and responsibilities rather than focusing on their accomplishments. Job duties are generally generic and standard for everyone in the same position, but your accomplishments are uniquely yours. If the employer interviews 10 sales associates, they will all have the same job duties, but you may be the only one who increased sales by 25% and was awarded salesperson of the month. So, focus less on what you did every day and more on what you actually accomplished. Employers will notice the difference.
Skip the objective. Objectives are outdated and rarely used in today’s world of professional resume writing. The purpose of the objective was to tell employers what you were seeking, i.e. “a challenging sales position.” Instead, the objective has now been replaced with a career profile or a summary of qualifications which tells employers exactly what you have to offer, i.e. “accomplished professional with 10 years sales experience.” Your resume should include a concise yet quality career profile which clearly indicates what you have to offer, rather than just what you desire. Employers are far more attracted to a candidate who actually brings something to the table.
Less is more. Overcrowded, unorganized, and hard-to-read resumes are likely to be placed at the bottom of the pile or moved into the trash bin on employers’ e-mail accounts. A well-formatted yet modest resume is more likely to get noticed than one with several fonts, overcrowding, confusing templates and inappropriate graphics. Your resume should be detailed yet concise while avoiding typical resume mistakes. Employers prefer easy-to-read resumes that clearly outline your skills and accomplishments.
Words are key. Your resume should include as many relevant keywords as possible. Avoid using general terms like “good communication skills” and “team player.” Instead, use keywords that match exactly what the employer is looking for. For example, if you’re pursuing a career in marketing, words like “research” and “promotions” will jump off the page and of course show up more on job search engines. Don’t waste precious resume space by using overused words that don’t mean much.
Cover Your… RESUME! The cover letter is extremely important when searching for a job. Many job seekers forget this important tool or consider it unnecessary. A well-written cover letter can seal the deal on getting an employers’ attention. The cover letter is your opportunity to explain things such as gaps in employment, career transition, and additional qualifications. It should always be submitted along with your resume, even when it isn’t required. Employers are always impressed by your extra effort.