April 1, 2016

Your Resume Counts For at Least 50 Percent of Your Success

Sun Field

You’re on the lookout for a new job. You’ve purchased some nice clothes for interviews, gotten your references in order, and updated your resume with your latest employment information. You are ready to begin submitting yourself for new jobs.

Well, maybe not. If all you’ve done to your resume is slap on some additional work history, you may be cheating yourself out of more interview callbacks than you realize. Today, new resume-scanning technology combined with the fact that hiring managers are simply more discerning means that you will really have to step up your game if you want your resume to get noticed.

Here are a few tips that you can use to create a resume that is more likely to get you interviews in a competitive job market:

Focus on Accomplishments, Not Job Descriptions

When hiring managers look at resumes, they want to see accomplishments, not just job descriptions.

Here are two examples. The first is an example of a resume entry that is simply a job description; the second details meaningful accomplishments while also communicating the details of the position itself:

1. ABC Chocolates and Confections, Candy Dipper and Store Clerk, 2012 – 2016

Made various chocolates and confections adhering to company recipes and standards of quality and cleanliness. Packed orders for in-store and online customers. Greeted customers and checked them out.

2. ABC Chocolates and Confections, Candy Dipper and Store Clerk 2012 – 2016

Dipped chocolates and confections by hand using a decades-old traditional recipe. Provided entertainment for customers by demonstrating old-fashioned candy making techniques. Created beautiful, custom-made chocolate gift packages for in-store and online customers. Ensured that customers who came into the store were happy with their experience and helped them make their purchases.

In the second version, the job seeker makes it clear that they created a store environment that was enjoyable for customers. That’s going to be much more appealing to a hiring manager than a regurgitation of a job description. When you highlight your accomplishments, you also demonstrate your work ethic and enthusiasm.

Write to Impress a Hiring Manager Who Is Not Interested in Looking at Your Resume

TrailHere is an intimidating but true fact: Most resumes are scanned for only a few seconds before they are either pitched or added to the callback pile. This means that your job is to impress as quickly as possible. To do this, you’ll need to think like a hiring manager. Here are a few of the things that they will be looking for when they read your resume:

  1. Keywords relating to the specific skills and experiences they are hiring for
  2. Management and leadership roles
  3. Career progression
  4. Links to your professional social media pages and blogs
  5. No significant gaps in employment or job hopping without explanation

You’ll want to not only hit these points, but also make sure they stand out. Use bold print to certain things really pop. Add lots of whitespace, and use headlines to make your important points as scannable as possible. If the company you have applied to uses resume-scanning software, this formatting will also help your resume pass the selection process.

Skip the Objective Statement

Everybody writes essentially the same objective statement. It’s a waste of time. You and the hiring manager both know that your objective is to get the job that you are applying for. Instead, write a brief summary of who you are and what you can do. That will grab the attention of hiring managers right away. Here’s an example:

Experienced social media manager with 10 years of experience handling social media accounts for Fortune 100 companies.

Consider Your Industry When Writing Your Resume

There are a lot of really cool things that you can do with your resume today. Some people are creating infographics instead of regular resumes, while others are opting to distribute video resumes.

Unfortunately, unless you are in a creative field such as art or design, these aren’t really options for you. Basically, the more conservative the industry you work in, the more conservative your resume formatting should be.

Read more in Resume Writing

Patrick Cole was born in Indiana and graduated from Indiana University High School. He received his higher education from Indiana University Bloomington. He is a freelancer and entrepreneur. His hobbies are writing, rock music, and self-education. You can read more of his work on his blog, http://resumes.expert/blog.