Job hunt getting you down? Are you frustrated at a lack of response? These 7 tips will supercharge your resume and ensure that it stands out among the rest.
Tip #1: Cut and Paste?
Can someone else cut and paste what you wrote and put it on their resume? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to re-write your resume. A resume is a marketing tool. The #1 goal of a resume is to get an employer to call you and schedule an interview. Employers are looking at hundreds of resumes — so how do you get yours noticed? If it has the same generic wording as everyone else, it will most likely go to the trashcan. Your profile should grab the reader’s attention and compel them to keep reading. Showcase what you bring to the table and highlight your unique value. Employers want to know very specifically what you can do for them.
Tip #2: Less is Not Always More
Who told you that resumes must be 1 page? I rarely create a 1-page resume, and when I do, it is generally a recent graduate who has had little experience. If you have been in the workforce for more than a few years, then your resume will most likely be 2 pages. A solid resume is rich in content and accomplishments. If you can squish it all on 1 page, then you may have your reader asking, “What has this person been doing that they have nothing to show for it?” Even an entry-level candidate who has had solid internships and seasonal experience may need a 2-page resume.
A little extra tip — this does not mean that a resume should be wordy and contain irrelevant information. It needs to be strategic and concise. Concise does not mean using a font so small that your reader needs to whip out his/her reading glasses. Don’t tick off a potential employer! Some of us get annoyed at the reminder that we need reading glasses.
Tip #3: Professionalism
Competition is fierce and professionalism is crucial for job-seekers! So how can we make sure that the resume reflects a professional image?
Contact information needs to be clear and accurate. One designated phone number is best, and that number must have a professional voicemail (in your own voice), stating your name and asking for the person to leave a message. “Hey Whassup,” and “Kim, Mark, Fluffy, and Muffy aren’t home right now,” are not professional messages.
The e-mail address that you choose must also reflect professionalism. SoccerDad22@sample.com, Flirtygirl2U@sample.com — what do these say about your professionalism? Choose a professional e-mail address such as your name.
Check to make sure your content is aligned and your document is proofread. Proper attention to detail on your resume is an indication of your potential work ethic.
Tip # 4: Hobbies & Interests Section
At one time, this was a standard feature. With the exception of the entry-level graduate (and then only if it is relevant to the job search), this section is not recommended. What does the potential employer think if you have listed your high golf-score or all of the volunteer work that you do at the school? Do they think you are well rounded or that your time is otherwise occupied? How is “Little League Coach” applicable to your next job? Perhaps the person reading your resume is thinking, “Well, I guess he’ll be running out the door every night at 5:30.” Keep your resume as a marketing tool of what you have to offer the employer. If you aren’t selling yourself, leave it out.
Tip # 5: Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Don’t let great job opportunities “pass you over” - hop to it! The last thing you want is to have a chance meeting with someone or get introduced to someone who asks for your resume and you are unprepared! Or, they say they will look you up on LinkedIn, and they can’t find you! Job searching today is a proactive activity. Make sure your marketing tools are all in place and represent you appropriately. Throwing together a profile and resume at the last minute is reactive, and the quality of your materials will suffer.
Tip # 6: Lack of Experience
Parents of recent college graduates may ask why some students are successful procuring a position after college and others are not. Often, students are lacking needed skills and experience and this makes the difference. Classroom education is only one component of post-college preparation. If your student has buried his/her head in the books for 4 years, or spent summers having fun and working in jobs that provided little value to add to their resume, then he/she may have missed out on crucial “real world” experience. Internships and actual work within an industry of interest or a business setting can prepare students in several ways: how to work in an office setting and use office tools, experience working in diverse settings, being part of a team environment. daily interaction with challenging co-workers/superiors, etc.
Is your resume lacking valuable content? Simply having a degree does not entitle anyone to a position within their preferred field. So, do some additional homework. Find out what employers are looking for, and if you are lacking in experience or skills, then it’s time to put in your time and acquire what you need to be competitive.
Tip # 7: Don’t Waste Their Time
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make on their resume is wasting the reader’s time. When a recruiter or hiring manager has a stack 2 feet high of potential applicants, they do not want their time wasted. If your resume is not easy to navigate and does not get to the point quickly, it will end up in the trashcan. Does it have a header? If not, then your reader may need to dig through your resume to find out who you are. Why bother when they can simply grab the next document in their pile? By quickly scanning the resume, (in less than 6 seconds) can the reader see the specific value that you might add to the organization? (Examples – how you can save them money, generate business, lead a team…) If you make it easy for the hiring manager to read you resume, you are more likely to be called for an interview.
Your reader is not interested in every little detail. Keep your resume current, concise, and relevant. Including the kitchen sink is not necessary and hurts your chances of receiving a phone call.
Follow these tips to get your resume on the top of the pile!