Whether or not you ace an interview depends on your personality, ability to stay calm under pressure and whether or not you can effectively sell yourself. Of course, none of this matters if you don’t land the job interview in the first place. This is why writing an amazing resume is extraordinarily important.
A great resume will make a hiring manager snap to attention. A mediocre one will be passed over in as little as six seconds. If you want to be sure that your resume always falls in the first category, check out these five tips for writing a killer resume.
Keep in mind that your resume isn’t going to be read. Instead, it will be scanned. Sometimes this will be done with human eyes. In many instances, resumes are scanned by software packages specifically designed for HR teams. The software looks for specific keywords and other information. Then, it filters out the resumes that are most likely to be relevant.
The way around this is to use relevant keywords. You can start by picking words and phrases from the job listing to which you are responding. Items such as years of experience, degree required, technical skills can all be translated into keywords. Make sure these make it onto your resume. You can also glean keywords from current industry publications.
For example, if a job listing says:
“Web designer wanted. Four years of professional experience working for major corporations preferred. Must know HTML5, Ajax, and Java. Financial industry experience is a must. Great customer service skills”
Your keywords are:
If you can fit all of these or a variation of these into your resume, you will be much more likely to earn yourself a second look.
If you haven’t already stopped the tired practice of using an objective at the beginning resume, please do so now. An objective statement does nothing to add to your resume. It’s virtually the same thing on every resume. The objective is to get a job as an X in X industry with a company that has opportunities to advance.
To paraphrase, ‘Ask not what your future employer can do for you – state what you can do for your future employer.’ Replace your objective with a summary that communicates what you can do for them. Then, add a wow factor. This will be something attention getting and catchy that really highlights what you have to offer.
Here’s one example:
“Digital marketing strategist with more than a decade of experience helping small businesses grow through creating an online presence. Created an online strategy that resulted in one business increasing social media engagement by 300%.”
Of course at some point, you will be expected to quantify any claims that you make, but throwing in an important statistic at the beginning can really work wonders. If you would prefer to pay someone to do my resume, pick a company that focuses on killer resume design as well as writing great resumes and uses this strategy.
Don’t put your duties and responsibilities on your resume. If you need to prove that you have a particular skill, put that in the skills section of your resume. Nobody cares what you did on a daily basis. They care about the results of your efforts and whether or not you added value.
If you worked as a retail clerk, don’t write that you swept floors and kept the aisles clear for customers. Instead, say that you maintained a clean and safe environment for patrons. If you worked as a tax accountant, don’t write out a detailed list of the duties involved in carrying out that position. Use the space in your resume to talk about helping clients navigate the auditing process or saving businesses money on taxes and other fees.
What you accomplish by doing this is establishing ownership of your position and getting the job done. When people read “I swept the floors,” there’s nothing for them to get out of that other than you moved a broom across the floor. When they read “I kept the store clean and safe,” that indicates to them that you took ownership and responsibility for keeping the place clean and safe, and that you were successful at doing it.
Whoever reads your resume wants to get through it as quickly as possible. Brevity is always appreciated. Get right down to business and describe what you know how to do and what you have accomplished. Don’t waste time on phrases like, ‘duties included’. Dump adverbs and articles wherever possible as well.
When describing your skills and experience, go for power words. Led, took over, administered, taught, mentored, trained, sold are just a few examples. Then, add even more power to your claims by providing numbers and other evidence. If you believe you were the best at something, say that. If you won an award, make that clear as well.
Your resume might speak to your past, but your goal is to focus on the future and get the job that you want. This is why it’s extremely important to craft your resume in a way that highlights the skills and experience that you have that qualify you for the job that you want.
If you are looking to advance or change careers, that may mean that you spend less time emphasizing your main duties and more time spotlighting the ancillary tasks that you performed. For example, if you are a salesperson who wants to apply for a position as a customer service manager, your sales percentages may not matter very much. Instead, you might focus on ways that you created good customer experiences or went out of your way to help customers after they had made purchases.
Apply these tips for a killer resume and you are sure to gain plenty of traction. By letting potential employers know what you can do for them and focusing on the future, you will greatly increase your chances of getting those coveted, interview call-backs.
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Amanda Sparks, professional psychologist and blogger, author at Huffington Post. Being first dedicated to scientific research, I changed my approach and decided to share my knowledge and experience via blogging world. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.