Every day, I get lots of emails from people struggling with their job search.
The folks that reach out to me tell me:
– They’re applying online and getting no interviews at all.
– When they send their network a copy of their resume, people just don’t reply.
– They are consistently passed over for candidates that are “a better fit.”
Conducting a job search is exactly like running a marketing campaign.
You’re marketing your skills and trying to close a sale.
What works for one person might not apply to your unique career history and goals.
Apple does not market the same way as RadioShack, and Target does not market the same way as Gucci. They have immensely different audiences, goods, and values.
In order to market your skills, your resume cannot be merely a summary of your work history or exhaustive list of job duties.
If you’re sick of getting automated rejections to your online applications, check your resume for the following three must-have’s:
Keywords or core competencies are a significant component of resumes. They need to be in your resume if you want to get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) most companies use. Keywords are also the shortcut hiring managers take to decide whether you’re a good fit for the job. If missing certain keywords, your resume might not even get looked at. Including the right keywords increases your chances of landing an interview and ultimately the job.
A Strong Opening
Hiring managers usually only go through the resume in detail if you’ve grabbed their attention in the beginning. Therefore, you need to place your best, most relevant assets at the top of the resume. Beef up your summary section with your most relevant strengths and follow each one with “proof.” “Proof” can be an accomplishment or certification that you can use to solidify the impact of your strengths.
You should also rearrange your resume so that the most relevant things go at the top. For example, if you’re a fresh graduate, if your degree is more relevant to your reader than your extracurricular activities (which one has equipped you with the most transferable skills?), you can start your resume off with your education.
Hiring managers usually look at a resume for less than ten seconds before deciding its fate. The resume format has a bigger part to play in their decision-making process than most people realize. Here’s a checklist for you to keep in mind when structuring your resume:
- Make sure your resume is easy on the eye and encourages the reader to go through all of the content. You can do this by including enough white space and bulleting text.
- Avoid using a two-column layout. It can scramble your resume in the Applicant Tracking Systems.
- Use of multi-row tables and graphs can make your resume look messy and there’s a slight possibility the Application Tracking System might find your resume hard to read.
- Information retention by the hiring managers is significantly higher too if you use a simple format and focus more on content. If you’re unsure what the best format for your resume is, you can check out my resume cheat sheet here.