If you’re going to spend a lot of time writing an effective resume, you might as well know the secrets to making it pop. You only have a few seconds to impress a recruiter before they move on to the next resume. Resume writing is an art not many people have mastered, but the ones who understand it will have a higher likelihood of landing the job they desire. Here are four ways you may not have known could help your resume stand out!
Targeting Is Key
The best resume writing service will advise you to target every aspect of your resume. Mention the specific job you’re applying for and your exact accomplishments. Avoid putting in accomplishments not relevant to the job you want, no matter how good it looks. The hiring manager is only interested in what you can do for them so they won’t care about a certain accomplishment if it doesn’t translate to their job.
Keywords are tricky because you don’t always know which ones recruiters are looking for. Instead of being general about skills and accomplishments, be specific. A professional resume writing service can help you identify keywords based on the job you’re applying for. The more you use keywords throughout your resume, the more likely your resume will be noticed. Just be careful not to saturate your resume to the point where it reads unnaturally. Try checking out the job description you are looking at for more keywords.
Tailor Your Resume to the Job You’re Searching For
Any professional resume writing service will tell you there’s nothing worse than using the same resume for different jobs. Recruiters can easily identify when someone just blindly sends their resume to them. Put in a few statements about how you will help their company based on your research about them. Showing you’ve researched the company and understand their needs will go a long way in making your resume stand out.
Use a Performance Profile
Your performance profile should show how your skills match the objectives of the company and the ability to do the job you’re applying for. A good tip is to look at the job and skill requirements on the job posting and incorporate those points in your performance profile. Many companies will use the keywords they’re looking for in their job description so that’s a great way to target your resume to the job and match your performance capabilities with their job opening.
In today’s busy world, getting your resume to stand out among the rest can seem like an impossible task. By using these four tips, you should see more success.
Keywords in a resume? Who needs them? If you’re trying to land a c-level position, you need them! More than three quarters of employers rely on keywords to narrow their vast pool of applicants to choose the most promising and bring them to the interview stage.
Why Keywords Are Important in a Resume
Recruiters looking for the winning c-level resume for a specific position rely on automated resume databases to cull through hundreds and often thousands of online resume submissions collected by a firm. When a recruiter places an ad for a position opening, he or she usually includes a punch list of must-have criteria for the successful applicant.
Similarly, when sorting through resumes of applicants responding to the position, he or she will use must-have keywords. These might include the name of the city where the position is based, specific skills, required foreign languages, programming languages or educational degrees. The recruiter enters these keywords into his or her search criteria and may immediately cull 4,000 resumes down to 76. He or she will then quickly scan those 76, spending literally seconds on each one to decide if it is a “keeper.” The more must-have keywords he or she sees in that brief scan, the more likely that candidate will move to the next stage and land a phone or in-person interview.
Effective Ways to Use Keywords to Boost Your Interview Odds
You can use keywords to your advantage when you know how important they are. When you are applying for a c-level job, jot down buzz words from the punch list of “must-have” qualifications in the job posting. In addition to using these words often and as near the top of your resume a possible, use them in your cover letter. Recruiters expect a good executive resume cover letter to be concise and to the point and to spell out quickly why they should take a closer look at the resume it is introducing. Fitting in the most important keywords without appearing to “keyword stuff” your cover letter is an art. The best approach is to enlist guidance from the best resume writing service you can find to boost your chances.
Beyond creating an intriguing executive resume cover letter, it’s a good idea to create a “skills” punch list to include in your resume. Regurgitate the “must-haves” from the job listing into a “skills” section for your resume. Last but not least, use keywords naturally throughout your resume to boost the odds a recruiter’s automated system will flag you as an outstanding candidate.
Invest in Skilled Professional Help
When you’re seeking a c-level position, your c-level resume should change with each job you apply for. This can be time-consuming and a bit mind-boggling if writing isn’t your forte. Don’t risk losing out on a perfect position because your resume or cover letter wasn’t up to par. Do yourself a favor and hire a pro with a proven track record. Contact us and leave the details to us.
If your resume is not getting the results you’d expect based on your skills and experience, maybe it needs to be evaluated. All the information could be perfect; perfectly bland. Here’s a fast way to evaluate your resume, and it’s based on the way it will be evaluated when it reaches that VIP looking for someone to fill a position:
Pick up your resume and scan it for 30 seconds, then cover it and write down what you remember.
Actually, thirty seconds might be longer than most HR people look at it, but they have developed serious speed reading skills. What do you remember about your resume? What stands out?
Now consider that your resume is something you are familiar with — and it was probably hard to remember what you said about yourself. Imagine what it’s like to read through hundreds of resumes in an attempt to find the best candidates to call in for interviews! These people don’t know you, and they do know what they need in the position.
Be Memorable and Consistent
The keywords that need to be there are the words used in the job ad, because that’s what they are looking for. But you are offering a unique spin on that because of your individuality. Build on that uniqueness by presenting yourself with synonyms of those keywords where it’s appropriate and keep a consistency throughout your resume by answering the question in their mind:
Why should I hire you?
Another way to say the same thing is, “who are you and what do you bring to this position?” If the answer to the question in their mind isn’t obvious, then you need to work on your resume until it can answer that question with fast and clear.
Have you ever made a word cloud? The most popular version of a word (or tag) cloud generator is Wordle, but there are many other options out there. Teachers love creating word clouds for visual learners because it helps the student see the most frequently used vocabulary in a text. But you can use your favorite word cloud generator to compare the frequency of words in a job opening and your resume.
Here’s why I think this is a good idea: you’ll quickly see if any words in your resume match the words in the ad.
What you are seeing in that word cloud is the key vocabulary in the text — keywords. Resume keywords play an important role in getting your resume into the “call for interview” pile on an important desk. You’ll also get an idea of how often you use certain words to describe yourself. Does your resume word cloud show an active, effective candidate? Does anything match the word cloud of the position you are applying for? If it doesn’t, then you have some work to do on your resume.
The closer your language matches the language in the ad, the more apt you are to be seen as a “match” for the position. It should go without saying that I’m not telling you to make stuff up, because lying on a resume is a bad idea. But highlighting the similarities between your qualifications and the qualifications of the candidate they are seeking is a good idea.
If you are a visual learner, using a word cloud generator to evaluate your resume and the job opening is an easy way to see which words are being used most often and decide what to do with the way your resume is written.
One of the most often used phrases on a resume is usually found under the heading “Career Objective,”or “Career Summary” and the same phrase is used over and over without regard to profession. It’s a generic phrase that your career objective is to find a job somewhat related to the degree you studied for in college. The exact wording varies slightly, but it all means the same thing: you haven’t put much thought into your career.
It’s understandable when you are unemployed and willing to take basically any position offered that you might use a generic phrase. It’s still a mistake. You need to, at the very least, tailor it to match the specific job you are applying for and to be different enough from others applying for the job that you merit attention from the hiring manager. Better still is to spend the time thinking about your dream job and to state your actual career objective.
It doesn’t matter if your objective is above, or even skewed from, the position to which you are applying. You can address this, briefly, in your cover letter. As an example, if your career goal is to be a computer software designer but the position you are applying for is at the help desk, you can state that while your goal is to be a software designer you are willing to work as a tech at the help desk because it will enable you to better understand the components of software design from the perspective of the user. A hiring manager will likely appreciate your honesty as well as the way you think about those situations.
Remember, if you haven’t been able to define your career goals to yourself, then you will never be able to define them to someone else, and you will certainly never be able to meet them. So spend some time figuring this out and update your resume accordingly.
One frequent question I hear from my clients (even those who are happy in their jobs) is, “How often should I update my resume, or should I?” After all, they aren’t looking for a new job and are happy where they are in their careers. This is a stumbling block that people need to get over quickly; you should always have an updated resume.
From a practical standpoint, are you really completely content to remain in exactly the same position you are currently in for the rest of your career? Even movement within the same company can often come with a request for an updated resume. And isn’t movement the whole point? Keeping your resume updated for such occasions makes sense… especially if you are on a senior or executive track. Plus, you have most likely learned new skills, taken a few new classes or seminars, tucked some new accomplishments under your belt, and/or just generally changed since you took the position you are currently in, so your resume should reflect that.
There is also the reality of economics to consider. Companies shift focus, change and develop over time. People lose jobs and move on to other careers. All of these factors mean that you will likely be hunting for another job some time in the course of your career. Having a resume ready to go will allow you to quickly find a new job. It’s also far easier to keep a resume updated than to start over and try to fill in the missing pieces.
Keeping your resume updated makes sense, and is a practical way of handling your career. You will always be ready to hand over a current copy when the opportunity presents itself.
Your resume is valuable real estate. It needs to be kept as brief as possible while highlighting your past employment and skills in the best possible light. Therefore, it’s important to include the best of the best on your resume.
While it’s important to include as much positive information as possible, it is equally important to know what NOT to include on your resume. Because your resume is one of the most valuable marketing tools in your job search, you want to ensure that you are including information that is relevant to your career goals, and removing anything that does support those goals.
Don’t include the line “references available upon request.” It’s completely pointless and a waste of space. Both you and the hiring managers know that you are going to produce references simply because in 99 out of 100 cases they will be required. Just be sure that you have a reference page, formatted to match your resume, ready to hand over at the interview.
Statements such as “highly skilled,” “reliable,” or “energetic team player” are generic and really don’t put you in a positive light. If anything, they show you as someone who hasn’t really considered the alternative. If you have been doing anything at all, then you have skills. Show what you have done with those skills instead of using a phrase that means nothing. “Energetic team player”? What else is there, a lethargic loner? Being energetic and a team player are expected work traits and shouldn’t be highlighted on your resume. It strikes a hiring manager as trying to fill blank space on the page. The same is true of “reliable.” If you aren’t reliable, then you will not last long.
Writing a great resume isn’t difficult if you create a document that matches the needs of the employer, as well as effectively communicates your skills and expertise. Look at your resume the way an employer would and update it accordingly.
You own the space and you need to make it work for you, and your job search.
So often, when researching how to put together a resume, the posts and articles are a lot of “a resume is this,” and “a resume should have this,” but often, there is no information about what is dangerous or unnecessary in a resume. That is what this post is for–to help you understand what a resume is not so you can create the best and most impressive resume.
A resume is not:
- A letter: It is not a place to talk or chat about yourself and your accomplishments. You can do that a little bit in your cover letter, but mostly that type of communication will be for your interview.
- A soapbox: Blatantly bragging or putting false commentary into your resume in order to make your skills sound better than they are isn’t advisable. While it’s good to sell yourself and your skills, sell them on skills you’ve actually done, not what you”think you can” do.
- A comedy club: You don’t need to add humor or personality to your resume. Employers are not looking for that type of thing in a resume. They want simple facts with enough information for them to decide if they want you to come in for an interview. Add some personality to your social media profiles. Talk about your interests and likes in that type of forum, but a resume is not the best place for them.
- A grocery list: While, yes, you will list your skills, work experiences, and accomplishments, there is more to it than that. You can’t simply list every job without a few details like dates of employment, job title, employer, and some job duties. You don’t need a lot of detail, but you need enough so your potential employers have an idea of what you have done.
These are things to watch out for. Your resume may seem like it doesn’t have your voice or personality, but that is OK. It doesn’t need all that fluff. Save that for your cover letter and, more importantly, your interview.
This is probably one of the most common questions job seekers face when creating a new resume. The traditional chronological resume can be daunting when there is a gap in employment. Knowing that you will have to explain the gap during an interview can be even more daunting. No worries! There are several ways to deal with this problem, and any expert resume writer can easily communicate your value regardless of whether or not you’ve been unemployed for a period of time.
Employers understand that there are numerous, legitimate reasons job candidates have gaps in their employment records. You might have taken time away from work to pursue an advanced degree, care for a sick family member, or even raise a family. No matter the reason, it’s best to use a resume format that will highlight your skills and downplay these gaps. Remember that just because you were not officially working, it doesn’t mean that you were idle and learning nothing. You want to play up these points as much as possible without focusing on the periods when you were not employed.
A closely related issue is where someone has had many jobs in a short period of time. This can make a candidate look unreliable when printed on a resume. Again, a resume that highlights skills over chronological employment is normally the best fit. It’s not uncommon for freelancers, technical support personnel, and other contract workers to have been contracted by several employers during a short period of time. What is important is making sure that your resume shows the expertise and skills you learned, as well as what accomplishments you’ve achieved in each job.
The best resume writers will focus the reader on a candidate’s skills and expertise, to the point that gaps and/or short contract jobs become a non-issue. If you are writing your own resume, you need to do the same. If you are having your resume professionally created, discuss the matter thoroughly with the writer and make sure that the best possible version of YOU shines through in the final product.
Everyone has different needs when writing a resume due to their education, skills, and work experience. That means not everyone will have the exact same resume format. You need to find a format that will work to make you look the best to your potential employers. If you have no clue what format to pick, don’t worry. That is what this post is for. To help you pick the resume format that will be the best for you.
- For (almost) anyone: For the most part, anyone can use a chronological resume format. This is the traditional format that will list your most recent employment first and go in reverse chronological order to your very first job (if you have the space to go back that far). This is fairly simple and most anyone can make it work.
- For someone with no work experience or a large gap in their work history: A functional resume format is a good idea for people like this. It focuses on your skills rather than your work experience. If you go this route make sure to put detail into your description of your skills.
- For someone with some but not a lot of work experience: A combination format would be best in this case. You would list some of your skills (like in a functional resume) first then follow with your work history (like a chronological resume). This will show employers you have the skills they want while also providing them the work history they are used to and, probably, prefer.
- For someone applying to only one job: In this instance you would want to have a targeted resume. A targeted resume is tailored to fit with the company and job position you are applying for. Your objective will be specific to the company. The work experience you choose to put down will be similar to the job you are applying for.
Hopefully, you will be able to find that one of these formats works for you and makes you look the best on paper so you can get an interview and maybe even get the job.