Part 1 of a three part blog series.
How do you get the people you want to see your resume to flip past the cover letter?
The resume. It is one of the most important documents, essential for the success of our career, yet it’s the most dreaded and neglected. It’s often left unwritten, forgotten, or abandoned, only to be thought of in a frantic moment of need, that moment when opportunity strikes. And when it does, if you are like most people, you will find yourself digging around in a mad panic, trying to find your most recent version to update, or maybe you will be one of many, sitting, staring at a blank computer screen for hours, trying to create one from scratch.
You ask yourself, “Where do I start?!”
Just like the job market and technology, resume trends are continually changing; they are not what they were even a few years ago. It used to be that a resume was nothing more than a very basic, monotonous compilation of one’s career history. In today’s fast-paced, hi-tech, attention deficit world, it is imperative that a resume stands out, and essentially market an individual’s brand and the value they bring to a company.
So how do you bring your resume up to today’s standards?
Creating a resume that gets you hired starts with a defined target.
To put it simply, today’s resume must captivate your audience, engage them so that they invest more than the typical 6-15 seconds they will usually spend glancing over a resume, and highlight you in such a way that compels a hiring manager to select you from a sea of competitors and call you in for an interview. Simultaneously, you have to make sure that your resume is actually getting out to the right people.
It’s all well and good to create an amazing resume, but does it actually present itself to a specific demographic? What types of businesses, companies or other employment opportunities are you actually looking to employ you? If the answer to the first question is “No,” and the answer to the second question is “Any,” you’ve got a problem on your hands.
To create an effective and memorable resume, you must know exactly what you want your message to be and the audience that you are targeting. Know the position/field you are aiming for and understand the needs of the employer; research companies and job postings that you would be interested in applying for, take note of keywords or phrases that continually show up, challenges that companies are looking to have solved, and requirements that they are seeking in a superior candidate.
Make a list of your skills, accomplishments, experiences, and necessary qualifications that align with those particular jobs/positions -- emphasis on particular. Your resume should have a very targeted audience. If you’re a jack of all trades who’s desperate for any job? Fine...but your resume should speak directly the to specific candidate you’re trying to appeal to.
Tailor your resume for each and every job opportunity. Include sections that can easily be customized to reflect a specific job posting; this can be in the way of implementing a header or title, value proposition statement, and/or a core strengths list. Incorporate (but don’t overload) the job postings keywords and phrases throughout your document as this is what the recruiter, and possibly the Applicant Tracking System will be screening for to determine the most compatible candidate for the position.
Don’t think that this is all that’s needed for an A+ resume; in Modern Resume Strategies Part 2, we look at how a strong personal branding presence in your resume can take it that much further.
Certified Resume Strategist
An Independent Consultant and Owner of Paradigm Resume Services, Kamee is dedicated to propelling the careers of professionals across all industries, occupations, and career levels through the strategic creation of personal branded, captivating career marketing documents.