Applying for a new job can be an overwhelming task.
If you recently graduated, you may find yourself sorting through hundreds of job postings before you find even a handful that fit your career goals. If you are applying for a position you heard about through your network, then gathering the nerve, recommendations, and time to make the move from your current position can be exhausting.
Once you finish crafting a carefully tailored cover letter, you then have the task to draft a solid résumé that gets you noticed. Without a detailed résumé that is customized to the role in which you are applying, you risk making a bad first impression or resigning your submission to a dusty application stack on the hiring manager’s desk. For one, your application must showcase your experience, skills, and value to make you a front-runner in the selection process.
How does one create this perfect résumé? The key is to think of the job vacancy and the application process from the hiring manager’s perspective. By keeping this point of view in mind, you can tailor your résumé to show why you meet the organization’s needs, while expressing yourself in a personable, professional, and concise manner. Read the job posting carefully, noting any keywords and phrases, as well as the required skills and qualifications. If you are applying to a large organization, it is likely that your résumé will need to make it past an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before it even reaches human review. Including applicable keywords and phrases in your résumé will ensure that your application passes the ATS parameters. Consider the items below while drafting your new and improved résumé:
1. Your communication skills
We have all heard a story about a résumé that the hiring manager tossed after a quick glance landed on a typo. Make sure to proofread your résumé multiple times and consider enlisting a friend to lend a second set of eyes. Doing so will prevent embarrassing mistakes from making it to your reader.
Aside from your attention to detail, your résumé also speaks volumes about your grammar, professional writing skills, and ability to convey your point concisely. If your résumé is too long, you will not only bore your reader, you may just get tossed! It is important to find the happy medium between too much information and too little where you can fully express your accomplishments without being long-winded. For entry level professionals, one page is advised. For professionals with a longer work history, two pages should be the max.
2. Your preparation
Does your résumé contain information about experience that is irrelevant to the position for which you are applying? While you may value such experience, listing irrelevant positions on your résumé wastes space, and risks giving the impression that you do not understand the position. If you really do not have much relevant previous experience, consider listing irrelevant positions under an “Additional Experience” subheading.
Another mistake that shows you failed to prepare correctly is including an objective statement, personal information beyond your contact information, or any other outdated résumé etiquette. By including these, you show that you are out of touch with contemporary résumé practices and have not done your research.
3. Your values
By simply performing a quick scan of your previous positions and roles, the hiring manager will be able to tell what you value. The hiring manager will pick up on any themes in your résumé, including preferences in work environment, roles within an organization, accomplishments, and more. From these themes, the hiring manager will also get a sense of your passion and expertise. Make sure to work this to your advantage; if you are applying for a position as a recruiter and you were incredibly successful in soliciting new students to join your undergraduate club volleyball team then write that down!
4. Your drive and aspirations
From your values, a good hiring manager will be able to determine what drives you. For example, if the majority of your work has been with nonprofits, a hiring manager will recognize that you are motivated by social good and use that understanding to determine your fit within the organization (more on this next). It is also important to note that if you have been consistently moving to positions of increasing responsibility in one field, the hiring manager will understand that field as your main passion. On the other hand, if you appear to use each new position as a stepping stone without ever making a long-term commitment to one organization, you may be viewed in a more negative light (job hopping). Know how to navigate through these “red flags” on your résumé and in an interview.
5. Your fit
Finally, a good résumé will communicate whether or not you are a good fit for the organization. This information is ultimately gathered from your drive, passion, values, level of preparation, and communication skills. Because you cannot guarantee that you will fit well into every organization, it is essential that you take the time and effort to write a résumé that accurately depicts your professional brand. Doing this will get your résumé noticed and potentially set up for an interview.
While your résumé is just one piece of the application process, it is the first stepping stone to excellent opportunities. Therefore, it is essential that your résumé sets you apart from the crowd. Treat the résumé writing process with the same care that you would an interview. Remember, without a good résumé you might not get to the interview at all.
Do you need help taking your résumé and your career to the next level? We offer Résumé Assessments and Professional Résumé Writing services for existing résumés or résumés that need to be developed from scratch. Whether you are in transition or ready to make a change, let us partner with you to take the next step in your career!
Gillett, Rachel and Premack, Rachel. June 29, 2018. BUSINESS INSIDER, 36 words and phrases you should never include on your résumé
Maldonado, Carrie. 2018. TOP RESUME, What Does Your Resume Really Say About You?
5 things your resume tells people (with or without your permission)
Price John, Sharon. May 29, 2015. FORTUNE, What does your resume say about you? http://fortune.com/2015/05/29/sharon-price-john-resume-tips/
Ryan, Liz. September 11, 2015. FORBES, Five Things Your Resume Says About You - Instantly