In a job search campaign, making sure you stand out as a candidate is critical. Sometimes you’re up against hundreds of other applicants. This is why your resume should not only indicate that you’re qualified for a job, but also help you represent your brand and the unique value you will bring to your future employer.
Here are three ways to upgrade your resume:
1. Highlight measurable results or key achievements instead of job duties.
You don’t want your resume to read like a list of job descriptions. Instead mention achievements with metrics or specific feedback you received. This is a great way to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Concrete results such as “Achieved revenue growth of x%” or “Cut $x in expenses within 6 months” are easy to understand and immediately give your abilities credibility. If you were the first to try and succeed in something, mention it. It shows your ability to try new things, think outside the box or go above and beyond what was asked.
2. Increase your fit factor to prevent your resume from getting pre-filtered by Applicant Tracking Systems.
Recruiters look through a huge volume of resumes and can only spend seconds on each one. Make sure they instantly see an obvious fit for the job they are trying to fill. That means tailoring your resume and cover letter to each position you are applying for. As time-consuming as this sounds, it is worth doing. Some companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS’s) that search for matches in keywords or phrases to pre-select candidates. Where possible, use the exact terms mentioned in the job description you are applying for. Use “trouble-shooting” instead of “problem solving”, if that is what they have used in their job description. Research the company’s focus areas, challenges, and goals so you can include specific ways in which your skills can be a part of their solutions or strategies. Then, tie these skills into your pitch in the cover letter.
3. Show progression and leadership throughout your career to convey drive and commitment.
Ideally, your resume should show any increases in seniority over time through position or title changes. However, you can also demonstrate progression, even if you had similar titles, by illustrating increased responsibility or being asked to handle more complex or high profile projects.
A strong resume is vital. It’s your ticket to a job interview, and the interview in turn is your gateway to securing the employment you’re seeking. From that point of view, your resume is really one of the most important documents that you’ll ever create. The tips described here will help you to create the strongest, most effective resume possible, getting you that much closer to your goal. Best of luck.