This week's advice: Resume Tips That Get You Hired
5 Tips for making a resume that will get you hired So, you’re in the job market and need the perfect resume to attract potential employers. But, you have no clue what that means. How do you make a resume stand out? What attracts employers? How can you secure an interview? Trying to answer these questions can be challenging, especially since most people do not think about their resumes very often. But, worry no more! We’re here to help by providing the top 5 tips for making a resume that will get you hired.
1. First and foremost, your resume must be relevant to the job you’re applying to. If you throw your entire work history on a resume and don’t tailor it to the job, the employer will get lost trying to find the important details. Make it easy for them! Showcase your exact skills that relate to the job you’re applying to and nothing else.
The best way to do this is by focusing on the “requirements” in the job description. Tailor your resume to your direct experience against those requirements. For example, if you’re applying to a teaching position that requires a Bachelor’s Degree and 3 years teaching experience, then your resume should list your Bachelor’s degree and 3 years teaching experience. Your resume should not list a part-time job you had in high school working at a restaurant. That experience is completely irrelevant.
You would be surprised with the information people add to their resume because they feel it is important. You’re not the hiring manager. You have to think about what the employer wants to see – NOT what you think they should see.
2. Use the right language. If you work in a niche industry where there are millions of acronyms for every little thing, leave those off your resume. Employers do not want to try and decipher some cryptic acronym from an industry they know nothing about.
Unless you know acronyms are standard, it’s best to spell it out clearly for the employer. In sales, people use SME regularly on their resumes. SME could mean “subject matter expert” or “small to medium enterprises.” If an employer saw this on a resume, they would have to guess what you meant, which is not what you want.
However, if you work in an industry where acronyms are standard, then feel free to use them. A good example of this is with software developers. They utilize acronyms for coding languages that are the same throughout the industry (Java, .NET, etc.).
3. Make the format simple, direct, and error free. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation should be 100% accurate. No exceptions. If you’re unsure where to put a comma or how to spell a word, then have someone who is an expert review your resume prior to sending it to employers. If you do not have someone in your direct network who can review your resume, hire a freelancer to review the resume for you. The cost typically runs $10-20 per edit. There’s a chance an employer might not catch a small mistake. But, that’s a risk you cannot take. So, pay the money if you need to ensure your resume is 100% correct.
Another common misnomer is that people believe they should keep their resume to one page. This simply is not true. If you have 20 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, and you’re applying to the oil and gas industry, then you should keep the relevant experience on your resume. If that means it’s 2-3 pages, great! But, it’s very important to remember, the employer will notice the first page first. So, if you put important, relevant information on the second or third page, then there’s a chance it will be overlooked. The most relevant experience should be listed on the first page. Again, you want to make it as easy as possible for the employer to see why you’re a fit for the position. If they have to “hunt” for information on your resume, they’re going to lose interest.
With the format, keep it simple. Unless you’re a graphic designer showcasing your skills on your resume, you need to use a standard format. Arial, 10-point, black font is standard. Use this format unless otherwise stated by the employer. Cursive font is distracting, and color is just silly. Listing your objective, education, skills, and professional experience on the first page is standard, as well. However, if your applying to a position where your most relevant experience is on the third page, you need to reformat your resume to showcase your skills on the first page. For instance, you might move the education and skill section to the end of your resume rather than the beginning. It’s all about keeping things simple for the employer.
But, keep in mind, if someone asks you for a curriculum vitae (CV), then the rules regarding resume length do not apply. A CV is an all-encompassing work history that can span your entire professional career. A resume is a brief summary tailored to the job you’re applying to.
4. Quantitative data is key. You can’t just say, “I’m the greatest sales person in the world” without some data to back it up. If you talk about teams you work on, state the number of people on the team. If you had a quota and exceeded it, state how much you exceeded it by. If you ran a region, list the size of the region.
In other words, it’s better to say, “Trained 15 employees on the company’s human resources (HR) practices” than to say, “Trainer.” Or, “Exceeded my sales quota by 150% compared to 10 of my peers” than to say, “Exceeded quota.” Or, “Managed the East coast operations for 15 states” than to say, “Manager.” Showing an employer that you had metrics and met or exceeded those metrics is much more valuable information than qualitative data that cannot be measured.
5. Keep it professional. The last thing you want on your resume is something negative about a previous employer, job, or coworker. Your resume’s key purpose is to highlight how great a candidate you are. If you mention something negative, that’s what the employer is going to see. Then, they’ll think about negative feedback and potential conflict you would bring to their team. Employers want to mitigate risk for their companies. Speaking negatively is a quick way to get your resume thrown in the trash.
There’s only one guarantee when you submit your resume to a hiring manager: they’re all different. One employer might look for key words, another might want quantitative data, and another might look for spelling errors. So, there’s no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to the perfect resume. Keep these tips in mind as you enter the job market and start to think about your resume. If you follow these guidelines, your resume will stand-out to an employer, which is exactly what you want when you’re trying to secure an interview and get hired. Happy hunting!
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