Job Seeker Resume Tips

Is Your Resume Good Enough to Get Noticed?

Honestly, probably not. Sorry.

That’s not to be rude or discouraging, it’s just fact. Recruiters see tons of qualified candidates and read dozens upon dozens of resume a day. Your resume needs to be good, and not just really good in general, it needs to be really good for that specific job at that specific company. Sure, formatting is nice but we see everyone using the same templates all the time so we aren’t impressed with your sideways font and logo initials. What impresses us the the quality of the content in your resume for the job we are recruiting for. Did you know 40% of hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume? Recruiters spend less than 10 seconds! You need to take the time to be sure your resume is good enough to get noticed and stand out in the pile.

Want to know how to impress us? I bet you do!

Ok, I’ll tell you. You can tell your friends. They can tell their friends. It’s not a secret and it’s so blatantly obvious you’ll find yourself saying “I knew that.” But, if you knew it, then why are you here? Chances are, it’s because you’re not practicing it.

I’ve actually already said what it was. And that is to tailor your resume to a specific job at a  specific company. This is hard. It takes time and effort and it’s so time consuming but it will pay off immensely in the long run.

Do Your Research

To get started, do your research on the company and get a feel for the culture and the ‘day in the life.’ It helps to pick up terms and phrases they use often and use them as little weapons during your interviews and on your resume. They’ll think “he fits right in!” and “she really gets it”. Works like a charm. When you’re reading a job description think it of as a wish list, not a list of their requirements. Don’t let a job description intimidate you.

While reading the job description, do you think to yourself, “I’ve done that. I have experience in that area, I can do this work and it sounds exciting? Now, take a look at your resume…does it speak to the position in which you’re interested in? You may think so because you wrote it and know what you mean in each bullet point. But put your resume and job posting next to each other… are you both using the same language and phrasing? Are you using your current or previous company specific acronyms and project titles or jargon that doesn’t really translate elsewhere?

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Is it over simplified? I see this as one of the biggest mistakes in resume writing. Recruiters want to know everything you’ve done and they want to see that what you’ve done and have experience with matches their open position. Use your current resume as a guideline to amp it up. Pull out some the language and phrasing the job description uses and parse it into your own where it makes sense. DO NOT copy and paste, we’re on to that. Share details on the projects you’ve completed and the KPI’s. Did you win a million dollar client? Tell us what that meant to the business. Instead of writing “Brought new client into the business.” write “Built and managed new client relationships resulting in seven new contracts with nearly $500k revenue within 6 months.”

It’s ok if it’s not overly impressive, but we want to see results and that you can accomplish goals. Is it overly complicated? I’m not impressed, mostly because if it’s a bunch of numbers and ridiculous words a normal person doesn’t understand my eyes will glaze over and I will move on. Sure, I haven’t recruited physicists where that might make sense but who really does?! Use real people language. Again, look at the job description and borrow from it.

Study LinkedIn

Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people in similar positions within the company. Read the words they are using to describe the job. A company can have 200 Brand Managers, 500 Sales Associates, 50 Client Service Agents…and you want to be one. So take it from them to describe the job in their terms. You’d be surprised how differently people talk about what it is they do. Why not borrow some of that insider info to help you put into words the experience you already have but don’t know how to express on paper?

Not in sales? Trying to break into corporate from part time? Cool, let’s work on some phrasing there. Do you work as a bank teller, a customer service rep, a fast food worker? I was a waitress throughout college and still found a way to use that experience to beef up my first few resumes and break into my career. I didn’t just “take care of customer needs”, I “anticipated customer needs and consistently exceeded expectations resulting in five star reviews for 90% of shifts.” I didn’t “charge customers and give them their change.” I “upsold items to increase check averages and managed large sums of cash nightly, resulting in higher than average sales.” Now, unfortunately, you’re not going to land a job at Morgan Stanley after working at TGIFridays however you can start at a small company and use it as a step change to reach your ultimate goal, however long it takes.

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