Top 3 Resume Writing Tips
There are many ways to upgrade your resume, but after years of reviewing hundreds upon thousands of resumes, I can definitely say these are the top 3 resume writing tricks that can help get you noticed!
Let’s take a look at how a these resume hacks can be your secret weapon in getting recruiters to recognize you and get excited by you. Resumes are probably the most stressful part about deciding to look for a new job. How do you tell a stranger about your career in a few short bullet points and get them interested in you? You can try all sorts of tricks but I will tell you the top three ways to get noticed are simple and easy to implement right away.
Step 1: Identify your goal before your start updating your resume
First and foremost, you need to decide what is it you want to accomplish. Getting a new job can mean a lot of different things, and unless you are clear on what is it you are trying to achieve in getting a new job, your resume may fall into the ‘maybe’ pile. There are a number of things to consider before you as you plan to put pen to paper.
Do you want to take on more responsibility and move into a more senior position? -> Moving from a manager to a senior manager, going from a staff position into one with direct reports, taking on a corporate office role after being on the line etc.
Do you want to stay in your line of work but take on a new area of expertise? -> Staying in HR after being an HR Generalist for 5 years but looking for a recruiter job, research scientist specializing in environmental products after focusing on beauty brands, waitress interested in a café manager position etc.
Are you happy with your job and responsibilities, but the company you work for in distress and you just need to find a new organization to call home?
If you want to stay in your current position at another company, highlighting the experience you have in your current role will certainly get you to a lateral position. You still need to have a clear idea of what kind of story you want to tell that will make your resume most attractive to recruiters for the specific job in which you are applying for. Having a general resume that is somewhat applicable won’t achieve that. Think about what you have done in your career that is relevant, and highlight that on your resume. Instead of focusing only on what you did previously, play up the areas that you want to focus on in the future. If project management was only a small part of your previous position, but you want to move into a project manager role, talk about it the work you did that is transferable and translatable…a lot.
Step 2: Define Successful Metrics
You need to quantify your success, not just talk about it. Spelling out in black and white how you have been able to illicit change and impact the business is monumental in getting your resume noticed. You’ll be able to sell yourself without having to pick up the phone. Not only will you impress recruiters with quantifiable results listed on your resume, but you’ll also stand out immensely to hiring managers. This may take a little more time and effort on your part, especially if you don’t track your success regularly. Once you start thinking about how to put your work on paper, keeping a log of wins should become routine and adding them to your resume will take no time at all.
- Increased sales revenue for a jeopardized client by 62% in one year by rebuilding relationship and offering customized solutions
- Consistently rated 5 out of 5 stars for customer service and delivering the highest rated feedback score of 98% year after year.
- Cut production time down by 15% by implementing new software and automating task resulting in 32% growth allowing time to be spent on sales
Think about the role you are trying to land and tailor your metrics to that specific position and company. You want to use the ones that are most impressive and relevant for what you are trying to accomplish. While it may be impressive to have cut costs by 65%, if it’s not relevant, it’s not relevant.
Consider what qualities a job is seeking or requiring, and what you have done in your career that matches them. Use the job description itself as a springboard for quantifying your experience if you don’t know where to start. Sites like Indeed.com and LinkedIn have good search capabilities and will return quite a number of job descriptions with a simple search. As mentioned earlier, if you are trying to land yourself a promotion or increased responsibility, this is the best way to get there. If you can demonstrate you’ve already had success in the role they are looking to fill, your resume will be a star in the pile. If a job description is seeking someone with strong relationships building skills, highlight the time you landed a new client for the company because of a relationship you fostered and what it meant to the business.
Step 3. Use Descriptive Content
Imagine watching a new movie trailer with a monotone voice over simply stating “this movie is about relationships.” Wow, sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Would you want to watch that movie about relationships if it didn’t tell you anything more or at least make it sound more exciting? That is what your resume sounds like without descriptive content. How about a new movie trailer that says “this movie is about complicated, heartbreaking and unusual relationships.” Sounds a little more interesting, right?
Reading a resume without descriptive text is like eating stale bread. It’s boring, not memorable, and dry. Action verbs provide value and worth to your experience and help bring to life some of the accomplishments you’ve made. Words that are used in job descriptions and are reflected as action items on your resume can also help you show up in some ATS systems. When it comes to verbs, use them for impact and remember to use them in the right tense. No one expects you to be a grammar expert, however using the wrong tense in a resume just shows lack of attention to detail.
Don’t go overboard with action verbs though. “Excitedly answered the reception desk phone” doesn’t have the right impact. Instead, you can say “Answered incoming calls and fielded to appropriate sales desks resulting in higher caller conversions.”
- Did you “work on the production line” or did you “oversee and manage the successful production flow of the second highest grossing product in the plant.”? It’s the same thing essentially, but which one sounds better?
- Were you responsible for “clearing restaurant tables” or did you “expedite the turnover of clean tables to facilitate a faster turnover and increased seat count.”?
- What about the time you “help put together material for team”? Did you just do that or did you “Support team on editing training booklet for large scale introductory session to increase number of enrollments.”?
Descriptive content and action verbs will take your resume from flat to stellar. You are still describing your role, and you aren’t making up responsibilities and lying about them. You are offering a perspective on the position you held and how it helped contribute to the company goals.
Using these top 3 resume writing tips can help your chances of getting noticed and are so easy to start implementing right away. Go ahead and test them out today!