Like most job seekers, you already understand the important role your resume plays in any job search effort. In most instances, your resume serves as your initial introduction and sales pitch to any prospective employer. To make the most of that introduction, you need to ensure that your resume captures the attention of any hiring manager who sees it. Chances are, though, that your own resume falls flat in that area – which could cause companies to ignore your application. Don’t worry, though! We have the tips you need to fix your resume.
Just follow these seven steps:
Write a powerful resume summary
Your resume’s summary statement will be the first thing that a hiring manager sees. If your resume is your introduction to a new employer, then your summary statement is that all-important first smile and handshake.
A good summary almost guarantees a good first impression. A weak or uninspiring summary statement–or worse, an objective statement–can get your resume tossed into the rejection pile. The question is, though: what can you do to jazz up your summary and give it the power it needs?
Fortunately, there are concrete things that you can do to strengthen your summary statement. First, use dynamic and powerful words to paint the right kind of image in the reader’s mind. Also, be sure to focus on showing how you can meet the employer’s needs. Avoid any discussion of how the job will benefit you, since that’s not the employer’s first concern. Describe your achievements, with an emphasis on the benefits you provided to past employers.
For more ideas, check out our post on summary statements: How to Write a Resume Summary That Lands the Interview.
You need to tailor your resume to the job
Too often, job seekers submit resumes that are just a little too general to get the job done; the job of landing you an interview, that is. Yes, you can and should create a flexible resume that serves as a base for your individual resume submissions. That will save you time and effort, especially when you are applying to several companies.
However, you need to ensure that each submission is properly tailored to the specific job you’re seeking. That means going through that base resume with a fine-tooth comb, removing unnecessary skills and details, and emphasizing the most relevant information.
Let the numbers show your value
You need to highlight your accomplishments throughout your resume, certainly. However, it’s not enough to just list those achievements in a dry, boring way. Instead, you need to give them value by quantifying them with hard numbers and statistics that emphasize their positive impact. For example, instead of writing about how you created a new sales program that boosted profits, try writing:
“Designed innovative sales program that boosted sales revenue by 22% in the first two quarters of 2015.”
Those hard numbers paint a more concrete picture in hiring managers’ minds. More importantly, it can inspire them to think about how you might bring similar benefits to their companies. It’s all about how you can add value as an employee. Nothing translates to a bottom-line value quite like a number!
Shine a spotlight on your value
While we’re on the topic of value, that’s perhaps the single most important thing that you can do to fix your resume: focus on value.
As you go through every line of your resume, try to put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Would you hire you based on the information you’re reading? Does your resume effectively convey the value that you can offer if you’re hired?
If not, then it still needs some work. Any employer who reads your resume should have one thought in mind: “this job candidate will make a valuable addition to our team!”
Optimize for the ATS
As technology continues to advance, you need to make sure that your resume keeps pace with the changes. These days, many companies use automated applicant tracking systems to screen applicant submissions. This software looks for relevant keywords in your resume, and rejects documents that fail to use them. You need to learn to use those keywords properly if you want to fix your resume.
Search through the job posting and identify key phrases that help to define the position or qualifications for the job. Those are the most likely keywords, and you should include them throughout your tailored resume to better pass the ATS. This one simple fix can help to increase your resume’s chances of getting past the machines and onto a human’s desk.
Keep your resume up to daye
If it’s been a while since you’ve looked for a job, odds are that your resume is a little dated. Before you submit it, make sure that you fully fix your resume by updating every section.
- Revise your summary to reflect your current value and goals
- Update your employment section
- Update your most recent skills
- Add any additional education you’ve received since you last used the document, including training, certifications, or degrees
This is a critical step, since an outdated resume is more likely to lack the specificity that employers are looking for.
Finally, you can fix your resume by polishing it up with some serious proofreading. There are few things worse than a resume filled with misspellings, poor grammar, and other mistakes–some studies show typos are the most common thing that will get your resume thrown out!
Go over every area of the document and use dictionaries, thesauruses, and other resources when necessary. Remember, you only get one chance to make this first impression. When you’re satisfied that it’s perfect, hand it off to someone you trust and let them review it as well.
Fix Your Resume and Watch Those Interviews Come Rolling In
Your resume is a critical part of your job search efforts. As such, it deserves the right amount of attention to ensure that it is as effective as can be. By following these seven easy steps, you can fix your resume and ensure that it is the dynamic, compelling job search tool you need. And that can increase your odds of landing the interviews you need to secure your dream job!
Not sure how to get started? Zipjob has a professional resume writing service with more than 100 resume writers ready to help you out. Or, get started with a free review from one of our career experts–delivered to your inbox within 48 hours.