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:
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 – and it is – 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 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.
Too often, job-seekers submit resumes that are just a little too general to get the job done. Yes, you can and should create a foundation resume that serves as a base for your individual resume submissions. That will save you time and effort, especially when you are applying at 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.
You need to highlight your accomplishments throughout your resume. However, it’s not enough to just list those achievements in a dry, boring way. Instead, you need to give them weight 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 the hiring manager’s mind. More importantly, it can make him think about how you might bring similar benefits to his own company. It’s all about how you can add value as an employee.
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!”
As technology continues to advance, you need to make sure that your resume keeps pace with the changes. These days, many companies use automated 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.
If it’s been awhile 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 as needed, update your employment section and skills, and add any additional education you’ve received since you last used the document. 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. 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.
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!