Have you sent out resume after resume only to hear absolutely nothing? Your skills and experience may not be the issue. The problem may be the piece of paper representing you.
Here are five resume-writing secrets you should know before applying for your next opportunity.
1. One Resume Does Not Fit All Jobs
In the interest of saving time, you may write a single resume and send out hundreds of copies. Unfortunately, this tactic seldom works. Think about it. Even similar positions often require unique abilities. For example, an administrative assistant in a factory needs a different skill set than an administrative assistant in an investment firm. Ultimately, organizations are looking for the BEST fit. Before you apply, read each job posting from beginning to end. Make a list of all the requirements and whenever possible, add those exact qualifications to your application.
2. A Computer Will Read Your Resume Before a Person Does
When submitting a resume, many people assume it goes straight into a hiring manager’s inbox. This probably isn’t what happens. As of 2018, an estimated 98% of Fortune 500 companies used Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs to sort resumes. This software quickly scans application materials and presents hiring managers with only the most qualified candidates. If your resume isn’t at the top of the list, it may not make it out of the electronic database. One of the best ways to impress an ATS is to customize your application using keywords and key phrases pulled directly from the job description. (See Tip #1.)
3. Formatting Makes a Difference
A messy or overly complicated resume is difficult to read. An ATS may misinterpret the information, and a hiring manager may give up. Stick to a standard layout and font. Use headings, bullets and white space to highlight the most important points. And, unless you are creating an infographic resume, leave out graphics and/or photos.
4. Numbers Speak Louder Than Words
Hiring managers have seen phrases like “strong leadership skills” and “good team player” hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Delete these meaningless claims, and fill your resume with facts, figures and data instead. For example, “Chaired a five-person committee that reduced on-site accidents by 50% in six months,” displays precisely how you are a leader and a team player.
5. Your Application Reflects Your Communication Skills
Organizations are looking for employees with excellent communication skills. Guess what? Your resume shows, for better or worse, how well you express yourself. Many employers will automatically reject an application with any errors. Make sure your ideas are clear, engaging and professional. Double-check for changes in tense (past/present), lack of consistency, grammatical errors, misspellings and other typos. Of course, it’s easy to miss something when you’ve been staring at a document for hours. So, ask a couple of friends to proofread it for you too.
Are You Having Trouble Finding a Job?
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