Let’s face it, writing a resume is one of the most important parts of finding a job because it tells your potential employer whether or not to consider you for the position. Often times however, people’s resumes get ignored for something that could have been easily fixed. So, why not put your best foot forward and optimize the chance that someone will pay attention to your resume? These tips and tricks will get you started.
When applying for jobs it can be tempting to create a generic resume and send it to as many businesses as possible or to use a resume from an old job, different than the one you are applying for. The best approach is to tailor your resume to each job as you apply. Yes, it will take longer, but it will increase the chance that someone will take your resume seriously.
Read over the job description. If the skills they have listed are also skills that you have, add it to your resume. Think about how your seemingly unrelated skills can be applied specifically to the job you hope to get. For example, say you worked with vendors at a grocery chain but you want to do customer service, you could say that you “Have a proven ability to communicate with others in a positive way”. Take the time to do this will all of your skills. This will show the person in charge of hiring that you have the necessary expertise for the job.
Resumes often focus too much on job duties and not enough on proof that you can do the job. One great way to show potential employers that you have what it takes is to provide them with numbers and stats. Instead of saying “Increased sales” say “Increased sales by 20%”. Back up your claims with numbers whenever possible. Even consider charts and graphs when appropriate.
Resumes with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are not taken as seriously, especially if there are a lot of them. After you have written your resume, have a few people that you trust read it over for you. They may see things that you’ve missed. Another great tip is to read it backwards word by word. You may notice mistakes that your mind automatically corrected for when you originally read it the normal way.
Along with spelling and grammar mistakes, people often address their resumes to the wrong company or person. If you are not sure who to address your resume to, first check their website, often times there will be a list of employees and their job titles. You can also call and ask.
Having an online presence is a great way for potential employers to get to know you beyond what you have put on your resume. Take the time to create an online resume and sign up for LinkedIn (a highly popular business networking, social media platform). Try looking at examples of online resumes and LinkedIn profiles for people with careers similar to the one you want for ideas of what to do and what not to do. Depending on the job that you are applying for, an online presence is a must.
Do a social media audit. Make sure that all of your social media accounts portray you in a good light. Pictures of drinking and partying should be removed along with anything controversial. You may even want to make your accounts private and remove your birthdate if you are looking into an industry or job that favors people in a different age group. Do the same for any blogs or websites that you own.
Appling for many unrelated positions in a company can tell potential employers that you do not have an area of expertise and that you may be desperate for work. Employers tend to want someone who is seeking a career not just another job. But what if all of the jobs seem like a good fit? Try calling the hiring manager to ask for clarification. Discuss what you are looking for and ask for their opinion as to which one job is likely the best fit for your skill set and needs.
Resumes that are full of information that is not relevant to the job can be distracting. It also makes it harder for the person reading the resume to determine if you have the necessary skills. Take out all extraneous information before submitting a resume. Also try to make your resume easily scannable so that the person reviewing it does not have to read every word. You can do this by strategically using bullet points, bold or underline. Just make sure not to overdo it, appearance is extremely important.
Your resume should be crisp and clean. All too often people turn in wrinkled resumes with stains on them. Your resume is essentially a representation of yourself. You don’t want a potential employer to worry about whether or not you are presentable enough for their work environment.
Along with being tidy, your resume should be well organized and formatted. Select a simple format and add a bit of something special such as colored bullet points. Remember to keep it simple! Over doing it can be seen as unprofessional, unless the job is particularly creative or requires a big personality. Avoid adding large images, glitter, too much color, etc. Most importantly, stick with an easy to read font. If the potential employer can’t read your resume it wastes your time and that of the person reading it.
Read job postings carefully. Sometimes they require additional information such as samples of your work, references, salary requirements, etc. If you omit one of these things, they will be more likely to disqualify you regardless of how great your resume is. Show potential employers that you can follow directions by applying as instructed in the job post.
These are some tips and tricks to help improve the chances of getting your resume seen. However, even a perfectly written and formatted resume may get ignored. It depends on the person reading it. While there is no guarantee that a potential employer will read every word of your resume, these tips can increase the chance that they will pay attention to it. After all, it is an important step in the right direction.
What resume bloopers have you made or come across?
Angelica Dudenhoefer is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical and legal placements. Since 1978, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can connect with Angelica by email or on LinkedIn and you can find Drake & Company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.