Your resume is a summation of your qualifications, used to entice a hiring manager to consider you for employment. In a competitive job market, you have only seconds to make your experience tell a compelling story, as you could be up against hundreds of other candidates. In a page or two, you should capture your unique set of accomplishments and goals for your career. Here are several ways to stand out from the crowd of applicants.
Sprinkle your resume with industry keywords. Find the keywords in the job description. Just don’t use too many or it will come off as forced or your resume will read too generically. This strategy can help you hurdle the keyword filters resumes are put through in online submission processes.
Play the match game
Don’t send off the same template resume for every job opportunity, but instead align each submitted resume with specific job descriptions. Hiring managers are looking for an experience that matches up with hiring needs.
Keep it positive and professional
Use professional language that focuses on your career. Leave out anything too personal, particularly anything controversial such as political or religious affiliations. Additionally, don’t make any negative remarks about former employers.
Balance length with accomplishments
It’s okay to use more than one page to craft your resume. That’s not to say you shouldn’t condense where you can. If you have a 20-year employment history in the same industry, it’s likely you’ll need at least couple of pages. But in this case, consider emphasizing your career highlights for only those positions that are directly relevant to the job.
Add a cover letter
Many hiring managers still read cover letters, and this is where you can delve more deeply into your career journey and make your pitch as to why you would be a good fit for this position. A cover letter should expand on your resume as well as personalize your submissions package with elements such as what you can bring to the table based on your unique career experiences.
Keep it polished
Before you hit “submit,” make sure there are no misspelled words or incomplete sentences on your resume. Additionally, your formatting should be clean looking and professional. For example, bullets should be lined up, and there should be consistent spacing between sections.
Incorporate the job description
Craft your resume to directly reflect the job duties, qualifications, and expectations in a job description. Hiring managers will know a few things: 1. You read the job description. 2. You have the particular experience needed for the job.
It goes without saying that the most important rule in crafting a resume is to ensure everything you are presenting to a hiring manager is genuine and authentically reflects your employment history. Be honest and be yourself. This guideline by itself can take you far in your career.