Are you frustrated at how few responses you are getting to your online resume? Maybe it's not you
it's your resume. Here are a few simple tips to help your resume end up at the top of the stack.
- Use "Key Word" Phrases
When companies scan online resumes they look for key words. Prior to writing your online resume, put yourself in the shoes of the person who would hire you. What experience would they want you to have? Try to list that experience into two or three-word key phrases. Then, in your resume, have a section called "Expertise," or something similar, where you list out in bullet form these key phrases.
- Show Off Your Best Stuff First!
When movie studios advertise a new movie, they have 15 to 30 seconds to interest you in that two-hour movie with a television commercial or billboard. How do they promote their movies? They show you only the best scenes. Approach your resume the same way. You have about 15 to 30 seconds to interest interviewers with your resume. Put your highlights and accomplishments first -- don't hide them in your experience section.
- Quantify Your Results and Accomplishments
Managers don't just want you to tell them that you are a good employee, they want you to prove it. Use quantifiable results that support your statements. For example, if you are a great salesperson, how many times did you achieve your quota? If you are a great programmer, what statistics can you use to prove it? The more your resume appears objective versus subjective, the better your chances of success.
- Use Industry "Buzz Words"
Since computers often scan resumes before humans do, it is important to use industry buzz words on your resume. For instance, examples of key buzz words for computer industry professions are terms such as Java and C++. Examples of buzz words for legal professions are terms such as litigated, class action, awarded, negligence and so forth. Determine the most coveted phrases for the industry that interests you and include them where appropriate.
- Create a PDF Version of Your Resume
Most everyone who uses the Internet has Adobe Acrobat and should be able to read your resume with this software. However, many people don't realize that Adobe has a tool on their web site (http://www.adobe.com) that lets you convert any document from most popular word-processing software into a PDF file. In fact, Adobe lets you try out this tool for free for up to five documents.
- Make It Attractive
Like an advertisement, your resume must look good. Have others read your resume and give you pointers. Look at your resume a day or two after you write it to get a fresh perspective on it. Make sure that it is attractive and communicates effectively.
- For printed resumes, use only high quality (heavier bond) paper. Do not use copier paper. Paper with a substantial feel conveys a good image. Use fonts, colors, layouts and words that enhance the appearance without compromising professionalism.
- Use words that express strength and confidence. For example, the phrase "proficient at" is far stronger than "learned." Proficient means that not only did you learn something, you know it inside and out. An attractive and creative resume will be the honey that attracts interviewers and lands you job opportunities.
- Make it Position-Relevant
Many resumes are muddied with personal items that have no relevance to the reader. As a result, people often put themselves at a disadvantage before they get the chance to interview. If something personal needs to be said, say it in the interview. People have been known to put interests, hobbies, political beliefs, and even religious beliefs on the resume. This is unwise. Why give interviewers information that could get you rejected even before the interview? Interviewers like to hire people with interests and basic values similar to their own.
- When you keep the information on your resume strictly business, you will have more room on your resume for what is really important Position-Relevant Information.
- Position-Relevant Information (PRI) is the information that has a significant impact in the decision-making process for job selection. The best way to test each statement in your resume for PRI is to ask the question, "So what?" Put yourself in the interviewer's shoes. Look at the position. Then ask yourself the question, "So what?"
- Let's say you want to include in your resume the statement, "Proficient at Microsoft Word and Lotus 123." So what? Well, if you are interviewing for a secretarial position, this could be useful. However, if you are interviewing for a sales position selling surgical instruments, it may be less relevant.
- PRI is what interviewers care about. It can be challenging to know what PRI to include when every company and potential position is unique. But it is important to tailor your resume whenever possible.
- You can determine the appropriate PRI by putting yourself in the position of your potential boss. Imagine you were the person doing the interview. What would be important? If the position is for product management, then an MBA, prior experience and ability to communicate, may be the PRI. What if you are interviewing for an engineering position or a project manager position? Then the PRI might be project history, significant outcomes or accomplishments, and time of project completion.
- When putting statements into your resume, ask yourself, "Is it PRI?" Does the information pass the "So what?" test? If so, use it. If not, leave it out.
- Proof Read!
The most important thing you can do before you finish is to proofread the resume. Use your word processor's spelling and grammar check. Then, have others critique it. Sometimes you can get too close to your creation and miss obvious mistakes that your software does not catch. The more people who critique your resume, the better! I am always amazed at how many people have mistakes in their resumes. Here are a few examples:
- "Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave."
- "I have lurnt the Word Perfect 6.0 computor progrom."
- "Received a plague for Salesperson of the Month."
- "I require a salary commiserate with my extensive expertise."
- Don't let your resume become a source of amusement for the folks in Human Resources. Always proofread it before you send it out anywhere.
By following these eight simple steps, you can be sure your resume is a help and not a hindrance in your quest to find a new job.
Editor's Note: You can learn more about writing outstanding resumes as well as other great tips on how to get a job quickly in Todd's book 10 Insider Secrets to Job Hunting Success. You can purchase this book, online, in either paperback or e-book format, from Amazon.com