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Crafting Your Resume with these Top-Notch Tips

You may or may not have heard the claim that the average time recruitment managers spend analyzing resumes is only about 5 to 7 seconds. Whether this is based in truth or not, the takeaway is that you have mere seconds to tell the story of YOU on a somewhat short piece of paper. And that story is the only chance you have to win over the employer. If you’re feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, you aren’t alone. While challenging, writing a top notch resume is totally in your wheelhouse.

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Prove Your Worth

When writing a resume, it’s common sense to include skills, education and experience. Everyone has this on their resume, so don’t make the mistake of being unoriginal and just list out all of those skills and accomplishments. Prove to the employer you worked hard to acquire those achievements by giving them a backstory.

By no means does this need to be long. You don’t have the space and you don’t want to brag. Instead, use verbs like managed, generated, instituted, etc. These will paint a picture around you achievements with brevity. You are the storyteller of your own life, you just have to learn how to captivate your specific audience. Sending out a generic resume to 30 different jobs is not going to get you 30 interviews. You’ll be lucky to even get one and in the business world, it’s not about luck. It’s about taking charge of your career and getting the interview.

Need help thinking of verbs for your resume? Here’s a list!

Interview Tip: Use your resume points to steer your interview conversations. For each accomplishment or task, be prepared to provide more color around the setting, conflict and/or resolution. Give examples of different situations you have come across while in the workforce or in life that you needed to solve or completely turn around with a strategic plan and execution and what the results were. This will show your employer that you have the actual skill to handle similar situations in their company.

Basics Can Align To Requirements

Yes, in general, your resume will have the same information, no matter the job. However, no one resume should be sent over and over again. While you might get a few responses, most employers are assessing applicants by their ability to understand the role and meet its needs. Every position has basics requirements. Use the job ad or description to steer the tone and content of your resume. Make sure all the information you give can be supported by real world examples. Your cover letter is a great place to explain your connection to the role, but be sure it’s made clear through your resume points and structure.

Tip: Mirror the job description in your resume as much as possible. If the employer is using an ATS, many of the words in the job description will likely be used to screen out resumes. Make sure yours makes the cut by adding in keywords and titles.

Related: 5 Follow Up Email Examples

Keep it Organized

You might have amazing accomplishments, but learning how to format them in a desirable and compelling way is key to actually landing a call back. Grammar and consistent structure is one way to achieve this. If you use bullet points, make sure they match each other in tone and punctuation. Be sure your current jobs are spoken about in present tense and past positions are in past tense. Hiring teams do not have time to see past those errors. If you don’t hit the mark, there’s a good chance they’ll immediately move on to other resumes.

Read this post for additional resume advice.

Additionally, recruiters and hiring managers don’t have time to search for information. Organize your jobs in a way that best suits you. In most cases, that means listing your name and contact information at the very top. Place your education and credentials close behind. Your relevant work history should be just that. Include jobs that actually pertain to your industry and experience within similar roles. Most professional resumes list jobs in chronological order with the most recent job at the top. Do remember that resumes change across industries and positions. If you’re in a creative field, don’t let it be boring.

Tips to keep in mind

  • Know your audience: Know who you are writing to, grasp each company’s personality and values. If possible, pen your cover letter to the CEO or hiring manager directly. Typically with larger companies, it will be the HR department but if it’s a company of 20 or less, you might be writing to the head of the department or even the CEO.
  • Prove your worth: Have credentials you can back up and support while creating a picture for your employer. Show them that you have experience in areas with actual stories. It might have them seeing the role in a new light (and hopefully with you in it).
  • Have the basics: All great storytellers have the key elements in their stories (plot, characters, conflict, and resolution).  Most of us have experienced something in our careers that have the basis of these. You just have to write it out now, take a second to think back and see where you shined.
  • Amazing intro and even better ending: Nobody likes a dull and dragging beginning. Make sure your intro summary is just as compelling as the middle of your resume to the final word at the end. You want to be able to give your resume the most appealing face.
  • Research. Research. Research: Learning more about the company and what your specific job that you’re applying for will help you write a better resume by using that research and knowledge to craft up the perfect content to reach your audience.

Creating an amazing resume takes time but is worth it if you want to see results. Putting together your first impression and giving a sense of who you are through stories, organization, knowledge of the company and being able to prove your skills and talents in that way, is putting you one step closer to getting that dream job. You have the tools, now go start applying for your dream jobs. Good luck!