In today’s remote work, digital-driven world, the definition of “competitive” has changed. When we’re job hunting, we all want our resumes to get the attention they deserve. But to do so, we have to ensure that everything in our document speaks to our strengths, and highlights just how versatile we would be, no matter the job title or day-to-day tasks.
When running the job application gauntlet, there are usually two initial gatekeepers who decide if you’ll get an interview, especially at large corporations, says TopResume Career Advice Expert Amanda Augustine. The first is an applicant tracking system (aka a robot) that screens resumes, scans for keywords, and keeps track of each applicant throughout the hiring process. The second is a real live person who will be looking at your resume after it come through the system, but only for a few seconds. The average time spent looking at a resume for most employers is six to seven seconds according to Indeed.
All of which begs the question: How can I make sure my resume stands out from the herd, and rises to the top of the stack? Here’s your gameplan.
Have Skills Tailored Toward The Job
You might be the best ever sidekick, wingwoman or Jane-of-all trades, but putting terms that are too vague on your resume won’t help you get a specific position, like Marketing Manager, for example. Before you submit a resume, take time to look over the job description and make note of any common threads between the job listing and your experience. Then, make a few tweaks to your resume to spotlight those skills. In some cases, you won’t have to make any changes (woohoo!) but if you see that a job is asking for specific experience using Hootsuite, but your resume says you have experience with “social media management platforms” then it’s time to make an edit so you can ensure you’ll stand out as having the exact experience desired.
With that said, always be truthful. So, if public speaking is your worst fear, don’t say you’re comfortable giving presentations to large groups. (In other words, make sure the hiring manager knows you can do the job, but don’t embellish.) Augustine says your resume is a marketing document, not a transcript. So while highlighting certain skills that apply to the job can help boost your chances, many other skills can be learned on the job, and the wisest employers know that people can be trained, says Melissa Hirsch, the principal recruiter for Betts, a recruiting tool.
Highlight Your Value
Yes, showcasing your unique skillset is important, but it’s also key to offer proof that you’re actually good at performing all those skills and are at the top of your field, says Augustine. To that end, you should highlight awards, certificates, and statistics from previous positions showcasing how you’ve been able to drive change. Accolades from previous managers can be the proof you need to showcase your hard work and talent. Hirsch says to think of your resume as your one-page bragging sheet, so it’s okay to gloat with pride. This is your time to shine.
Looks Are Everything
You know the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Unfortunately, that’s exactly how hiring managers and recruiters are judging our resumes, every day, which is why having a clean and classic resume is essential to keeping your candidacy in the running. Creating a visual balance, using color, and embracing space can all work to your advantage. Ideally, you’ll make use of bullet points and indentations, says Augustine. Keep the information easy to find so your resume doesn’t feel like a “Where’s Waldo” exercise. Here are some of our favorite resume formats to follow if you’re looking for some inspiration.
It may sound obvious, but grammar and spelling errors are the most detrimental problems to all resumes. Every employer, no matter the industry, wants to hire people who have attention to detail, who know how to double-check their work to ensure it’s high quality. Upon finding even one error, employers are likely to throw your resume out, even if its otherwise excellent. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 77% of employers will instantly trash a resume with typos or bad grammar. And in a 2019 analysis performed by jobs site Adzuna, 90% of resumes had spelling or grammar mistakes. Thankfully, downloading a free online writing assistance service, such as Grammarly, ProWritingAid or other alternative writing assistant tools can help ensure flawlessness every time. (And the HerMoney team loves Google Docs for proofing as you go!) Always check (and double-check) your resume until you feel it’s English professor-approved. And bonus points if you have a friend or family member look it over for you.
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