Someday, digital platforms like LinkedIn might remove the resume as a mainstay in the job application process. For now though, recruiters rely on them to get a sense of who you are, and why they should hire you for your skills.
Here are 5 quick resume building tips to help you get to the top of the resume list, and into a job interview.
1. Keep Your Resume Squeaky Clean
You wouldn’t believe the number of errors on resumes from people trying to work here at our company. Your resume is your first impression. Thus, make sure it’s organized and contains ample white space (to give the reader’s eyes a rest). If a resume has an error, most places will simply toss it in the trash — even if you are the most qualified candidate.
Why should potential employers waste their time on you if you aren’t willing to make the effort to ensure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors? The first rule of resumes: having errors in the writing is not acceptable.
2. Customize and Personalize
Most people send the same resume time after time to different jobs — and don’t think hiring managers, human resource professionals, and companies don’t realize this fact. The reality is that you are probably applying to slightly different kinds of jobs. Thus, an easy way to stand out is to modify your resume, to tailor it to the specific job. For example, if you are applying for a finance job, make sure to highlight in your resume when you served as treasurer. However, if you were applying for a job that relies on time management, revise your resume to include the experience of planning an event for an organization.
3. Format with Bullets, not Paragraphs
Attention spans have dropped from 12 minutes to only 5 minutes. We don’t read full articles anymore; we skim the headlines. Why should your resume be any different? Make sure to use bullet points to drive your points across—the ability to be concise is a skill that is highly admired in corporate America. The days of paragraphs are over; use bullet points to make your resume easier to digest.
4. Not Much Experience: One Page Is Fine
If you are reading this, you are probably around 30 years of age or younger. Thus, your resume should not be more than one page. Yes, you are an astounding individual — and have much more than one page of information to tell. That is what the interview is for — to present new, exciting information not yet included on your resume. Boil your experience down to a single page, highlighting the best of the best.
And remember, tailor the experiences you include to the job you are applying for. One simple trick: develop a page of “highlights” that you can copy and paste based on the job you are applying for. Most recruiters throw away resumes that are more than one page — they simply don’t have time for it.
5. Keywords Are the Key
More and more companies are using automated computer algorithms to dig through the plethora of resumes they receive to narrow the selection. It’s crucial that you include keywords relating to the job you are applying for to get your resume “found” and passed onto the next level. Use these keywords early in the resume, and use them often (but don’t repeat sentences—use them in different contexts). For example, if a job description states the company is looking for people with knowledge of the recently passed “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” that phrase and its acronyms will be noticed and will give that resume priority in the automated system.
Now that you have your resume in tip top shape, we have one more piece of advice: apply, apply, apply. Job applications today are a numbers game. By using these tips you will increase your ability to get your resume found. Now you need to increase the number of people who get to look at it. Set a schedule (i.e. “I will apply for 10 jobs a week—two for each weekday”) and get ready to watch the payoff and paychecks come in.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Under30Careers.com!
About the Author: William L. Mehserle Jr. is co-founder and lead strategist at Khraze.com, a new media marketing company that creates custom marketing strategies for clients. He is also co-founder of theExpressionary.com, a personalized gift company. You can connect with him on Twitter or on LinkedIn. (Resume expert Diana Mehserle contributed to this article.)