When you apply for a job online, your resume will be one of hundreds. Learn what you MUST do if you want your resume to be seen!
Applying for jobs has become incredibly simple thanks to the Internet. Job board sites like Monster and Indeed make submitting your resume as easy as clicking “apply”. The problem? If it’s easy for you, it’s easy for everyone else, too. Many online job postings get hundreds or thousands of applicants. To help field those resumes, many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems, which have their own resume guidelines most people know very little about. With all of that competition, what can you do to stand out in the crowd? Make your resume your secret weapon!
5 Things You Need if You Want Your Resume to Be Seen
The goal of your resume should be to get the most important information in front of a recruiter/hiring manager, and leave everything else out. You might think, “but what about that weeklong workshop I took on building butterfly habitats?” Chances are, that is not relevant experience to the job for which you’re applying. With each piece of information you add, ask yourself, “Is this relevant to this particular job?” The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. Once you get that interview, you can tell the hiring manager all about your love for butterflies—or not.
A summary statement is the new and improved version of the objective statement. Where the objective statement describes your future goals and what you hope to bring to a company, the summary statement describes your accomplishments and the abilities you are bringing to the company. An example of a strong summary statement is,
“Marketing Manager with over 10 years experience and extensive involvement in all aspects of marketing, including analytics, SEO and email marketing”.
It helps you stand out from the crowd because it is the first part of your resume a recruiter/hiring manager will see.
List accomplishments rather than job duties below each position. Job duties make it seem as though you are content just going through the motions at work. You want to show the recruiter/hiring manager that you are willing to go above and beyond the expected duties. Listing accomplishments will help you get noticed by proving that you think in terms of goals, not tasks. Examples of accomplishments are:
“Grew donor base by 30% over 4 years”
“Led team of 8 sales professionals in creating new relationships with 40 clients”.
To develop your own accomplishments, ask yourself: How much money did I save the company? What resources did I maximize? How quickly did I achieve my team’s goals? You’ll be ahead of the game if you start gathering and keeping these numbers up to date before you leave your current job. Formatting your accomplishments can be a challenge, but putting them directly under your work experience generally works best.
Using relevant keywords throughout your resume is an important part of getting noticed. Keywords are crucial to getting through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). ATS are a software application used by most companies to sort and store resumes. Recruiters and hiring managers search for applicants in the ATS by keywords, similar to a search engine. For example, a recruiter/hiring manager might search “HTML” or “Java” to locate candidate resumes matching those skills. Adding a “Skills” section to your resume is a great way to create a hub for relevant keywords. Search the job posting to find the best keywords for each job. For more information about ATS, check out this article.
This is a big one, and it relates to using keywords. It’s similar to filling out college applications; everyone warns you “make sure to change the name of the college in the generic essay you are sending to each school!” Customizing your resume for every job for which you apply is crucial. If you don’t, it could make you look lazy or uninterested in the job. Sure, it takes more time, but you will hear back more often than if you send the same generic resume to every company. Why? First, adding specific keywords from the job posting will help get past ATS. Second, it shows the recruiter/hiring manager that you are serious about your job search. By taking the time to customize your resume with a relevant summary statement, skills, and experience, you will actually be able to apply for fewer jobs and get more responses.
Thanks for this guest post from James Hu of Jobscan
James Hu is the founder and CEO of Jobscan, a web tool that helps you land more interviews by matching your resume to job descriptions. With nine years of technology product experience, he previously co-founded an award-winning transportation start-up and worked as product managers for Kabam Games, Groupon, and Microsoft. James grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington and he is determined to lead a team to build the best software for job seekers.