Although many jobs lost during the economic downturn have been replaced, that doesn’t mean getting a job has gotten quicker or easier. Many people are still looking for work or hoping to move into higher paying jobs and not getting results from their efforts. There are many factors that determine whether or not you get hired. While some of these factors you have no control over, you can control the quality of resume you submit.
The resume is your first chance to catch a potential employer’s attention, but many people squander this opportunity with boring or generic resumes. If your resume isn’t leading to interviews, here are some tips to improve your results.
1. Focus on results instead of duties. The best way to stand out is to treat your resume like a marketing piece in which you let the employer know what you’ll be able to do for the company. Instead of listing your skills and experience, rework them into benefits for the employer.
2. Tailor the resume to the job and the employer. Not all job titles and not all employers who need your job skills are the same. A retail establishment that needs an accountant will have slightly different needs than a gym who also needs an accountant. Retail stores have inventory and returns, whereas gyms have various membership levels and equipment rentals. While both need help managing their books and doing taxes, how and what specifically is tracked is slightly different. A resume that addresses the specific requirements of the job and unique aspects of the industry will impress potential employers more than a generic resume.
3. Follow directions. Sometimes, in an attempt to stand out, you might try to add unnecessary information or deliver it in a unique format. But resume submissions that don’t comply to the job post’s directions are usually eliminated without review. If you can’t follow directions during the application processes, what does that say about your ability to follow directions on the job? Supply what the job posts specifies and avoid being cutesy or obnoxious.
4. Deliver a readable, logically ordered resume that highlights skills and experiences related to the job. On your resume, expand on the skills and experiences you have that fits the job and only mention or even leave out skills and experience that are unrelated. For example, when I apply for writing jobs, I don’t list my social work experience, unless the writing job is related to mental health. You don’t want to lie or deceive, but you don’t want to deliver page after page of information that isn’t relevant to the job either.
Competition continues to be fierce for jobs. Make sure your resume is read and takes you to the next step of the job process by delivering a targeted, easy to read, benefits-oriented resume.