The job search market has changed drastically in the past several years and today, job seekers must know the ins and outs of job searching before they embark on the journey.
It’s a known fact that resumes are looked at for less than 10 seconds and the average number of applications received for a role extends past 250. In the abridged time period, your resume must truly be a fact-driven document with keywords that stand out as well as showcase your value to a prospective employer.
Here are 4 things to do to get your resume seen by the right person and not tossed into the trash by a recruiter, hiring manager, or ATS (applicant tracking software) system.
Use the Right Keywords for Your Industry & Targeted Role
With more than 90% of companies utilizing software programs (known as ATS software) to sort through the hundreds of candidates, it’s imperative that your keywords stand out easily and are woven throughout the resume. Select no more than 8-10 powerful keywords that will include factual support in the resume. For example, the phrase “business development” is a popular keyword used for sales and marketing resumes. Be sure to include examples in your resume of how you leveraged your business development skill set – whether it’s by driving relationships in new territories, or boosting new clients by 30%, you must support those keywords with facts in the resume.
Expert Tip: If you’re not sure which keywords are the best ones to use, look to the job description and highlight the words that pop out to you. Those same words should appear throughout your resume.
Give Yourself a Proper Branding Statement
Before you delve into the details of your resume, consider what your areas of expertise are for your industry. Is it business development, project management, revenue growth, or financial management? Notably, if you are going for a VP of Marketing role, you will want to review several job postings and notice the common thread between the keywords used. Select 3 to 4 core specialties that you have top skills in and formulate your branding statement to leverage those areas of expertise. Remember, you will need to factually support those core specialties throughout your resume.
Expert Tip: Researching and doing your due diligence is imperative before you begin sending out your resume. Know your market, know your target roles, and know your industry backwards and forwards.
Focus on Results Beyond Responsibilities
Companies know that you’re results-driven and you’re a good people manager, but they want to see HOW that came to be. How did you drive costs down, bring revenue up, and retain employees over the past 5 years? If a hiring manager is looking at your resume for several seconds, it needs to state the results and provide examples with specific facts.
Expert Tip: Separate your results from your basis job functions by asking yourself what was the outcome of the project I led, the system I created, or the process I improved? Ask yourself if it answers the who, where, how, and why. Make a list of real outcomes that you procured, changes you’ve effectuated, and what you learned from the result.
Replace an Objective with a Professional Summary
Your objective is to find a job, but a professional summary can serve as a roadmap to your career and highlight some key facets of it for a reader to see up front before delving into the experience section of the resume. A professional summary and the corresponding bullet points below it should take up no more than a third of the page. I’ve seen resumes where the career highlights section is an entire first page of the resume, but remember, if a recruiter or hiring manager is looking at the resume for less than 10 seconds, they need to see the information up front and center. It cannot go on and on like a slow love story in a move theater. You want to keep the reader’s attention, not put them to sleep. Use a resume font that is also visually appealing and friendly on the eyes.
Expert Tip: Look at samples of executive resumes to see how professional summaries are developed and how they can vary in style. Think of some key items you want to highlight at the outset of your resume for a reader to review.
Once you have put all of these tools into action, next up is networking for an opportunity through LinkedIn, real-life connections, and personal outreach with introductory calls. Be sure to craft a well-inspired business letter to attach with your resume.