So many organizations, websites, and books tend to all say very similar things about resume writing, almost to the point of being a cliché. But they are so true, and many job seekers do not seem to heed them. Do you want to have a leg up from the very beginning? Here are some common recommendations from my own experiences as a hiring manager.
- Tailor the Resume to the Specific Job
Some people seem to think that the best job search method is saturation. Multiple job board sites have been around for years now, and offer many features for mass applying for open jobs. Several companies specialize in taking a resume and broadcasting it out to a mass audience. I understand the logic of having one resume that gets sent out to hundreds of companies and job postings. This is not a good method to implement. Believe me, I’ve tried it. Hiring managers can see a standard one size fits all resume and generally do not give them much consideration.
Take your time, and carefully read the job descriptions and reflect on them. Do you have the necessary skills required? Do you have the experience if mandated? Decide if the job is something you are qualified for and can reasonably expect to perform it if hired. Tailor the resume and application to reflect the required skills and experience. You may be a great computer programmer, but if this is not a programming job, do not lead with that particular skill. Lead with the experience that is pertinent to the job posting first, before other skills. The hiring manager sifting through many applications that contain irrelevant experience and skills will notice yours as a good fit for the available job, and probably give it further consideration.
- Make the Resume or Application User Friendly
Long paragraphs are better left to essays and research papers. Bullet points are your friend. A long paragraph will make the hiring manager work harder to read your resume. Make it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to see your skills and experience related to the job posting. I take great pride in giving each an equal evaluation, and if one resume is harder to read than others, I still take my time to evaluate it equally. Not all hiring managers will do this.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. You have work to do as part of your regular duties, but still have to take the time to go through the pool of applicants. They may have to evaluate many in a short amount of time. Sometimes it may be over one hundred, perhaps more. After reading through fifty or sixty, do you think they want to see long paragraphs of text with your skills and experience buried within? Think of who will be evaluating as you write and format your resume. Break down the necessary skills in bullet point format. Always make it easy to read and concise.
Avoid industry jargon. Assume that the hiring manger may not be fully up to speed on many of these concepts and spell it out. Some jargon can be expected, but always make things clear and readable. Assume that people not familiar to the jargon and acronyms will be reading the resume and application.
When I see someone who effectively proof reads something, I see someone who takes the time to pay attention to details and they show a tendency to see things through. Many resumes and applications I receive have grammar mistakes and misspellings. Do you want a hiring manager to notice your flaws in this critical moment, or do you want them to see your skills and experience?
Mistakes will happen, and I have made my share of them. However, with as much on the line as a new job, and possible start to a career, this is not the time or place to make preventable mistakes. Do not gloss over the resume and application.
You may have spent hours perfecting it, and tailoring it to various postings, and not yield results. For young and inexperienced candidates, a perfect resume may not be enough. Be persistent and be thorough in your efforts. These, too, are life skills worth perfecting. Every little thing you can do to make your resume better, to be more visible and outstanding compared to the others will increase your odds for an interview. Keep pressing, there’s a career within your grasp.