With thousands of job applications to go through, recruiters and hiring managers tend to skim through resumes and cover letters, looking for keywords that match the position they’re hiring for. If your resume contains something irrelevant, or lacks critical information, they won’t hesitate to throw it out. Here’s how you can keep this from happening to you.
Start With a Strong Statement
The top section of your resume must grab and keep the reader’s attention, compelling them to continue reading. An effective way of doing this is to start with a branding statement that highlights your:
- Career goals
- Core skills
- Qualifications in your industry
If you’re an executive in sales and marketing, indicate areas of specialty, whether it’s client or operations management, or business development. These areas will make up your resume’s branding; be sure to provide concrete examples of why you specialize in these areas.
Many staffing services companies will browse through a digital database of resumes by running a search for specific keywords relevant to the positions they have available. If you’re already familiar with the position you’re applying for, or work in the industry, you already know what keywords to use in your resume.
But in case you’re going in blind and don’t know what an employer will look for in an application, look at similar job postings and see what words and phrases are used to describe the position.
Summary, Not Objectives
Your resume should come with a professional summary of your skills, qualifications, and experience. A recruiter already knows your objective is to find a job. Think of the summary as an appetizer before the main entrée. It introduces the recruiter to your career and experience, found in the latter part of your resume.
So, what should you put in a summary? For starters, include your academic credentials (if you have an MBA, for example), years of work, awards, certificates and training as well as your specialty/specialties in the industry, plus your leadership and relationship-building skills.
Titles with Descriptions
Use your resume as a place to shine. Don’t waste an opportunity to impress recruiters and hiring managers by writing generic titles for past jobs instead of being very descriptive (while also being accurate).
For example, writing down “PR assistant” doesn’t really say much about what you did. Instead, go into detail by listing your responsibilities and turn them into titles, such as:
- Event Coordinator
- Public Communications Liaison
- Staff Writer
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