When an employer advertises a job these days, a typical posting will elicit a hundred of responses from hopeful job seekers. Regardless of their qualifications, most of their résumés will never see the light of day. With hundreds of potential candidates to consider, HR professionals and hiring managers are primarily interested in quickly rejecting as many résumés as possible while not letting the “value” résumés slip through. The key then, for job seekers, is to make their résumé stand out and make it easy for the screener to select them
So How Can You Get Your Résumé to Stand Out?
Before you begin to craft your résumé, know your objective and target your market. If don’t know what you want, no amount of formatting or wordsmithing will help. But, with clarity of your ideal job, the secret to getting your résumé to stand out is simple: quickly demonstrate value and that you are a good fit for the job.
Each line of your résumé is inviting the reader to continue, so each word is important to gain their interest. While there are many ways to accomplish this, the following are the top 5 success factors that generally make the list of “must do’s” for job-seeking professionals.
Create a powerful branded headline for your summary section – the headline clearly communicates who you are and the level of position you are seeking. For example, a headline might read “Marketing Director.”
This would be followed by a short, sub-head bulleted branding statement that speaks directly to your key areas of expertise – all on a single line below the headline.
Make sure that your subhead matches not only your past experience, but represents what you want to do moving forward. Your branding statement helps frame you as a qualified and experienced candidate for the position you are targeting.
Use keywords in the summary of qualifications section – it is very important that your summary section be written in your target market’s language. This means using keywords and key phrases that an HR screener will recognize, a hiring manager will be interested in or pass the vetting of an applicant tracking system.
Many companies today screen applications using applicant tracking systems. These are software driven systems that is electronically scanned a resume and score that resume based on a number of predetermined factors such as keywords and key phrases.
How do you know what keywords to use? The company tells you! As a job seeker, you want to study very carefully the keywords and key phrases that are found in the job posting, company website, and other industry materials. You can then reframe your summary of qualifications using their language.
Present your professional experience in case study format – your goal is to show value, results, and your ability to get things accomplished. Using a case study format demonstrates that you can do the job, and show a tangible result.
A case study statement has three sections: define the problem, present your solution, and highlight the results. An example might be “Revived a dormant market segment by created a marketing strategy which resulted in a 30-percent gross revenue lift in the first year.”
Highlight your achievements that make you relevant – while your professional experience and education are important to demonstrating that you are a highly qualified candidate for the position, what differentiates you from the others are those aspects of your professional history that accentuate your relevance and value to the company. So be sure to include professional credentials, affiliations, awards and recognition, appointments and leadership posts, published materials, media examples, public speaking, pro bono and volunteer experience.
Remember your résumé is a marketing document – whose purpose is to get the sales meeting: the interview. This means writing your résumé in a clean, clear, and concise style so that the reader just instantly engaged and clearly sees your value.
Bullet points that convey your value are much easier to read than big blocks of text which is a turnoff to the tired person tasked with screening résumés. Keep your formatting simple, and use boldface type to accentuate titles, headlines, and other aspects you want to draw the reader’s eye towards.
While having a great résumé is essential to effectively communicating your value and these Top 5 Secrets are common tips found in most every book written about the subject, job seekers fail to observe them and then wonder why they get no results. If you want results, know your objective, and then be clear, brief and relevant to help the hiring manager hire you.
Scott Huetteman is the co-creator of Find My Perfect Job – a program dedicated to teaching job-seeking professionals how to identify, find and land their perfect job, and the host of the JobSeek Radio. Learn more at www.findmyperfectjob.net