Every job skills coach worth his salt stresses the importance of your resume- they tell you that your resume can make or break your chances to get to the interview. No matter how often repeated, this point could never go overstressed.
Stand Out or Lose Out
The job market today has many more opportunities than it had a couple of decades back- the IT boom has created many new jobs that didn’t exist earlier. But this does not mean that you have it easier now to find a job- the number of qualified candidates has also increased correspondingly. You are today competing with a large number of highly qualified candidates, all of whom look equally good. Remember that the first screening of your resume is often done at a lower level, where the staff is asked to eliminate the less desirable candidates.
This is where a resume can make all the difference. You have to make a resume that stands out from the crowd. This is the only way you can get past the initial screening. Here are a few pointers that help to make a winning resume.
1.Give Them the Trailer Not the Whole Film
Do not tell too much in your resume. Your resume should act as a preview/ trailer that looks inviting enough, so that the employer wants to learn more about you. However do give them a bright picture that looks inviting enough, and be sure to include the most crucial parts of your skills and experience that are important to the employer.
For instance imagine that you have spent several years with a particular company. You must have fulfilled a large variety of tasks, positions and responsibilities. However mention only the most crucial few (one or two) of these in your resume. Do not spend more than a sentence or two for each.
E.g. 2002-Present: Company X
Projects: Project A, Project B, Project C
Give the period and a small description for each project and don’t forget to mention the targets achieved.
You would do very well to give the miss to the routine sections like personal information and interests/hobbies. Ideally your resume should not be longer than a page- two if you are very senior and have a long list of positions held/ important projects executed.
2. Use Key Words
Remember that a lot of search for prospective candidates today happen through the internet. You would certainly want your resume to be easily accessible to the search engines. Key words are the sure way to achieve this. Include several relevant keywords that apply to your skills and experience. You can also use common industry words as applicable to you. Do not forget to add the names of the well known companies you have worked for.
Examples for key words: ISMS (Internet Security Management Systems), ERP, International Standards (ISO) etc.
If yours is a digital-format resume, you might add a separate section of keywords at the end of your resume. You can also incorporate them into your skills/experience sections.
3. Speak in Specifics
It is not sufficient that you mention what you did in your experience section. You need to show how it was beneficial to the organization you were with- ways in which it helped the employer to generate more money or save on costs. Mention this in measurable terms (how much?). This is what will ultimately help you secure the job.
As mentioned earlier, you would do well to skip the unimportant parts and bring up the best parts of your performance. Show yourself as a solver of problems- how specifically did you help the previous employer to solve a particular problem? Speak in terms of money earned or money saved. You will be given a chance to expand on this at the interview.
Be brief, specific and be sure to include the relevant keywords in your resume. The easier it is for the employer to evaluate your resume, the clearer you are, the greater your chances of making it to the interview.
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