The ultimate goal of the résumé is to compel hiring managers to call the candidate in for an interview. For this reason, it is imperative for jobseekers to have branded résumés that present them as unique and a cut above the other candidates. While qualifications, job history, and abilities are all important, potential employers not review résumés that read the same as others. They are looking for that “stand out” candidate and may throw the template résumés into the slush pile. To avoid this pile, jobseekers should make sure that their résumé captivates the reader in the first few sections. Here are a few tips to capture potential employers’ interests enough to want to read more, and then make the call to arrange an interview:
Tip 1: Use Keyword Integration
Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to search for the most likely qualified candidates out of the hundreds of résumés they may receive for a given position. Therefore, human eyes may not even see the documents in the first round of the selection process. This is why jobseekers should make their résumés are keyword rich. In addition to keyword section in the opening section, the résumé should contain the employer’s keywords (which jobseekers can locate in the job announcement) in job position segments as well. Selection of the right keywords for the position will make the résumé stand out through the ATS process.
Tip 2: Be Unique
Today, there are likely to be five or more applicants for each job opportunity. Therefore, it is critical to have unique career marketing documents. Candidates can achieve this by conveying quantifiable achievements, project successes, awards, accolades, and the likes, in addition to their overall accountabilities. For example, candidates should not state simply that they were a team leader, as this may be common with many other applicants. Jobseekers should also state how the team and the company benefitted from their leadership by quantifying the accomplishments that would not have been achieved in their absence.
Tip 3: Add an Effective Career Summary
A career summary should consolidate the main points about a jobseeker’s brand and value. The reader should be able to visualize the potential employee’s fit in the company and his or her ability to make a positive impact on the bottom line. For this reason, candidates should avoid the generalized statements and phrases that are common on most résumés. If your career summary can possibly be used by many others and still be truthful, it is too general and will bore the reader. Rather, provide specific career overviews that will compel the reader to keep reading. Highlight cost savings over a career, fast-track promotions, or expertise in a certain industry or skill. Once they read the career summary, they should want to read more into the candidate’s supporting information, and then make the call for an interview.
Tip 4: Apply the Appropriate Résumé Design
The final tip is to have a résumé design that reflects the appropriate profession and professional level. The résumé should have a strategy and should flow. Repeated information may tell the reader that the candidate does not have enough experience to fill a page or that the candidate thinks the reader will not remember skill stated in a previous section. Improper designs, colors, and font styles and sizes may also throw off a reader simply by making them frustrated. Worse, a poorly designed résumé may not be readable by a company ATS. Jobseekers should ensure that their résumé is clear, concise, and free of errors, as well as correctly reflect their professional level and industry.
Cheryl Cooper, MBA, CPRW
Professional Best Writing Services