Applying for jobs can be stressful when competing with hundreds of other applicants. Improving your resume is one of the best ways to increase your chances of securing a job. Resumes help convey who you are not only as an applicant but also as a person. Here are some tips on how to give your resume a leg up on the competition.
1. Customize your Resume to the Industry
Tailor your resume to appeal to the industry you are applying for. Include information and statistics relevant to the industry. Always make sure to look over the job posting and include any buzzwords, skills, and requirements the company is looking for. Recruiters are looking for the qualities they listed on the job posting, so make it clear to them that you possess those qualities.
2. Be Clean and Concise
You never know how much time a hiring manager will have to look at each document, so keeping it simple is always an effective choice. Utilize formats and fonts to your advantage to draw managers eyes to the most important information. Only include content relevant to the job position and your skills. It doesn’t need to include every job you have ever worked. Remove old, outdated jobs and experiences that are unrelated to the job. Cutting out this information will help you keep your document to a single page.
3. Focus on Achievements
Many applicants focus on their previous duties and responsibilities as employees. However, hiring managers are more interested in what you achieved at your prior company. If possible, always quantify your achievements (ex: how many units did you sell). By quantifying these achievements your skills are more credible and will better stick out to hiring managers.
4. Show—Don’t List—your Skills
Oftentimes applicants just list skills such as strong leader, effective communicator, and team player, but they fail to explain them. Any applicant can list these meaningless buzzwords, so it is important to follow them up with examples and situations where you demonstrated those skills in different experiences.
An easy way to do this is by implementing the STAR method into your resume. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. When presenting your skills, list them by first explaining the situation and job task. Then explain the action you took. Finally, present the results and how the chosen skill impacted the entire process.
5. Check for Errors
It is very easy to make simple grammar or spelling mistakes. However, a resume is one of the last places you want to make those mistakes. HR representatives equate typos to laziness. While these mistakes are small, employers know they are easy to fix if the applicant took the time to re-read their document. Always have a fresh set of eyes look over your work before submitting it.