Today’s job market is very competitive. With the state of the economy these last couple of years, jobs are now at a premium. Many companies have a hiring freeze, and some others have downsized to make them more agile. However, colleges and universities are cranking out more and more graduates every year. These fresh graduates are now competing with newly unemployed people who already have work experience. With the limited number of jobs, you really have to sell and market yourself to a prospective employer, and your resume is your first opportunity to do so.
The human resources department of the company is the unit in charge of addressing the staffing requirements of the company. Hiring supervisors and managers receive hundreds, if not thousands of resumes for each available position that they advertise. With numbers like these, they need to weed out the lackluster resumes very quickly, separating the potential hires from the rest of the pack. As a result, they will probably just spend a minute or two glancing at your resume. Some will even use software to perform that function, and it uses a keyword search to do a skills match. Thus, it is important to make your resume stand out as one of the best.
Here a five great tips to ensure that your resume will catch the attention of the HR employee tasked to sift through the pile.
Keep it Concise
As stated above, the HR personnel inspecting and pre-qualifying your resume will only have a minute or two to glance at your resume and decide whether you are a fit for the position. In those 120 seconds, your resume must be able to impress that HR employee. Great resumes are concise and go directly to the point. They are streamlined and serve highlight all your achievements and skills. After all, if they do want to know more about you, they can always give you a call and bring you in for an interview.
Cut the fat and limit your resume to one page. Avoid using paragraphs to describe what you have done so far in your life. Use bullet points to identify your skills and qualifications.
Match your Resume to the Job Description
It’s quite easy to just print out hundreds of copies of the same generic resume and give it out to the companies to which you want to apply. However, companies do not want to know about your general skills and qualifications. They want to know how well you can perform the duties and responsibilities that this specific job entails. That is why when they post a job opening, they always include a job description, job responsibilities, and minimum qualifications. Take a close look at that posting and word your resume accordingly. You want to highlight the skills that they need and match your wording and sentence structure to reflect the words in the job posting.
Highlight the Big Names
It’s a well-known fact that HR will tend to look for brand names so to speak. That is apparent in how they categorize fresh graduates. They will segregate students according to the school attended and prioritize the target schools. So if you’ve got a great education from one of the top universities in the country, make sure that it’s the first thing that they read. On a similar note, if you got internship or working experience with a well-known company, it will be to your advantage if you highlight that.
Back it up with Numbers
It’s so easy to claim in your resume that you were responsible for certain things. While companies are looking at your abilities to handle those kinds of responsibilities, they are more concerned about results. Your resume will have a bigger impact if you can quantify those results. Show them the numbers in percentages or dollar amounts. For example, don’t just say that you consistently make your sales targets; highlight the fact that your annual performance is 125% of the sales target.
Be Well Rounded
A resume must do as good a job as possible in encapsulating your personality in a single sheet of paper. Sure, companies are concerned about your ability to perform your job, but they also look at the soft skills that you display outside of work. These would include your interest and hobbies, any languages you speak, and any charitable work that you do. By being a well-rounded person, you will be able to show them that you have the potential to do even more when you are given the chance.
With these five great tips, you can polish your resume to make it more unique and more relevant in the eyes of prospective employers. What other things have you done to make your resume stand out?