If you are sending your resume out but not getting multiple invitations to interview, your resume needs some improvement. To stand out and generate interviews, your resume needs to grab the attention of recruiters and hiring managers who flip through resumes quickly, and it needs to spark their interest with the kind of information that makes them want to know more.
What resume improvements will generate interviews?
1. Quantify Your Accomplishments
To quantify your accomplishments means to describe them in numbers, dollars, or percentages. This is hugely important—numbers will grab attention and interest from hiring managers like nothing else. So, don’t just say that you boosted efficiency—say that you boosted efficiency by 30% (or whatever it was). Don’t just say that you generated sales—say that you generated $2M in sales over a 1-year period. Be as specific as you can. If you’ve forgotten some of your more impressive statistics, you may need to contact previous bosses who can help you.
2. Make Your Resume Communicate Better
You may be the best person for the job, but if your resume doesn’t communicate well for you, you won’t get a chance to interview for it.
To communicate effectively, your resume should…
Ditch the summary in favor of a good objective statement. Use your objective statement to say what job you want. Be specific—objective statements that say things like ‘to increase my skills in a growing company’ are what gave objective statements a bad name in the first place. Tailor it to the job so you can highlight what you bring that they would be interested in. The key is to focus on what THEY want and how you fit—not on what YOU want for your career.(Need more help? Watch this video: Resume Objective Statements Help You Get the Interview) Ditch paragraphs in favor of bullet points. Anyone looking through a stack of resumes is going to read them fast, and they will tend to skim paragraphs—causing them to miss important information you need them to know. Under each job, list your quantified accomplishments with eye-catching bullet points that deliver your most important information effortlessly.
3. Add A ‘Special’ Factor
Be careful with this one…you don’t want to create a resume with crazy fonts or a fluorescent background. However, there are things you can do that make your resume stand out.
Job shadowing experiences are fantastic for entry-level job seekers—they give you a layer of experience that other newbies won’t have, and they show that you are someone willing to go the extra mile in order to succeed. Put that experience on your resume and you get the power of those keywords, too.
If you have a quote that sums up your attitude, drive, determination, etc., you can include it on your resume.
Especially for newcomers, a list of relevant industry reading material can boost your chances of getting the interview. Reading voluntarily shows intelligence, enthusiasm, and motivation.
If you have a hobby or volunteer activity that relates to this job you want, then you can list it on your resume. If you do something especially active, that can help show your energy level, which is great for sales jobs. If you are a Toastmasters member, that can speak to your focus on continuous improvement as a speaker.
The most important thing is to know the message you want to deliver (that you will contribute to the organization’s success), and make sure that everything on your resume supports that message.
Remember that your resume is not about you; it’s about the employer. Use your resume as a marketing tool to highlight why you’re the person who can help them succeed.
Need more help? Find out about my Extreme Resume Makeover Kit (includes coaching and free review) to have an interview-generating resume in about an hour.
About the author
Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
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