How to craft your resume
A resume is your first chance to dazzle a potential employer, and dazzle you must. The average recruiter spends about 6 seconds on a candidate’s resume before reaching a decision about an interview or not—6 seconds!! So if your resume doesn’t spark interest in 6 seconds, you most likely won’t be receiving a call back.
So here’s the deal. You need to tailor your resume to the position you’re applying to, and you have to make sure that those skills you possess which will help you exceed in this job are obvious, front, and center. The typical job opening receives about 250 applications—so you need to make yours stand out from the rest, and stand out fast.
Here are three tips for crafting your resume & scoring that interview.
Make it pretty
Formatting and design is everything. If a hiring manager is handed a resume with inconsistent fonts, alignment issues, spacing issues, or if it’s just plain MESSY and unorganized, they’re going to toss it aside real quick. If your resume is messy, they will assume your work is messy, too. Not good. This is an easy tip to ace—there are plenty of resume templates online that you can use for inspiration and formatting. It’s also a good idea to have one or two friends read over your resume for grammatical errors.
Another thing – I would tailor the design of your resume to the industry you’re seeking jobs within. The typical black & white, cookie cutter, professional resume is great if you’re applying for legal or finance jobs. But if your desired career is a bit more creative, why not make your resume creative as well? Looking for a job in fashion? Add some designer dazzle. Looking for a job in marketing? Craft your resume as though you’re crafting an ad. This is a creative way of showcasing your skills that are applicable for the job you’re applying for, before you’ve even had the interview.
Make a point
You only get a couple of sentences to describe what you did in any position or extra curricular activity, so you really need to make sure that those sentences capture meaningful contributions you made in that position. Rather than just describing what you did & daily tasks in a position, describe what you accomplished. What goals or milestones did you reach in that position? Did you ever step out of your role and complete a task that was outside of your job description? Is there something sizable, tangible, or measurable that you achieved? All of these should be included as bullet points under each position. This will grab a recruiters attention more than simply listing your position’s responsibilities and daily tasks.
Here’s an example. I served as the president of my sorority for one year in college. This position had many tasks and responsibilities, all of which would sound good on a resume. But, to really grab a potential employers attention, I used numbers to highlight just how impressive my role was. Instead of just saying, “I ran the chapter for a year”, I said I led a chapter of 64 college females, and managed an executive board of 8 members. Those numbers measure the responsibility in a tangible form and sound much more impressive than simply stating the responsibilities without numbers.
Make it unique
What’s your secret sauce? What makes YOU the best candidate for this job? For any position you apply to, there’s probably at least a handful, if not a TON of other applicants that are just as qualified as you are for the position. So why is the employer going to choose your resume from that bunch to come in for an interview?
You need to figure out this “Why you”, and plaster it all over your resume. Whether this is worldly experience gained from travel, or a very specific project you worked on in a previous position, or charitable work, or some entrepreneurial side gig, highlight it! One of the most attractive things you can bring to the table for any position is a multitude of experience—if you are super qualified for this job, in a narrow aspect (as in, ALL you have to offer are the qualifications listed), that’s great, but like I mentioned, there’s probably at least a dozen other candidates that are just as qualified as you are, who are going out for the same position. And if a recruiter is smart, they’re going to hire the guy who’s qualified for this job, AND has some super cool skill that’s not required, but that could be put to work to enhance/reshape/redefine the position.
I hope these tips help you craft a killer resume & land that interview!