The Recipe for an Interview-getting Resume

Resume writing has certainly changed over the years growing increasingly more complex and difficult to maneuver. Though a resume remains an essential tool for securing a job, it has evolved. Effective resume writing today uses ATS-friendly keywords, career accomplishments, performance metrics and clean, streamlined formatting to name a few. With so many elements to consider when crafting a job-winning resume, how can you tell if your resume is on the right track?

4 Elements of an Attention-getting Resume

Strong Resume Opening – Several years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for resume writing to open with a boring objective statement to the effect of “Seeking a position as an Operations Manager to use my talents, skills and education to grow with the company.” No one really paid much attention to these dull one-liners; people generally skipped straight to the “Work Experience” section to see what you’ve done. Though your “Work Experience” remains an essential component of your resume writing, today’s interview-getting resumes replace the objective statement with a profile or summary section.

This summary section should reach out and grab the readers’ focus and say “this is what I do and this is why you need to hire me.” It needs to be concise, informational, and impressive without being too obnoxious or over the top. To do this effectively requires a delicate balance of pizzazz and persuasion. In fact this is one of the top reasons why many job seekers hire professional resume writers. If you do not start out strong, the hiring manager or human resources professional screening resumes may overlook you.

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courtesy of Miles, freedigitalphotos.net

An Achievement-rich Experience Section – As stated previously the Work Experience section of your resume writing will also receive a lot of attention by the reader. Here you need to focus on what you do / have done (in both big-picture and day to day terms if relevant) and what you have accomplished. The addition of job accomplishments or achievements is a new element in today’s job winning resumes.

So for instance, it isn’t enough to say, “Responsible for multimillion dollar sales and territory.” It is better to say, “Manage and grow sales territory from $2.5M to $2.8M over most recent quarter, exceeding quota by 15 percent.”

Achievements are essential for today’s attention-getting resumes even if you aren’t in sales – but particularly if you are. An achievement shows what you can accomplish, how you bring added value to your team or department, and that you have hutzpah. It shows how you stand out from other applicants and that you are more than your job title.

An Accurate Education Section – The importance of the education section on your job-winning resume depends largely on your industry and the specific employer. Some job openings might say “MBA preferred” so you might be considered even if you don’t have this preference. For other positions, having a certain degree may be non-negotiable.

If you have the required degree, then you would simply list it. If you don’t, list what you do have. However, don’t ever lie about having a degree. Even if you completed 95% of the degree but didn’t finish it for whatever reason, simply state, “Completed 100 hours towards Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication”. Being untruthful about something of this magnitude will catch up with you.

Resume Skills Section – The importance of your resume skills’ section varies depending on your industry and profession. For those professionals in engineering or information technology, it is important to list all of your software proficiencies, coding languages, developers’ tools and more. Nurses or medical technicians would want to list their areas of specialty as well as procedures and treatments they are familiar with.

This listing of specifics is true for all professional positions because the hiring manager or ATS software may conduct a search based on one of these keywords. So if you are in forensic accounting, list the specifics of that niche area rather than just basic accounting terms, though you may want to list some of those as well.  This is the case for every position that has a specific line of training or education.

As a certified professional resume writer, I see a lot of clients with a resume skills section that reads like this: dependable, reliable, detail-oriented, and hard working. It is best to avoid including terms like this under a resume skills section. While these are desirable traits in a potential employee, they are exactly that: traits or characteristics rather than learned or measurable skills. Employers and hiring managers view traits like “dependability” as a given; they don’t belong in a resume skills section.

86 Keys Communications creates results-getting resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and related resume writing services for job seekers of every industry and experience level. Contact them today at info@86keys.com to learn more about how they can help with your job search.

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A New Resume for the New Year

January is one of the best times of year to find a new job. Hiring managers are looking to fill open positions and now have the budgets they need to do so. With the spirit of the New Year, these individuals are also seeking to facilitate change in the office.

Many job seekers too are looking for change in the form of a new job. Whatever the reason – more money, greater flexibility, a new boss or an increase in responsibility – getting a new job ranks as a common New Year’s resolution. With so many positions opening up and candidates applying for them, a job-winning resume is crucial to getting the hiring manager’s attention.resume_newyears_sirichai_freedigitalphotos-net

Top Three Tips for Getting Your Resume Writing Noticed in the New Year

Clean Formatting – Human resources professionals and hiring managers are scanning through hundreds, yes hundreds, of resumes and cover letters sorting the wheat from the chaff. They are looking for a quick way to discard applicants, and poor resume formatting is often the easiest option.

Is your resume formatting sloppy with misaligned text and tables, letter fonts and sizes that are all over the place, spacing that is way too much or way too little? Does your resume writing use 8-point font and extend to the margins?  Resumes such as these that are hard to read are often the first to be discarded.

Does Your Resume Opening Grab the Reader? The first few lines of your resume should capture the reader’s attention. Here, you need to both clearly state the purpose of the resume and what you bring to the table. Much like an advertisement, this space is first and foremost where you must sell yourself. The remainder of your resume writing supports the claim you make here.

You are not alone if you find this hard to do. It is difficult to sum up your career history and all you’ve accomplished in one or two lines. Yet this is what job-winning resumes do, and this is what will best get the attention of time-strapped hiring managers.

Proper Use of Resume Keywords – In today’s digital age, the first person to read your resume may not be a person at all but an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). These computer systems scan resume keywords, and those without the right ones are likely to be discarded into a digital wasteland.

Now we could draft an entire article on using the right resume keywords and getting past these scanners. For simplicity’s sake you should include a keyword or “area of expertise” section in the resume writing that lists these words or phrases. Top keywords should also be placed contextually throughout the resume.

Whether you are an active or passive job seeker, January is an ideal time to update your resume and put yourself in the market. Finding a new job is rarely easy but statistically, the start of the year bodes well for most job seekers.

Need a New Resume That Grabs the Hiring Manager’s Attention?

86 Keys Communications creates results-getting resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and related resume writing services for job seekers of every industry and experience level. Contact them today at info@86keys.com.