Your resume is the first chance you have to show a potential employer why you’re the best fit for their open position. It is important to look at the keywords and action words used in the job description or help wanted posting and match those words in your resume. The days of resumes filled with sections of text are gone.
New formatting with resumes helps potential employers scan through the content faster and pick out the critical pieces of information that makes them want to know more about you and your skills.
Speak in Future Tense
What you used to do for employment is not the direction you are taking now, so use your experience from past employment to highlight your resume. Speaking in the past does not tell a potential employer what you can bring to their company and what vision you have to make their company better – this is done through highlighting your skills while thinking of the future.
This is a critical way to improve your resume so that employers get excited about what innovations and ideas you have to make their company better.
Fitting into a company’s culture is necessary. Many employers are working on completing and perfecting the company’s culture. This means that you should take the time to highlight your individuality, but appropriately.
Include an activities section that tells your potential employer what you do with your spare time. Activities should be items like volunteering, coaching youth sports programs, or another meaningful activity. You want to create a resume that gets you the dream job, so you have to show that you fit in and have a personality that meshes with the rest of the team.
Start with a Summary
Objective statements are not part of what your resume should look like anymore. Use a summary of your skills and accomplishments instead. Be creative with the heading for this section. Use something other than the generic header “Summary”. If you are applying for a supervisory or leadership role, consider titling the section Proven Leadership Accomplishments, or something similar. The header should give the potential employer an idea of what you’re going to tell them in that section of your resume.
Display Results and Accomplishments
Employers want to know what you have done with your skills and where it has taken you in your career. When listing an important skill, provide a situation where that skill led to a promotion, meeting a company goal, or another significant event. Briefly outline how your innovative approach improved a company’s efficiency or increased their sales. Tell the employer why your methods work.
Keep it Short
The old way of formatting resumes with paragraphs of work histories and job duties made resumes multiple pages. Potential employers do not have time to read pages of text. Resumes now are formatted in a way that keeps them to a single page in length. With that being said, you should highlight and detail the skills that match the job you are applying for primarily. Employers only spend 6.25-seconds, on average, looking at a resume to decide whether a candidate is a good fit for the job.
Many employers now use a computer program to sort resumes based upon a specific set of keywords. Some job seekers see this process as discriminatory. However, it is an employer’s way to sort resumes and separate only those that meet the criteria, experience, and skills set their business requires. You can make your resume pop with powerful verbs and industry-specific terminology.
Industry specific keywords can be obtained through a simple search. For example, if you are seeking a position as an account executive, you would search for account executive resume keywords. This will bring up the most relevant keywords for your industry. Include these strategically throughout your resume.
Use a Cloud Generator
A cloud generator can help you improve the verbiage and keywords used in your resume, especially when resumes are put through a mass resume processing program. Programs like this highlight your most used words. In many cases, these are not keywords or power words that get your resume to stand out. Consider replacing some of those highlighted words with skills, experience, achievements, and command words instead.
Your resume is your opportunity to show off. The potential employer viewing your resume should easily be able to pick out skills, personality traits, and qualifications that make them see you as the best candidate for the open position. If formatting is an issue for you, there is no shame in using a resume builder template so that your resume looks clean and professional.
About the Author
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify