As a job seeker, one of the first things on your “to-do” list is to write a stellar resume that will convince a recruiter to offer you an interview. If that isn’t tough enough, consider this: Your resume must capture their attention within 7 to 10 seconds. That’s the average length of time a recruiter takes to evaluate your background and skills before moving forward with your candidacy or moving on to the next resume.
Many companies scan resumes through an Applicant Tracking System, complicating the task of crafting a winning resume even further.
So, how can you stand out? For the moment, forget about the fact that you are a billing specialist, machinist, or nurse. Right now, focus on being a marketer and brand manager – and the product you’re selling is yourself. To market yourself effectively, you need to craft a resume that highlights what you do best in a way that showcases your value. Here’s how:
Lead with Your ‘Branding Statement’
Make the top of your resume work for you. Just below your name and contact information, write a brief summary or “career snapshot” outlining your professional self, advises Tomer Sade in Business News Daily. Describe your specialty, skills, and qualifications, including a few bullet points that highlight your experience and accomplishments.
Tweak your summary for each individual application, appropriately sprinkling in industry words and specific skills mentioned in the job ad.
Emphasize Your Experience
The education and experience portion comprises the bulk of your resume. You want to elaborate on your career and background without creating a dry list of duties.
“Use this section to clearly convey your strongest professional experiences, whether paid or unpaid,” says Harvard University Graduate School of Design. List any awards or special recognition relevant to the role for which you are applying. Include any pertinent professional certifications, along with the date you acquired them.
To make your resume stand out, start each bullet point in your resume work experience section off with a strong action verb that illustrates something you accomplished. Recruiters will see you as a stronger candidate if, for instance, you can say you “designed,” “devised’ or “planned” a project, rather than being “tasked” with it.
Quantify your results as often as possible. For example, who wouldn’t want to find out more about a candidate whose efforts “boosted company revenue by 25%”?
And if you received any awards or earned any special recognition applicable to your candidacy, be sure to mention them here.
Highlight Your Skills
Separate your hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the technical skills required for the job and soft skills are the untrainable but valuable characteristics that make you such a great candidate. Be sure to adjust your skills section based on each individual job description.
“Only include skills that would be valuable to the position you’re applying for,” says Indeed. “Check the job posting for skills or requirements that the hiring manager is looking for.”
Get Expert Assistance
Job hunting is hard, so it helps to have a professional in your corner. Recruiters at STS Staffing have the contacts to find great positions at great companies, and the expertise to advise candidates on crafting resumes that get results.