Old wisdom and lived experience teach us that first impressions matter, and that you never have a second chance to make them. When it comes to finding a job, the first impression comes long before a handshake, and it's all about the resume. The fact of the matter is, potential employers and even recruiters spend about 6-7 seconds on their initial view of a resume. Many talented professionals miss exciting opportunities because their resumes fail to catch employers’ attention in that initial timeframe. In order to land a role that will advance your career, you need a resume that will stand out in the right way. Follow our advice for revamping your resume to showcase why you are the best fit for the positions you want.
1. Keep It Simple
When it comes to standing out, many job seekers make the mistake of resorting to gimmicks, over-styling, or oversharing - thinking it will make them pop in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers. Especially in the competitive market we face in 2021, you only have a short amount of time to make an impression that could lead to an interview. Overcomplicating your resume with cute fonts, elaborate shading, long paragraphs, images and graphs makes it harder to skim quickly to see if you’re a fit, and is a surefire way to get passed over. In order to stand out, keep your resume clean, clear, and simple. Choose concisely and carefully-worded bullet points over paragraphs, list only relevant skills and experience, and make sure you’re using fonts and formatting that draw attention to the information.
2. Share Achievements, Not Responsibilities
When sharing your work history in a resume, it’s important to demonstrate what you accomplished in your previous roles instead of simply listing your responsibilities. Using concrete numbers (e.g. increased ROI by 15%, reduced closing time from 24 days to 7 days, increased fundraiser engagement by 33%) will quickly show a potential employer that you didn’t just have a job, but that you did it well. Including a section of important certifications and awards will also demonstrate what you can bring to the table, without adding wordiness. Skip listing basic skills, like Microsoft Word, that employers can safely assume prospective employees have. Instead showcase the hard and soft skills that have earned you proven results.
3. Be Mindful In Your Language
During a quick skim of a resume, dated and overused buzzwords and phrases can be enough to get tossed into the “no” pile. Phrases like “motivated self starter,” “go-getter,” and “synergy” come across as fluff, and don’t provide factual, verifiable information. Saying “references available upon request” is not only dated, but implies that you’re uneasy about your past job performance. Each word in your resume should be carefully chosen to demonstrate a concrete truth about your value as a prospective employee. Look for keywords in the job description that you can pull and back up with proven accomplishments in your bullet points.
4. Show Who You Are, Not Who You Want To Be
Older job seekers may be inclined to include an “Objective” category, where they explain what they’re looking to do in their career, or hope to accomplish in the job they’re applying for. This is no longer in vogue, as it doesn’t provide applicable information to the employer. Instead, write a clear, concise professional summary that demonstrates some of your key character traits as they apply to keywords in the job description, and showcase your career accomplishments. Remember to use concrete facts, numbers, and results to catch the eye of recruiters and employers.
5. Live In The Present
A long resume, full of ancient work history doesn’t make you look accomplished, and could come across as desperate. Limit your job history to relevant experience within the last 15 years. If you’ve experienced periods of joblessness during that time, expand upon what you did during that time (Volunteer Work with ASPCA, Family Care, Completed a Novel), instead of reaching far back in history to older, dated positions. Additionally, make sure the skills you highlight are currently used and resonate with the job you’re seeking.
Find Your Next Position With Turn2Partners
One of the most important ways to make use of your revamped resume is to work with talented recruiters who are dedicated to helping you find a placement where you can thrive. Serving the Washington D.C. area, Turn2Partners offers direct hire, contract, and contract-to-hire placement services for Finance & Accounting, HR & Administrative, and Technology professionals. With a personal focus and approach, Turn2Partners will take your goals, experience, and the unique traits you offer and use that information to connect you with companies and positions that are the right fit. To learn more about how Turn2Partners can help you find your next career, visit us at https://turn2partners.com/professionals/.