The job market is competitive. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll be up against countless other applicants every time you apply for a position. That’s why knowing how to stand out even before a manager meets you is key to making your next career move. You can show your skills and demonstrate your expertise through the resume you submit in your application. Just listing past jobs and your title won’t cut it anymore. Let’s look at four different ways you can make your resume stronger so it stands out to hiring managers.
Write for the Job You Want, Not the Job You Have
There’s a tendency in everyone to use their resume as a historical document. It’s your professional autobiography, right? Wrong. Your resume is a marketing document that tells potential employers why you’re fit for that job. It should highlight all the reasons you’d make a great fit and thrive in the open role.
To do this, you want to focus on the skills and successes that lend themselves to the role you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to work in a tech-forward company, you might want to list your digital skills in a separate section. You’ll have to make adjustments to your resume for each application to ensure you’re hitting that company’s major criteria. It’s a little extra work but yields much more reward.
Most companies rely on software to sift through applications and pull out the most viable candidates. This means before you ever try to impress a hiring manager, you have to get through their computer system. Don’t worry. It’s easier than it sounds.
Talent acquisition software relies on keywords to identify resumes that match the hiring criteria. It might scan for the job title, certain skills or words relevant to the industry. Be sure to include these keywords in your resume so the system sees that you match the requirements for the job. To find the keywords you want to use, check the job posting, the “About Us” section and the company website for words or phrases you see repeated often or that relate to the core values and mission of the company.
Add a Profile
Few applicants add personal statements or details on their resumes. Most will use the cover letter for that. But what if hiring managers never read your cover letter? Or if the acquisition software only scans resumes? It’s important to add a short profile to the beginning of your resume to give a brief description of who you are and what are your goals.
Include a few sentences about your professional experience, the most important skills you’ve learned and your career goals. (Hint: This is a great spot to add some of those keywords you found.) This can make it easier for an employer to get to know you and your skills without having to review every job you’ve held for the last five years.
Showcase Your Skills
Don’t leave employers wondering what it is you’re best at. Make it clear in your resume! You can add a section for “achievements” or “awards” to list all the impressive things you’ve done in one convenient spot. Note promotions, major recognitions, ways you improved previous companies and anything else you’re proud of. This is your chance to show potential employers, in no uncertain terms, why you’d be a valuable addition to their team.
Writing a resume can be tricky, but these four methods for creating a stronger CV will help you stand out from the crowd. So remember to write for the job you want, use keywords, include a personal summary and showcase your skills.