Submit your resume! These are very common words for the career seeker. As common as these words are in the world of job hunting, so are the common mistakes made by career seekers. The biggest mistake made by career seekers is to not having an updated resume that focuses on the target job. To those career seekers that still believe that one resume will work for all jobs here are the best 5 ways to get your resume ready.
1. Format your resume to match the job description and job title
The goal of the career seekers when submitting the resume is to get the attention of the recruiter and landing an interview (either the phone interview or in person interview). The goal of the recruiter is to narrow the career seeker applicant pool to the most qualified so that he/she is not wasting time. The only way the career seeker will get the attention of the recruiter and become part of the final applicant pool is by properly and effectively formatting the resume to match the job description. In simple words, carefully read the job description (not just the job title)!
Here are the questions the career seeker needs to keep in mind when reading the job description: Do I have the skills that this position requires? Do I have the professional experience that the job requires? Am I qualified to do this job? Have I had an experience at my previous jobs that would closely match the qualifications? Do I have the level of education that this position requires?
Let me provide you with an example: Jane has recently graduated and received a Bachelor Degree in Accounting. She realized that she does not really want to work in accounting. She decides to look at other options and views a really good Sales Position with a top wireless company. The wireless company requires a Bachelor Degree and some sales experience. Jane has worked in various companies with job titles Client Support Agent, Information Assistant and Client Intake. When Jane reviews here resume she realizes she has no sales experience noted in the resume. In thinking about her previous jobs she remembers that at one position she would get a bonus every time a client would purchase a product and her manager trained her to introduce the product to every client. Jane realizes that some of her previous positions did include sales experience. By adding her sales experience, Jane now matched the qualifications required for the Sales Position.
2. Taylor your resume to highlight your strengths
If you are a recent college graduate or have very little work experience your resume should begin with your Objective, then your Education, followed by your languages spoken (if you are bilingual and applying for a bilingual position this is extremely important) and finally your work experience. For this type of career seeker the strength is the education so add it to the top of the resume.
If you are an experienced professional with many years of experience you can change your resume to make sure you highlight your professional experience. Add to your resume your Objective, followed by your work experience, then your education and finally languages spoken and awards and/or merits.
3. Use your objective as an opportunity to ask for the job
Many career seekers do not realize that the objective of your resume is an amazing opportunity to ask for the job! I see so many resumes with objectives that say things like “I want to use my skills to enhance the growth of the company”. To recruiters this means nothing. You just wasted two lines in your resume.
Your objective should clearly ask for the job position. If you are looking for an entry level bilingual sales position with a wireless company your objective should read “I would like to be considered for the Bilingual Sales Position with your company as I am a driven fluent bilingual English-Spanish professional with experience in the wireless sector and have over 4 years of sales experience.” By adding this objective you did the following: you told the recruiter you are bilingual (that was a requirement for the job and good keywords); you told the recruiter you have wireless sector experience (in other words you already know the industry and require less training); and you told the recruiter you have 4 years sales experience (another excellent keyword that matches the job description. Again less training and more qualified).
4. Update your contact information
In today’s social media world many career seekers have social media profiles. You need to add these profiles in your resume. I am not talking about your personal facebook accounts, I mean your professional profiles on social media like linked in accounts. I suggest that your contact resume includes your phone number (have a professional voice message recorded if you are job hunting), your city, state and zipcode, and your linkedIn account. Make sure that the resume you are submitting to employers matches the resume uploaded on LinkedIn.
5. Don’t format your resume
Many career seekers still believe that resumes look better with fancy fonts, color fonts, bullets and other formatting. This was true in the past when employers did not have technology in place to sort out resumes. In today’s labor market, when you format a resume you are simply making it harder for software to capture information correctly. Do not add fancy fonts, color fonts, do not add numbering or bullets to resumes. Simply type in regular black font your resume so that it is easy for you to cut and paste into software.