Writing a strong resume is an important piece of the job-seeking puzzle. It’s difficult for hiring managers to take you seriously enough to call you in for an interview if they feel your resume doesn’t clearly communicate the message that you’re the right person for the job.
The good news is it’s not difficult to write a resume that will make a lasting impression. By making a few adjustments, you’ll successfully turn a weak resume into one hiring managers can’t resist.
1. Know Your Audience
Before you begin writing your resume, you should know the audience you’re targeting. If you’ve written resumes for employers in the past and have only jotted down the bits and pieces of your job history that you remember, you’re missing the mark.
Employers want to know that you’ve designed your resume to show them you have specific qualifications that match those they’re looking for in the position for which they’re advertising. This means, it’s up to you to closely look over the job posting, determine exactly what the company is looking for, then add details about your professional career that prove you have the skills to get the job done.
2. Strengthen the Top Third
Many job seekers don’t realize that the top one-third of their resume is the portion all employers read first—and is sometimes the only portion they read if they feel the information is subpar. To avoid having your resume tossed before the employer has a chance to get to the “good stuff,” be sure to add that good stuff to the top-third portion.
A couple of ways to get this done is by adding a branding statement in place of the traditional objective statement, then adding a career summary (bullet-point list) underneath to highlight what makes you great—right in the first section of the resume.
3. Add Affiliations, Awards, and Honors
A great way to reel in a hiring manager is to list your affiliations, especially if they relate closely to your field and the position you’re applying for. Employers are always looking for candidates who bring new knowledge to the table—and showing you belong to a field-specific organization is just the knowledge they’d like.
Also, take time to add your awards and honors to show you’ve been recognized in your field. If you have none that are field-specific but are still professional and showcase dedication and commitment, include them anyway.
4. Shorten Paragraphs and Add Bullet Points
When writing job descriptions, you want to avoid paragraphs longer than five lines since they make your copy dense and difficult to read. Keep your paragraphs short by summarizing redundant statements and highlighting accomplishments in a concise manner. And when lists are appropriate, create bullet points to increase white space in your document.
It’s not easy to tell if you’re creating a resume that is strong enough to get you called in for an interview. But by taking the steps above, you get yourself that much closer to fulfilling this goal.
It’s important to remember to brand your resume before applying to each new position for more information on branding check out my recent article 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume. You can also get additional job search and career related advice by checking out our blog or following us on Twitter @GreatResume.