Writing your resume is hard! As if being unemployed wasn’t enough of a morale-buster, you’re now pressured to put the best version of yourself on paper. An experienced writer balks at this task! But I’ll let you in on a secret: you already have more than you think you do.
Related: Top 7 Resume Trends For 2015
Here are some quick ways to take whatever you’ve got (blank screen, job description, old resume, first draft) and transform in with a 10-minute power punch!
The hiring manager has already given you a blatant ‘edge’ over your competition, but so few applicants take advantage of it! The posting you read online contains a secret giveaway of what the employer considers an ideal candidate. Your ten-minute task is to make yourself fit that bill.
With this 10-minute transformation, you can give your resume a power punch!
Grab Your Cheat Sheet
Find your ideal job opening and match your resume to its description. If they use the phrase “database administrator,” you also use that phrase… two or three times. Don’t confine your previous work experience to the titles your former employer handed out. Describe yourself in terms of the actual work you performed. Not only will computers scan your resume for phrase matches, but people will also notice the words they are looking for.
Delete The Obvious
Next, start lining through that list of duties you included. Your single page of real estate is far too valuable. Your interviewer has a strong grasp of what your position requires. She is more interested in what you accomplished in that role. How did you stand out from other database administrators, for example? Did you help your company do things faster, do your work more efficiently, did you champion a project that got the attention of the higher-ups?
Here’s a good one—were you the one that organized a team lunch or led a departmental contest that boosted the morale of your co-workers or inspired teamwork? Always include such intangible achievements that highlight your personality. Employers aren’t just looking to get the job done. They’d always prefer to simultaneously build their brand, creativity, and culture. You’ll pop off the page!
Next, do a quick scan to make sure you used the active voice and some power words. You weren’t “the manager of” a project; you “managed” it. Always think in terms of the person reading your resume and turn everything possible into an achievement. Example: Increased sales, expanded reach, systematized buying, streamlined processes, gained awareness, built a team, forged relationships, cultivated culture, earned designation, inspired creativity with a contest, convinced board to adopt new policy.
When you use an active voice and power words you present yourself as an action-taker who gets things done, even goes above and beyond! You also show that you respect your reviewer’s time by making your sentences short, to the point, and relevant.
Do you have a general idea of performance before and after you completed a project? Were sales stagnant when you started, and climbing when you left? Can you calculate an estimate for the percentage increase? Did you automate a task that cut your administrative work in half? Perhaps you increased productivity by 50%. Maybe you grew sales territory from 13 counties to include 20. Or acquired a $1.5 million-dollar contract. Use figures as much as possible.
Now, you have a resume that presents you in a way that pops off the page! Ten minutes of tweaking can not only earn you a call, but a nice new salary to boot! Always go after what you want… you just might get it.
If you’re still struggling and would like to submit your resume to me for a free review, contact me here. I may use portions of it (anonymously, of course) in a future article to demonstrate a “before and after” illustration.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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