The first challenge with your resume is getting it in the hands of an actual person. Over the past decade, getting through applicant tracking systems (ATS) by including the right keywords has become the holy grail of job seekers. The palace guards were put in place so that overloaded hiring managers could keep out the riffraff. And it was necessary. Surveys report that more than half (some say a LOT more than half) of the resumes submitted for any job posting are from completely unqualified candidates.
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Michelle Dumas founded Distinctive Career Services, LLC (formerly Distinctive Documents) in 1996, one of the Internet's longest-standing resume writing, personal branding, and career marketing firms. As one of only a handful of multiple certified professional resume writers, including the prestigious NCRW, CPRW, CPBS, CEIP, and JCTC credentials, Michelle is widely respected as an authority in the resume writing and employment services industries.
What is it about resume writing that sets people's knees to knocking, anxiously sweating? In a competitive job market, the anxiety only deepens. Is everything worded correctly? Am I remembering every detail? I know I've missed a simple spelling error. Wait--I spelled my name wrong?! Related: Improve Your Resume Results With These 5 P's Of Resume Writing The truth is, before the resume ever reaches the hiring manager's desk, prospective employees are first in competition with their own way of thinking. Getting past fears and insecurities is the groundwork that must be laid. Settling the debate in your own mind that you've presented yourself at your very best is a starting point toward presenting a captivating, confident option to employers and generating interviews that result in dream-job offers. So the question is: how do you get to that point? How do you get to the point where you are confident that your resume is effective in helping you stand out from the crowd? After all, you don't want to 'almost' be the best choice: you want to be THE person who can meet the challenges, solve the problems, and excel at the offered job. Let's take a fresh look at your resume, to look through the lens of some of the best strategies and solutions and determine what can be done to transform your resume from flat and boring to fully the best.
While a direct cause has yet to be proved, the research is clear. Humans' attention spans are getting shorter. Just eight seconds or less according to recent research conducted by Microsoft, and this was more than 30% less than similar research had found ten years prior.
The #1 thing an employer is looking for on your resume… Can you guess what it might be? Related: How To Create A Resume That Captures The Hearts And Minds (And Job Offers) Of Employers A title that matches the position they need? A certain school? Perhaps their alma mater? The name of an impressive past employer? Wrong. Wrong. And wrong. Sorry. The most important thing an employer is looking for on your resume, whether they're the recruiter or the hiring manager, is... ROI. More specifically, return on investment. No matter what industry you're in, or where your expertise lies, every hire is an investment of time and money. Every employer wants to see a return on that investment and they want it to far exceed the amount invested. If you think this only applies to hiring sales people or executives, think again. Every position brings value to the company that can be measured monetarily. How else would they be able to determine your salary or justify you on the books? To make sure you show ROI on your resume, you have to understand the bottom line returns the employer is seeking for the posted position.
You've probably rewritten your resume at least once in the past few years. And you looked for examples to make sure you were following the latest advice. Advice like drop the objective, use a summary or position statement instead. And never use a functional resume; always use a chronological resume. Unless you have not-optimal circumstances, then use a functional resume. Related: Improve Your Resume Results With These 5 P's Of Resume Writing Perhaps you've removed the “hard working, team player, results-driven, people person" description that you've learned can cause a hiring manager to quickly move on. Here's the weird thing – chances are you're still using the one phrase that you should NEVER use on your resume. You're not alone. It seems 9 out of 10 resumes still use it. What is it? “Responsibilities include . . ." Or a variation such as “Responsible for" or “Duties include."
Let me tell you a story. Did your ears prick up? Are you paying attention now? Whether it's watching TV or a movie, reading a book, or hanging around the water cooler to hear tales from your colleagues, we love stories. Related: 5 Tips To Make Your Resume Stand Out Why? Science says it's because stories developed as an efficient way of communicating. But that doesn't really explain why we love them. It's because stories connect us. They touch our hearts and minds in a way that feels familiar. And that familiarity bonds the reader to the storyteller, even if just for a few minutes. That's what you want your resume to do. You want to tell a story that bonds you to the reader long enough for them to pick up the phone and call you. This is a powerful strategy taken directly out of the playbook of the best professional resume writers. It is a strategy that I use extensively in my professional resume writing company, to produce extraordinary results for my clients. Use story-telling techniques to create a resume that's compelling and captures the hearts and minds of employers.
Are you struggling to get results in your job search, using a resume that just doesn't seem to be working quite as hard for you as you hoped it would? Related: 5 Must-Read Resume Writing Tips You aren't alone! I consult with frustrated job hunters in my resume writing services practice every day!