Your resume is much more than just a piece of paper. It is a sales tool that presents your strengths, skills and experience to potential employers. In a world where employers spend an average of 6 seconds reading a resume, you only have a moment to catch their attention and separate yourself from the other applicants.
In this article, we will guide you through some strategies you can implement to increase your chances of scoring an interview. Even if you have no experience or feel like giving up, this article will give you actionable steps you can take to improve your job search.
Imagine you’re a recruiter. You’re going through resume after resume with the same format and outline. You have other things you could be doing, but first you have to find a candidate for the position you have to fill.
This gets boring, naturally.
As an applicant for this job, you can make your resume stand out to the recruiter by using a visually compelling resume design. The right design can show initiative and creativity, drawing the recruiter’s eye.
Here are some quick design tips for your resume:
When considering you as a candidate, 77% of employees will Google your name.
By creating a personal website that showcases your skills, you can build credibility with employers. This website could take many different forms, like an online portfolio, a blog where discuss your industry, or a website that looks at case studies and examples of past projects you have worked on.
On your website, you can discuss your professional goals and previous projects, as well as challenges and how you overcame them. More often than not, you’ll have to discuss examples of past work during your job interviews, so it can be helpful to have them all documented in one place.
If you don’t have much experience to pull from, you could break down how you WOULD do the job if you had the chance. For example, you could display a slide deck of several ideas you have for a company whose products you use (as it relates to your field) and how you come up with those ideas.
Many candidates take the same resume and cover letter and blast it out to hundreds of different companies. This is a mistake. Tailoring your resume, portfolio, and cover letter to suit each specific position will improve your odds of scoring an interview.
The key is to understand the words and phrases people in your field use, and to incorporate them into your resume.
This is where research comes in. The first place you should look is the job posting, which will have keywords you can use in your application. Then, deeply research the company itself to get a feel for the type of workplace you’re applying to. What does their website look like? Do they have videos on YouTube? What about their blog content? Do they have a podcast?
This will give you a strong level of context for future interviews, and will also give you a feel for recurring words and themes that come up. For example, if a company consistently refers to their clients and customers in a certain way, or uses certain language to describe how they operate, it could be something to include in your resume.
When you use the words your target companies use, you’ll make it MUCH more likely that they’ll see you as a potential fit.
According to Statista, there will be up to 2.77 billion social media users around the globe in 2019. In 2017, 71% of internet users used social networks and these figures are expected to grow.
Why is this important?
The online world is presenting you with an incredible number of opportunities to network with people that would have been impossible to communicate with in the past. This means that social media is more than just social; it is your best opportunity to showcase your skills, talents and knowledge to potential employers.
Social media exposes you to the outside world. You used to be able to have a personality at work, a personality at home, and a personality with your friends, but now, with your social media posts visible by all, these once separate identities are blending together.
It’s important to be thoughtful about how you’re presenting yourself online because chances are, employers will see it.
It’s baffling to think how many people send off a resume to a prospective employer without checking their grammatical formatting and spelling. Imagine meeting someone in person, not shaking their hand, having poor hygiene, and making an awful impression from day one. Sending your resume with basic errors is similar.
Employers want competency and consistency throughout their employees’ work. Your resume should demonstrate this to them.
Don’t be afraid to “break the rules” a little bit when it comes to crafting your resume. Depending on who you are and your career path, your story may best be presented in a different way than the standard resume format.
For example, if you’ve had an unconventional career path where you’ve jumped between different fields, it may be best for you to break up your resume into something like “UX Design experience” and “Product management experience.” It’s possible that with those two headlines, your resume will suddenly make a lot more sense to anyone looking at it. In a case like that, displaying all the experience under one “experience” section may appear too confusing.
Breaking from the traditional resume format—whether in terms of the headings and categories you use, the design, how you craft your portfolio, or the content you share online—will make you memorable and set you apart as someone worth interviewing.
Raghav Haran is a copywriter and marketer.
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