Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer? Send it to email@example.com.
Finding a new job is no easy task, but by getting your resume in order and tweaking it to fit the job you’re applying for, you’re more likely to get noticed and secure that initial interview.
Q: Even though there seem to be a lot of job openings, how do I ensure that my resume will get me noticed so I get the job I think is the right fit for me and my career?
A: This is such a good reminder that finding a new opportunity—even in a hot job market—takes more than just sending out resumes and hoping for a match.
Start by reminding yourself that a resume is really designed for one purpose and that is to get you an interview. So, your point about getting noticed is key to your job search.
Since most organizations use online applications or ask you to send your resume electronically, you need to be sure what you send in is in the format they request. I’m seeing more employers who allow applicants to import their LinkedIn profile rather than sending a resume. However, this puts intense focus on your profile, so make sure it's up to date.
Here are some other reminders to make your resume stand out:
Before you work on your resume, carefully read the job posting. It is full of information that you can use to set yourself apart. Start with the words they use to describe what they are looking for. Then, look at your resume. How much of what they are seeking are skills you have and that you can highlight in your summary paragraph?
Include information that lets the hiring manager or HR team get a sense of who you are and what you can do for their organization.
Your summary paragraph is where you can set yourself apart and give the recruiter a sense of how right you are for the job opening. It should be directly below your contact information, about five sentences long, and include as many of the keywords from the job requirements as you possess. Be sure to include technical skills and soft skills in your summary paragraph too.
Review the section where you show your experience and make sure it focuses on accomplishments, not tasks. Some resumes read like job descriptions, which won’t get you noticed. In addition, don’t list jobs you had more than 10 to 15 years ago unless it highlights a skill that doesn’t appear in another position.
Remember, a resume is only to secure the interview, so don’t think you have to put everything you’ve ever done or every award you’ve ever won. Include information that lets the hiring manager or HR team get a sense of who you are and what you can do for their organization.
Whatever you do, keep the resume to two pages and remember that someone may read it on a mobile device, so make sure it’s readable on a cell phone or tablet.