With unemployment rising, increasing numbers of applicants for each job, and recruiters struggling to keep up, it can sometimes feel as though you're sending your resume into a black hole. You send hundreds of applications and never hear back - and what makes it worse is that you know you are qualified for the jobs.
But here's the thing ... if your resume is like most of the resumes I see, it's not doing you any favors. Here are 10 ways you can improve your resume and increase your hit rate:
1. Make it about action and impact: Don't take up more than 10-15% of your resume describing job responsibilities - as an employer, I don't care what you were supposed to do, I care what impact you made. Show me!
2. Spice it up with references: When you buy a product - especially online, don't you like to see testimonials or customer reviews? You can apply the same principle to your resume. Pull a couple of glowing quotes from LinkedIn, your performance reviews or customer 'thank you' letters and put them in a prominent place on your resume.
3. Understand your unique value: Ask people who know you and those who have worked with you, what makes you especially good at what you do. Look back over your career for common themes. And most importantly, understand what your target audience (employers) are looking for.
4. Invite them to go online: If you know you have established a good online presence (and if you haven't, you need to get to work now!) add the line 'Feel free to google me for more information.' This conveys confidence and at least some of your potential employers will take you up on it.
5. Replace the objective with a value summary: Don't tell me what you want out of your next job, tell me what you'll do for me. Start with the headline 'How I will add value..."
6. Consider a "philosophy" section: Tell employers how you approach your work. For example, a sales person might say "I never do the 'hard sell' - instead I build relationships, I understand the customer's needs, and I use that knowledge and the trust I've built, to turn prospects into long-term clients." An admin assistant might say "I am so organized that I'll know what you need before you ask me!"
7. Add some personality: Use words that sound like you, not words you read on someone else's resume. Everyone is 'results-oriented' and 'accomplished' according to their resumes, but do they ever really describe themselves that way? These are just 7 ways that you can bring some life to your resume, and create a document that grabs attention instead of blending in with all the others.
For more tips, feel free to sign up for my free resume writing course. And if you have other ways to spice up a resume, please take a moment to share them in the comments. I'd love to hear them!
Cross-posted at Blue Sky Resumes Blog