5 Ways To Add Meaningful Information To Your Resume
It's typically an exciting-and potentially stressful-time when you begin looking for a new job opportunity. When you consider leaving your current position or if you have been laid off from a job, you know that the next likely step involves sending your resume to future job possibilities. Rather than just dusting off your old resume and sending it out, it's a good idea to review the information and ensure that your most recent jobs are included, along with updated skill-sets and descriptions.
Today's resumes often go through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a scanning software that allows companies to scan resumes for key words that match the job posting. If your resume doesn't ‘match' enough of these key words, you may go to the ‘no' pile without a human resources manager even seeing your document. In addition, it's important that your resume is still appealing to the human eye when it does get to the hiring manager's desk.
Resumes are only reviewed for approximately five to seven seconds on a first pass-through. That means you MUST be sure to gain the reader's attention almost immediately. Adding meaningful information is a critical key to your job-searching success. One of the most common questions that I receive from clients involves deciding which information to include and how to discover it. Read on for five steps to ensure that only relevant and appropriate information is included.
#1 – Think quantitatively. Using numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts will allow you to quantify your information and demonstrates how much something has improved, the number of employees led, or a sales goal that was achieved. If you generally say that sales increased but offer no other details, it has much less impact than if you state that "...brought in $100K in sales over a 30-day time period, an increase of 52% over the prior month."
#2 – Eliminate the objective and add a career summary. While your future career goals may be meaningful to YOU, they are far less important to a future employer. Rather, the company is focused on what you can do for them—use a career summary that outlines your skill-set and HOW that could help the organization. Using an objective (especially since they were at the top of the resume) is a poor first impression because it is about you. List skills and abilities in your career summary that align with the key words used in the job posting.
#3 – What would your past employer or co-worker say about you? Use the answers to this question to identify your strengths, skills, and abilities. When working with many clients, I have discovered that they are hesitant to identify their own strengths. However, when asked from a co-worker or boss point-of-view, they are much more likely to be forthcoming with information. In addition, if you have previous annual review documentation or other notes to review, you should be able to pull valuable information from those documents.
#4 – Think relevance and not all-encompassing. Sometimes, people like to include hobbies and all of their leisure activities to the resume. And, there was definitely a time when this was commonplace. However, it is typically not at all relevant to the future job opportunity. In fact, an employer may believe that a hobby or outside interest could actually interfere with a job. Just because you are involved in an organization does not mean that it MUST be on your document. If you are a treasurer for your local Chamber of Commerce and you are applying for an accounting position, then it is relevant. If you are your son's baseball coach, then it's most likely not important to the job opening.
#5 – Emphasize what makes you different than other candidates. You don't know if the company is receiving 10 or 100 resumes. The point is—many of them will be from people that have fulfilled similar roles—account managers, sales professionals, shop supervisors, or graphic designers. Guess what? A lot of people have the same job descriptions, so you cannot rely solely on that for your resume. Instead, think of your job in terms of how it differs from others in similar roles at other organizations? Focus on those differences and the competitive advantages you gained from that position.
Your ENTIRE resume boils down to one question: Why should we hire YOU? You must give a teaser of that with your resume, answer that question during the interview, and provide examples that allow you to stand out from the crowd. Meaningful information is the key to your job-searching success. Without it, your resume is just that of another potential candidate that blends in with the rest. Be proud of your accomplishments and share the information that puts you at the top of the candidate search.
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