With the job market saturated - often with thousands of job applicants per job posting, it has become more and more important for job seekers to find effective and even creative ways to entice recruiters and potential employers to review their resume. More often than not, a job opening ends up receiving exceedingly more applicants than can be reviewed. Unfortunately this leads to many qualified applicants submiting resumes that get overlooked or simply missed.
Hence the onus is on the job seeker to apply for jobs they are qualified for, follow up with the hiring company, and somehow find ways to improve the possibilities of their resume to be read by human eyes.
Besides including the obvious information (ie. your name, phone number, address, education, and a listing of your work history), here are 6 tips on how to make your resume more attractive for the potential employer:
Always customize your resume to each role that you apply to. One of the worst things to do when applying for a job is to send out a cookie cutter, generic resume. By customizing your resume it helps the hiring company or recruiter to easily align your qualifications to the specific opening they are hiring for.
List your top skills in point form so that it they're easily and quickly seen. Long sentences are harder to read whereas key skills in point form are much easier to scan over.
Always remember to include any Awards and Honors you have received. This will set you apart from other applicants.
For students and new grads applying for entry level positions, always inlcude all volunteer positions to demonstrate your community awareness and skills you have been able to foster through volunteer positions.
Include a powerful Profile Summary or Career Objective statement towards the very top of your resume. It should state the top 2-3 skills you hold that is relevant to the role you are applying for. The statement should also include your industry expertise and your specific interest in the Company you are applying to. This will immediately peak the interest of the hiring company by quickly summarizing your qualifications and specific interest to the hiring company.
Typically, a resume will include a descripion of the job title you have held. It will also include a point form list of the responsibilities and tasks. However, that only shows the potential employer what you did in your job, not how well you did your job. As such (and especially for more senior or seasoned professionals), always include a "Special Accomplishments" or a "Special Achievements" section, ideally for each job you have held. The idea behind this is to include some factual, hard data about how successful you have been in your job roles. Here are some examples:
If you are applying to a sales role, reflect on your past or current work experience and include relevant statements such as:
"Increased sales by x% with 6 months"
"Increased profitablity for division by x%"
"Acquired 20 new accounts within x months"
If you are applying to a Human Resources or management role with supervisory and people management accountability, reflect on your past or current work experience and include relevant statements such as:
"Reduced turnover by x% by implementing a corporate wide talent acquisition strategy"
If you are applying to an Accounting, Controller, or Project Management role that requires budgetary responsibilities, reflect on your past or current work experience and include relevant statements such as:
"Reduced operating expenses by x% within 2 years"
"Delivered a multi million dollar project under budget and on time"
If you are applying to a Customer Service or Call Centre role, reflect on your past or current work experience and include relevant statements such as:
"Coached and mentored x new hires, thereby facilitating their eventual promotions to team leaders"
"Improved customer service satisfaction index by x% within x months by implementing a new training program"
If you are seeking a technical job such as a Network Specialist or a Network Architect, reflect on your past or current work experience and include relevant statements such as:
"Designed a network with fail over capabilities that has achieved 99.999% uptime."
As can be seen by the examples above, a powerful resume will always demonstrate not only the "what" but also the "how in a candidate. It answers the question of "how well did you perform in your last job?" rather than simply "what did you do in your last job?"