When you’re ready to search for a new job, you might find that it’s harder than you thought to get an interview. This can be frustrating, but don’t sweat it; strategically restructuring your resume can help get your resume noticed so that you can get an interview and wow your next potential employer.
Keywords in your resume
A lot of larger companies use Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS) to quickly weed out resumes that might not be relevant to the position a business is looking to fill. The downside to this is that a computer does not pick up the nuances in a resume that a human can. For example, you might have CMS experience on your resume but the computer is looking for “Salesforce” specifically. This means that when you’re writing your resume, it’s important to read the job description carefully and try to incorporate some keywords or phrases from the job description.
TIP: You don’t have to write a new resume for every single job you apply for, but try to have a baseline resume and take just 10 minutes to rephrase some of the information to incorporate lines from the job description. You can even save each slightly different resume iteration with the company name; this makes it easier to remember how you’ve summarized your experiences to that company when you get called to interview.
Write a brief introduction that pitches what you can do
You’ve made it through the ATS and now your resume is under the eyes of a real human being, whether it’s an HR recruiter, hiring manager or a direct manager. The next step is to grab the reader’s attention, which can be difficult to do with basic employment history (as impressive as it may be). Introduce yourself at the top of the page, briefly highlighting in two or three sentences defining who you are as a professional and some of your most impressive accomplishments. This is often the more “human” part of your resume; everything below it (your experience) can speak for itself, but this is the section where you get the opportunity to advocate on your behalf.
TIP: This section is perfect to customize for ATS by adding keywords. Remember that the purpose of this section is to entice the reader to continue looking through your resume, so feel empowered to get in touch with your inner salesperson and really pitch your skills.
Quantify your professional accomplishments
You now fully have the reader’s attention, so bring everything home with some easy-to-understand, quantifiable demonstrations of what you’ve accomplished in your professional (or academic or personal) life. Whether you have a writing goal that you exceeded, won an award at your current workplace, or stayed under budget when planning an event for a club you were involved in, these are all examples that qualify concretely your value as a professional.
TIP: Remember, these don’t have to be exact numbers right now; they can be estimated ranges or educated guesses.
For a more in-depth look at how to strategize your resume, check out our workshop here.
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