Anyone looking for a new position knows that job hunting is a job in itself. It takes a lot of time to find and apply for positions that best match your current and future goals. Then your patience is tested as you wait and hope to get a first interview.
Well, stop hoping and start hacking – starting with your resume. As the first thing hiring managers and talent scouts see, your resume can set you apart or blend you in with a sea of competition.
With over 15 years of talent acquisition experience, I have reviewed over 20,000 resumes. Here are my five insider tips:
1. Include a mission statement
If you’re unsure of your objective, how can a hiring manager be sure of your experience and what you can bring to the role? The following exercise will help you define your personal brand and you can use it in your LinkedIn profile summary. Ask yourself:
- What is my professional mission? What are my goals and my objective?
- What is important to me in my next role?
- What are some of the impressive growth metrics from my previous projects? It’s about showing your impact. Examples include savings generated, revenue created, customer experience gains, time saved, and process improvements.
- What are my overall accomplishments? Think of at least two for each role. This will also help during the interview process.
[ Also read 8 ways to get out of a career rut. ]
2. Stand out with your personal brand
Use your mission statement to create a strong and impactful profile summary. Be concise (no more than 4 or 5 lines) and make sure it’s specific to the position you’re applying for.
Answer these questions in the summary:
- Who am I?
- Why did I apply for this position?
- Why am I the best person for this new opportunity?
- What additional values and skills will I bring to the table?
- What has been my greatest professional achievement to date?
- What are my passions and motivations, and how do they align with this potential employer?
3. Personalize your resume
Tailor your CV to each specific role and company. Your skills and examples of your past work should match the role and culture.
- Research the company. Check out their website, Glassdoor, job postings, press, and LinkedIn.
- Discover the mission, motivations, values and culture of the company.
- Research company employees on LinkedIn and discover the content they interact with and share. This will deepen their culture, diversity and the professional backgrounds of your potential colleagues. This is also useful if you are meeting with hiring managers. Finding common interests leads to open conversations. (Of course, don’t divulge your detective work!)
- Read job postings. This tells you the most important things an employer expects from candidates. It sets expectations for day-to-day responsibilities and the purpose of the role. Feel free to incorporate some of the same words from the ad into your resume.
4. Be human
Help the reviewer see beyond your resume. A resume is meant to showcase your work experience, but a person is so much more than their job. Don’t hesitate to include your passion projects. Include activities you participate in outside of your day job, such as charities, hobbies, and personal interests.
5. Keep it short but punchy
Hiring managers often have hundreds of resumes to review. Put yourself in their shoes: how can you make it easier for them to interpret your accomplishments and passions? Your CV should be longer than two pages and formatted so that your experience stands out at a glance.
[ Check out essential career advice from 37 award-winning CIOs! Get a variety of insights on leadership, strategy, and career development from IT executives at Mayo Clinic, Dow, Aflac, Liberty Mutual, Nordstrom, and more: Ebook: 37 award-winning CIOs share essential IT career advice. ]