How to Write a Resume From a Professional Resume Writer
One of the most common questions from jobseekers is “How Do I Make My Resume Stand Out?” In a job market that sees hundreds of applications for each individual posting, it’s a pretty important concern. Not only do you have to get past the gatekeeper, you also have to pass a computerized scan. It’s not, however, as dark and dismal a landscape as some Internet articles might make it seem.
Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS, are built to help the hiring process. As the number of applicants has grown, along with the explosion of candidates funneled via online channels, HR managers need help screening the resumes they receive. Just like Google helps us to find what we’re looking for online, the ATS helps a generalist find the right candidate. The good news is that, just like Google, ATS are getting smarter. Where they used to use ocular recognition software (OCR) that scanned text as characters and often ran into issues, technology increasingly allow text to be parsed as readable text.
What does this mean to you? Basically, not a tremendous amount has changed. Your resume needs to be concise, focused, and written in strong, assertive, and accomplishment-driven language. It also shouldn’t be overly formatted, fussy, or cramped. This is not earth shattering news, and it’s a goal that can be achieved!
How to Write a Resume. Here are my top five resume tips:
1) Start with the goal. While you can certainly write a resume that has a general and undefined target, it won’t do much for you. Even if you’re unsure exactly what you want to do, grab between three to five live job postings that represent positions you think you are qualified for and would be interested in. Study them to understand the type of language they are using and the basic responsibilities for the job. Pay particular attention to the verbs that are included – are they looking for more of a coordinating/support role or someone who gets out in front to lead the charge? Make sure your resume represents the type of candidate that your target is looking for.
2) Organize, categorize, and streamline. Make a list of everything you do in a typical week. Once you have this list, group everything into similar buckets. Aim for three to five main categories, sorted around bigger picture ideas such as: processing customer orders, payment application, and issue resolution; prospecting, qualifying and closing leads; training, supervising, and mentoring staff… You get the picture.
3) Use compelling verbs. Identify verbs that are show the kind of action you undertook in each instance. Avoid the phrase “responsible for” at all costs. Did you prepare, create, design, undertake, lead, helm, strategize, architect, engineer, educate, train, deliver, drive, spearhead, accelerate, inspire, transform, or innovate? Much more descriptive, and much more awesome!
4) Lead with the benefit. Many resumes that I see fail to hit the mark, not because they don’t have most of the content included, but because they bury the lead. If you increased revenue by 60%, don’t stick that fab fact at the end of the sentence. Lead with it – as in “Increased revenue by 60% with a high-impact pipeline development effort that identified, converted, and accelerated contracting processes with key targets.”
5) Use white space. Your resume isn’t supposed to list everything you’ve ever done. It’s meant to be marketing piece that highlights your key contributions. One of the best ways to ensure it does this is make sure there is enough white space around all text. Use the Format/Paragraph/Spacing feature on word to add a line or two between paragraphs of the same style. Add some bold in important places to call attention to your accomplishments, and use bullets to break up the text.
At the end of the day, the goal for your resume is pretty straightforward. Make it easy for a hiring manager or an ATS to see what you see in yourself, and inspire the HR department to pick up the phone and call you.
Rebecca Henninger is a professional resume writer with a passion for helping women achieve balance, integration, and professional fulfillment. She is a mother of two, Bravo TV addict, and skilled career strategist. See more at: http://www.rhresumes.com
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