This article is part of a series called How to Write a Resume. To start this series from the beginning, read the introduction.
Most of us, at some point in our careers, have applied to some job with some piece of flimsy paper called a resume. Sure, you may have poured your heart into it. You may have really wanted the job. But how do you know your resume got read? How do you know what kind of impression you made on the hiring team?
The sad truth is all employers skim resumes. If your resume doesn’t grab them by the “seat of their pants” (I wanted to write “balls”) within 15 seconds, you’re heading for the paper shredder.
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So how do you skip the shredder and get noticed? How do you progress past the paper pile and land the joyous job interview? Simple. You only write the stuff hiring employers care about.
Here are 10 things that define a killer resume:
- Your resume isn’t about you. It’s about how you fit the employer’s job requirements. Always organize and select your most relevant accomplishments, skills, and experiences for the position. The most effective resumes are clearly focused on a specific job title and address the employer’s stated needs.
- Your resume must sell you in seconds. Show how you contribute to the position at a glance. Your resume is a failure if the employer doesn’t instantly see you have what it takes.
- Your resume is a marketing tool, not a personal document. Sell yourself, not your life story. Leave the personal stuff off your resume and focus on the skills that sizzle.
- Your resume highlights your accomplishments, not job duties or descriptions. Write your resume to emphasize what you did well, not what your duties entailed.
- Your resume must focus on your future, not your past. Don’t become a historian by documenting your life in resume format. BORING. No one cares what you did in 1975. Seriously. See #1.
- Your resume shows the skills you enjoy, not skills you have to use. Why focus on the stuff you don’t want to do? Highlight the skills you love! The Find Your Passion Worksheet (it’s not pervy, I promise) can help you identify your favorite skills.
- Your resume is not a confessional. You don’t have to tell all. Who cares if you were on sick leave with 8 kids to feed. Stick to what’s relevant, important, and marketable. You need to land the job interview, not a guest appearance on Oprah.
- Your resume must list the important facts first. Hiring teams will not stick around to find how the story ends.
- Your resume must be free from grammatical and typographical errors. Errors and typos are a big no-no. Get someone to review and edit your resume before you apply to the job. Pobody’s Nerfect.
- Your resume must have a clean layout. No one wants to read a garbled mess. If you can’t design your own layout, start with a template.
A killer resume increases the employer’s interest enough to land you a job interview. That’s it. A resume’s purpose is to get your foot in the door and take you to the next step. Hopefully, your next step won’t be to the dreaded paper shredder.
Ever have to read through piles of resumes? Got any killer resume tips for those job hunters seeking work in this challenging economy? Is your resume up to date?