Good resumes show hiring staff within seconds if you’re qualified for a position. Great resumes expand upon your qualifications and express the unique, added value you can bring to the company. We’ve compiled a list of resume must-haves to optimize your content and format and take your resume to the next level.
1. Strategic Marketing
As opposed to documentation, of your entire work history, think of your resume as a marketing tool intended to persuade HR to shortlist your application. Keeping this in mind will help you make decisions regarding what to keep and what to leave off. To be most effective, your resume should be different for every application, marketed to present your experience most effectively based on the position. To optimize your resume as a marketing tool, include keywords from the job descriptions and quantified details that show the scope of your work.
2. Professional Branding
What differentiates you from other candidates? After including evidence of the required and preferred qualifications, what other value do you have to express? Perhaps you frequently pitch in on company assessment initiatives, or maybe you’re a strong mentor to new staff. Highlighting these themes and unique skill sets that characterize you as a professional will define your professional brand and set you apart from other candidates.
Similar to the idea of professional branding, expressing who you are as an individual will differentiate your application from candidates with similar experience. Don’t get too personal with the details, but a brief section about your interests or personal accomplishments (Marathon runner? Passionate volunteer? Voracious reader of a particularly interesting topic?) will make you memorable.
People are passionate about their previous work and often are reluctant to remove experiences from their resume. However, less is more in resume writing – keeping your resume concise at one page and no more than two for more experienced professionals will keep HR engaged. Any more than two pages, unless a CV for academia or directly requested by HR, runs the risk of your reader having difficulty focusing on what is most important.
5. Bulleted Statements
In the debate between writing a summary of job responsibilities and including content in a bulleted list, a bulleted list is the most effective way to format your experience. Because a reader will naturally scan down the left side of your resume first, a bulleted list with strong action verbs will quickly show skills and experience that will help a reader make connections between your past work and the position.
6. Direct Mention of Required and Preferred Qualifications
Open positions may receive hundreds of applications, causing HR to favor applicants who clearly indicate they meet the position’s requirements. Hiring staff won’t spend a lot of time analyzing your content to see if you meet the qualifications if there are other applicants who do, so emphasizing required and preferred qualifications will show staff you’re qualified and move your application to the next round of the hiring process.
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