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25 Resume Writing Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Getting Hired

June 02, 2015 - Posted to Writing

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You know they would love you and offer you a job immediately if they would just call you for an interview! But, over and over again, your resume is getting no play. Maybe the reasons for not getting the job you know is waiting for you out there lie with that resume. How did you go about putting it together? If you are looking for a first career position out of college, did you get any help in resume writing, or did you just find a template online and fill in the blanks? If you are already in your career field and looking for a change, did you just pull out your old resume and update it with your latest employment history? Things have changed in this business of preparing resumes that actually get noticed, so here are 25 tips that should certainly help.

 

  • Figure out your “target audience.” Just like product marketers do, you have to ask yourself who will be reading this resume? If it is a large company or organization, the first reader will likely be an HR professional who will be screening resumes before sending a select few on to the department head or true decision-maker. In this case,  you need to:
    • Research the company. What are its mission and goals? Can you find a few spots in your cover letter or resume to add any of those key words you find?
    • Try to get the name of who the first reader will be and address the cover letter to him/her

If it is a small company, there won’t be an HR manager. Your resume will go directly to the owner or president. Still, get on the website and read all you can. You will want to incorporate some of their key concepts in your letter or resume.

  • Focus on Results: This is one of the most important resume writing tips you can get. Traditionally, resumes consisted of chronological histories of jobs held and task responsibilities in each of those jobs, all nicely bulleted for easy reading. Dump that idea right now. No one really cares if you were responsible for receiving and checking in shipments. What they really want to know is that you designed new software for the process and increased speed and efficiency by 25%.
  • Don’t be verbose! Your resume does not have to reflect creative essay wordiness. You should definitely get creative with structure, style, and choice of words, but this piece of writing has to be short, succinct, with terms a keywords that catch the reader’s eye – very few sentences; lots of key phrases in lists!
  • Summarize your skill set in a separate section, preferably at the top of the resume. This is what a reader wants to see right away, not long listings of every job you’ve held! And every one of those skills should relate directly to the job description of the position. Yes, you will have to have different resumes for varied positions.
  • Include links to your social media accounts, like LinkedIn. They are probably going to check these anyway, so go in with a pre-emptive strike and make it easy. While we are on this topic, another one of the most important resume writing hacks is to clean up your social media profiles and accounts. Get privacy settings on them and “unfollow” those college buddies who are not so tame with language and topics, just until you get the job!
  •  Incorporate some infographics if possible, especially if the company is a startup or a small progressive one. You can put lots of great stuff in a creatively designed infographic that will grab the reader’s eye.
  • Get rid of “buzzwords” or terminology that the initial reader won’t understand anyway. Do put in technical terms that relate specifically to the position, but be a bit moderate in their use.
  • The 20-second rule. That’s the most time the initial reader will spend looking at your resume. So here’s a test. Give your resume to a friend and give him/her 20 seconds to look at it. Now ask that friend to repeat to you what s/he saw and remembers. If the answer does not relate to your skills and accomplishments, you will be re-writing it.
  • Divide your resume into four vertical parts of equal size. Is there a relatively equal amount of text and whit space in each of those parts? If not, revise it. This is all about how a resume is initially scanned by the eye.
  • You can use quick quotes from supervisors or professors from letters of recommendation or performance evaluations. Keep them brief and related directly to your successes
  • Use a different format for employment history. The chronological is boring and expected. You want to have the “unexpected” format. How about listing skill sets and results instead, and then providing the companies and dates of employment in parentheses afterward?
  • A cover letter must accompany every resume, and don’t even think about a “canned” one. Each one must be customized and personalized and speak to the specific skills identified in the job description and to the company itself.
  • Consider opening with a brief paragraph focusing on the skills and successes (you can use bold type). If you don’t have enough essay writing skills to do this, find someone who does!
  • Don’t include irrelevant work history. If you had part-time jobs during your college years, they really aren’t worthy of mention unless any of them relate directly to the position you seek now. If, for example, you wrote blog posts for a couple of web-based businesses and you developed some skills for a successful career in internet marketing, that could easily relate to a position you are seeking in marketing. Working the counter at McDonald’s? Not so much!
  • Include a small portfolio if it is relevant. If you designed websites or wrote content, attach these things. Readers do look at this stuff, because it provides interest!
  • Provide the context for your work experience? Was it a small company or a large 300-person corporation? The more varied your successful work environments, the better.
  •  Quantify your results if possible. Did your efforts result in a 35% increase in site visitations? A 25% reduction in inventory processing errors? Numbers are always good!
  • Your design. Get a pro for this please! The design must match the potential employer’s “culture” and environment. Don’t get too “creative” if the company is conservative and traditional; get wildly creative if the company is small, risk-taking and progressive. Use visuals, and, in some instances, consider a video resume.
  • Paper. Use color – more subdued for conservative organizations but brighter for progressive ones.
  • Use keywords: Online “lookers” will search for those keywords and for terms that relate to the specific position. Again, study the language on the company website and the job description to find the terms you plan to incorporate
  • Send your resume “blindly.” You never know! And make sure you send to your entire network of friends and associates – they may know of someone looking for a candidate like you and can personally present you.
  • Learn how to “outsmart” ATS (applicant tracking systems). When you apply online, most mid-size and large companies have a system that combs through resumes for format, keywords, and, very importantly, spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. If you have any grammar or composition errors, your resume will be discarded!
  • If you are going to provide links to your social media accounts, go in and revise your profiles. Add more information; add the keywords and terms that relate to positions you are seeking. Make yourself look well-rounded with activities, hobbies, and volunteer work.
  • Length. This is always an issue. If you are early in your career, or just starting out, you need a 1-page document, although portfolio additions are fine; if you are later in your career, never more than 2 pages! If you want the reader to have much more information about you, use targeted links to your profiles.
  • If your resume is more than one page, put a header with your last name and page number at top or bottom of that second page!

 

Resume writing is really a task best left to pros who do this for a living and who have the design and writing skills to present you in an engaging and compelling way, dependent upon the position and the organization. Spend the money and get it done right! You can contact GrabMyEssay.com and find such a pro who will be immediately available to produce stunning applicant materials.

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