This slogan will be required to be placed on all “apply here” buttons going forward, to remind everyone that your resume is the only thing hiring managers see, that represents YOU. Getting a job is not like going fishing – the bigger the net, the bigger the gain – NO. It’s like going King Crab fishing (thank you Deadliest Catch) – you need specific gear, specific nets, and trained professionals while you hold on tight and jump into the unknown. Thankfully, we sane people are not about to jump into the Bering Sea. But my point is, you have to spend time on your resume – not just once to create it, but for every single application.
I am guilty of casting the wide net – I have been known to follow the “one and done” resume approach, but it has never been as successful as when I targeted my approach. The problem is that while it’s easier to only craft one or two versions of your resume, it also decreases your chances of matching what the recruiter (or recruitment software) is looking for. Your resume is the only piece of collateral that is created by you; you need to wrap it up neatly with its own bow, each and every time.
Actions to Take Before Hitting Apply (aka – Ressy Representing):
- Pre-resume customization: make sure that you are only applying for jobs that you are really interested in doing. I know that you may have reached the point of “just any job will do.” If you’re in that place, unfortunately customization will not help you land your dream job, although it will help you land a job.
- Be sure to include actions, phrases and words from the specific job description/job posting, in your resume. If a company uses recruiting software like Taleo, this is one way of how they can scan if you’re a qualified candidate or not. Caution: include these things when they make sense and when you have the experience – if you simply cut and paste, your resume could be considered spam.
- Be careful about how you describe your experience. One of my favorite resume blunders was when a candidate placed “Executive Level Employee” on his resume. He literally had three years of work experience. Instead of looking at his resume and thinking he was qualified, I had a good chuckle and moved it to the pass folder. It’s insulting when you don’t quantify or capture your experience properly, be clear and honest about where you are at in your career – this is critical depending upon the position you’re applying for.
- Only include real jobs. I know, kinda common sense except… I have recruited for several entry-level positions as of late, which has provided opportunities for several new grads. Here’s the thing: even if you don’t have “official” work experience, make sure that what you provide on your resume is a) a real job/company and b) relevant to what you’re applying to. One candidate named Sally Sue listed her previous experience as “VP, Marketing at Sue Realty.” Well… Sue Realty was owned by her father and she didn’t really work there, but he told her she could have the title and experience for her resume. There is just a whole lot wrong in the above example – not a real job, not accurately represented, and then the candidate told me! Just be sure to include jobs you’ve actually done for a substantial amount of time to help bolster your experience. YOU (and your actual experience) ARE ENOUGH.
- Remove your old job descriptions from your resume. If your job title says Receptionist, I’m going to assume that you answered phones. Don’t waste space on your resume by saying “answered phones;” instead tell me how many lines you managed or call volume. Unless you are applying for a receptionist position, remove the obvious actions/job descriptions.
- MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE: Every detail on your resume should be telling me how you did something – UNIQUELY. Don’t tell me what you did everyday, tell me what distinguished you in that role. Use action words at the start of each bullet point. Increased sales by X%; delivered X number of leads; and so on.
Ressy Representing – have I convinced you yet? Your resume is a critical component to the job search. If you were to be personally introduced to a contact at a networking event, how would you approach that conversation? Would it be the same 10 words you said to the person you met at a coffee shop? No – your resume should take into account the same type of personal-touch in order to gain success.