You did it. You spent a few hours writing your resume, making sure to include your complete job history, all of your skills, your education, and even a few of your strengths for good measure. You might have even had a friend read over it, just to be sure you didn’t miss anything. Now you’re ready to bring it to your interview, post it online, email it to a potential employee – or all three. Done and done, right?
Not so fast. Recruiters get tens, if not hundreds or even thousands of resumes each week, and many are just looking for an excuse to move as many as possible to their trash bins to save time. (Hey, we can hardly blame them.) So before you settle down to tune in to that new Netflix series you’ve been meaning to catch up on, follow these three small but significant steps to make sure your resume goes from standard to stellar. The best part is, you can do it all in about the same time it would take to watch one episode of TV. (Don’t worry, Netflix will still be there for you when you’re finished.)
- Be sure your contact information is front and center. (Five minutes.)
Don’t make a potential employer search for your phone number or email; they won’t take the time. The heading of your resume should include your name, phone, email, city and state (you don’t need to include your full address) and any social media accounts relevant to the job, such as your Linked In profile.
- Make it look good. (Ten minutes.)
- Double check your spelling. A typo will get you noticed quickly, and not in a good way. It may be just the excuse the recruiter is looking for to toss your resume and move on to the next.
- Be sure that the format of your resume is clean and uncluttered. Use as few words as possible to describe each job. You can find easy-to-use resume templates in Microsoft Word – just open a new document and type “resume” in the template search. (You can also find some snazzy resume templates online. Hubspot.com offers 11 free resume templates that can be customized using Word, and Resumonk.com offers both free templates and lots of helpful resume and job search information – some free of charge, and some for a small subscription fee.)
- Check that the name you use on your resume matches your Facebook and Linked In profile names. That way, when potential employers perform a Google search for you (and they will), they can easily find you and match all your profiles and information.
- Use the right words. (20-30 minutes.)
Many companies are now using robots to filter resumes according to key words – meaning that your resume is scanned for specific words and, if it doesn’t contain them or contain enough of them, it’s automatically rejected. Similarly, recruiters will quickly scan their pile of resumes looking for words and phrases that match the job description they’ve written. So make sure your resume contains what they’re searching for, and instead of getting rejected, get noticed!
- The first key word to concentrate on is the title of the job you want. For instance, you’re looking for work as an Injection Molding Operator, but should you use “Injection Mold Operator,” “Plastic Injection Molding Machine Operator,” or “Injection Molding Operator”? One easy way to figure it out is to perform a quick Google search. When you do, you’ll see all three terms pop up, but which title is used the most, and more importantly, what terms do staffing agencies and job search sites use? It looks like “Injection Molding Operator” wins, both as a general description of the job and on multiple job search sites.
- Next, focus on your job duties and abilities you have that are specific to the job (also known as hard skills). Look again at staffing agency and job search site postings and copy the words they use. Hard skills for an injection molding job often require that you be able to “follow specific manufacturing instructions” and “use and read measuring tools.”
- Finally, take a look at your soft skills (think of them as your “people skills”), such as being a team player or a problem solver. These skills are often found in many different types of job descriptions, but focus on your specific area, because the employer has listed what’s important to them for this particular job. If you see “good communicator” or “independent worker” in several different job postings, and you know you’ve got them, use those same words and phrases.
Now that you’ve made it easy for an employer to contact you, got yourself looking like a million bucks and incorporated words and phrases that will grab the attention of humans and humanoids alike, it’s time to pop some corn, kick back and fire up the Netflix!
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By Shannon Quinn