What's the Difference Between a Good Resume and a GREAT Resume?
How do you know if you’re crafting a “great” resume or just a “good” one? What makes you stand out in a sea of hundreds to get selected for an interview? You have to think of your resume as a brochure: marketing you and your skills to the interviewer. It’s an informed advertisement, targeting the hiring manager for this specific position.
Here are some tips to telling your story in a powerful way:
- Think of yourself as the hiring manager. Start by thinking: What would I want to see on this resume, knowing I’m responsible for the success of my team and getting the job done right?
- Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments. It is so much more impactful when you see that a candidate has reduced costs by X% in the current quarter or increased holiday bookings by $X for the second year in a row.
- State all your important, quantified accomplishments right up front. Many managers may not read to the end of your resume. If you can make a compelling case in your summary statement, you increase the chances of getting called in for the interview.
- Focus on what you’ve learned and how you got there (as opposed to just listing responsibilities and activities). Many employers want to see that you are interested in growing into a larger role and are capable of learning on the job.
- Keep your resume clean, organized and logical. Show how each position led to the next and how you’ve developed your skills over your career.
- Formatting is important. Lose the fancy fonts and funky design. Many companies employ an automated resume scanning program that eliminates resumes that don’t match the job description. You have to be smart about using keywords directly from the job listing.
- Use a Summary Section at the top of your resume. This is a concise overview of what the resume will detail below. Use the keywords from the job description and describe exactly why you are a perfect match for this specific job. It should state how your skills and accomplishments support this company’s mission in 4 lines or less.
- In your Work History, be sure to describe how the work experience and skills you’ve gained will meet your future employer’s needs. Make him/her realize how much he/she needs your services. Beef up your LinkedIn Profile and include a link to your page in your resume’s contact information.
- In a Key Accomplishments section, bring special attention to those experiences that are relevant to this particular job. It doesn’t really matter where or when you gained those experiences; just that they are a key asset to the success you’ll bring to this position. For example, if you stepped up to act as Lead on your team in a time of need and it resulted in a “win” for the company, you can emphasize that experience as it relates to the requirements of this position.
- Most importantly: sell yourself. Ask yourself what the employer really wants and customize your resume for each job application.
You are going to have to shift your thinking a bit to become a “sales person” who is presenting a product (you) that will solve a need for the employer. If they hire (buy from) you, these are the benefits they can expect to receive. It may not feel comfortable at first, but this is a writing style that will take you resume from simply “good” to really “great.”