Capturing someone’s attention and making a great first impression is no easy task, especially when you haven’t met this person in real life. I know personally how much time it takes to craft the perfect resume and to tailor it to each job I’m applying for.
A few months ago I decided to change up my resume to see if it would help get me more interviews (I didn’t seem to be having much luck with my job search). My old resume was very black-and-white and overall plain looking with your basic headlines and text left aligned on the page. Basically put, it looked just like every other resume that crossed a hiring manager’s desk. Obviously, that’s not what I wanted to do when I was trying to stand out. I wanted (and needed) my resume to scream “Pick me!” in a good way to catch the attention of a hiring manager.
So I decided to sit down, do some research and craft a new resume. Sure enough, with my new resume in hand, I was getting 4 times (or more) the amount of interviews that I was getting with my old resume. So what changed? Nothing had changed, except for the way I went about presenting my information.
When it comes to writing a resume, it’s not only what you say, but also how you go about saying it. Here are a few of the things that I changed to help make me stand out to hiring managers more:
- I got rid of my overall objective statement and replaced it with a professional summary. Instead of basically stating that I was looking for a “full-time job” (just like everyone else), my professional summary allowed me to be unique and stand out. I was able to summarize my overall work experience, years of experience, achievements, and any other information that would stand out to a hiring manager in a neat, little 2-3 sentence paragraph.
- I originally had a list of my skills on my resume. But as my career grew, so did my skill set with my list of skills becoming longer and longer taking up valuable room on my resume. Instead of listing each of my skills, I decided to put them into groups of skills and list them under my highlights of qualifications. For example, my skill of writing would be listed like this: Writing/Communications: Press Releases, Blogs, Magazine Features, Website Content, B2B / B2C Communications. I was able to list the same amount of skills, but take up less room on my resume.
- When it came to listing my work experience, my old resume had just stated where and when I worked, what position I held and what my responsibilities were. When I updated to my new resume, I kept that same information, but also added in specific things I accomplished on the job. A hiring manager doesn’t want to know what you did, but what you in fact accomplished at each role you held. I also made sure to limit my list of jobs to my last 2-3 jobs held.
The amount of time and effort it takes to write/tailor a resume and then submit it to a hiring manager for just one job can already take up to a couple hours. Now factor in applying to possibly hundreds of jobs. That’s a lot of time and effort spent. Why not make it worth it by putting forward the best representation of yourself in the form of your professional resume? Now go out there and hook some interviews, you deserve it!
– Rebecca Bartley
Public Relations ‘14
Follow Rebecca @rbartleyann