When putting together a compelling resume you are competing with many other job applicants at the same time. There may be100 or more resumes in the stack. You need to find a way within 15 seconds to stand out enough to receive a telephone screen. How do you do that?
First, you need to understand how resumes are sorted:
- Hiring managers will not initially read in detail all of the resumes word for word
- Resumes are visually scanned, looking for results that parallel the job requirements
- The top half of the resume gets the most attention
- If you do it right, your resume will be on the “be sure to call” list.
- Get their attention in the first 15 seconds. After your name and contact information (just your telephone number and email address) put a header called: PERFORMANCE SUMMARY OF RESULTS
- Carefully craft 3 to 4 key bullets identifying the major results you’ve achieved that match the key responsibilities of the open position
- Use metrics that demonstrate your ability to do the job that you did somewhere else. Example: 18% increase in new product-line sales through “counselor selling”; or, 11% decrease in the cost of goods through process analysis using cross-functional teams; or, 8% reduction in employee turnover resulting in a $285,000 savings and 5% increase in productivity
- Don’t use generic words that anyone can emulate like, “High energy manager who builds teams to accomplish strategies and goals”; or, “Results driven and highly effective team player that enjoys a challenge”. If you can’t differentiate yourself better than that you’ll have difficulty rising above the others
- If you’ve worked for a company that is recognized as a leader in the industry or you have achieved an award in your function, by all means use it in your summary. Be sure to expand upon it within the body of the resume. The hiring manager would rather have a leader than a follower
- A header, like “PERFORMANCE SUMMARY OF RESULTS” is geared to allow you to shine in the glow of your achievements within the first 15 seconds of reading your resume. If you don’t headline your accomplishments, no one else will.
In order to be a finalist for an open position, you must present yourself as a direct contributor to their results. Demonstrate your value immediately and convince the hiring manager that you are the “best in class”.