The best way to get an interview is to have a compelling resume tailored to the open position. How do you know it’s compelling? When the hiring manager, after reading your resume thinks, “This is someone I definitely want to talk to!”.
A resume by itself won’t get you a job, but a compelling resume will get you an interview. Here are some tips to improve your resume and increase the response rate from applications.
- Hiring managers will initially scan resumes, so you have about 10 seconds to make a great impression. Resumes are put into pile A, B, or C. You want to be in pile A. These are the applicants who will get a telephone call for an interview. A strong format will lead the hiring manager’s eye to key points of interest. Make sure they’re the right key points.
- Since hiring managers scan but not read your resume initially, you need two things: First, provide a SUMMARY OF RESULTS at the top of the resume defining your career achievements in one prominent place. Then make sure the most important information for your current job is right underneath. In this way, the hiring manager can be immediately impressed with your contributions.
- Make sure your defining achievements are measurable and explainable. Don’t say, “I turned around product sales for a region”. Instead, say, “I increased new product sales by 25%, converted 15 of 18 new customers from competitors and reduced costs by 8%”. This information makes the hiring manager want to know how you did that, which can only be found out during an interview. You want to force the “how did you do that” question.
- Parallel your key words in the resume to match the key words in the position description. If the position description emphasizes cost reduction, make sure you accentuate the projects where your reduced expenses or implemented a system that saved time, effort or dollars. Again, specify the number in percent, dollars or another measurable unit. Make sure you can articulate the steps and methods to attain the performance.
- Read, edit and condense your resume at least 3 or 4 times. Squeeze out words or sentences that do not add value to the content of the resume and what the hiring manager is looking for in an applicant. Read it as if you are the hiring manager.
- Make sure you don’t use up valuable space with irrelevant information, like: What you did during your summers, extraneous commentary, personal information or references (wait until you are asked for them). If you can compress your achievements or results onto one page, all the better. Two pages if you have contributed to a number of organizations over 10 years or more. Three pages are over the top and your resume may be discarded by the hiring manager.
Make your resume compelling and you’ll get a telephone screening call.
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