“How do I know what skills and experiences to emphasize on my resume?” “How do I demonstrate my expertise better than others who are vying for the same job?” Here are some answers for your questions, and some steps to take:
- First, understand that a single resume going out to multiple organizations is like trying to play golf with just a putter. You resume can’t fit all jobs you want. Your resume must be tailored as closely as possible with the requirements of each position description. If your resume covers 50% of the expectations of the hiring manager, and others are at 80% or more, why would you be considered?
- Scan the position description and write down the broad elements for which the hiring manager is looking. They are usually the first 5 to 8 items listed, because the hiring manager will initially list the most important items that are needed.
- Write down the key words that the hiring manager uses. Take those words and transfer them to your resume, hopefully near the top of the first page. When a hiring manager scans your resume, you want those words to show up early. If you can, put those key words in 2 or 3 different places. Why? Because if a computer scans your resume, the more times those words show up the higher your resume is ranked.
- Illustrate the skills and experiences that parallels the needs of the hiring manager. There are three ways to match the hiring manager’s requirements:
- Define the skills or experience that comes closest to equaling the desired tasks
- Highlight a project or program that duplicates the experience, from another organization, situation or application
- Use numbers to demonstrate measurable results
- Make sure you have a combination of both soft and hard skills and experiences. Soft skills are relationship oriented, like team-work, collaborations, interpersonal support. Hard skills are the physical or technical tasks, like web design, product training or process improvement engineering.
- Use metrics at every opportunity. Why? It demonstrates that:
- You measure results so the organization can see progress
- It differentiates you from those who only give subjective, non-measurable answers
- It demonstrates a level of detail that hiring managers are looking for in a candidate
- Use action words to describe your activities, like “increased”, “decreased”, “improved”, not passive words like, “assisted”, “communicated”, “prepared”.
- If you need a certification or experience that you don’t have, sign up and state that you are currently enrolled in an on-line course to achieve the skills required
Hiring managers are looking for candidates that can help them achieve their objectives. Make sure your resume highlights past skills and experiences in parallel with the position description. It’s the first step toward being a top candidate. Adding in metrics to show your direct and measurable contribution to the results, gives you an advantage over all other candidates.
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