No one enjoys writing a résumé, but they are a necessary component of every job hunt. Make the most of the time you spend revising and editing your résumé by making smart, strategic decisions that allow you to hack the job search process. We’ve compiled a few of the best résumé hacks to make your application stand out.
Customize Your Résumé
This should go without saying, but always bears repeating: you must customize your résumé for each position you apply to. This means you will have to do your homework. Research the company you are applying to and carefully review the position description and requirements. Then, tailor your resume accordingly. Strategically select positions from your work history that are most relevant to the position you are applying to, rather than including your entire work history. Be sure that your position descriptions illustrate the skills and competencies that are most important for the position you are applying for.
Use Strategic Keywords
Strategic language is always important when writing a résumé, and now more so than ever. Many companies are adopting technologies that compile applications – including résumés – into keyword search databases to screen and select potential candidates. Having the right keywords in your résumé may be the difference between making it past this first round, or being relegated to the bottom of the pile. The most used keywords are action verbs (presented, collaborated, executed), though institutions, position titles, and noun phrases are used as well. Finding the right keywords requires a bit of digging, but can be extremely rewarding. To get a good idea of what words and phrases you should be using, search related job postings within the industry, participate in industry forums and publications to become familiar with buzzwords, and peruse the company’s “careers” page to identify the competencies they value.
Pro tip: The most important keywords are usually mentioned early and often throughout the relevant posts. Mimic this structure in your own résumé, with the keywords clustered throughout the first third of your résumé.
Focus On Your Accomplishments
Rather than listing your day-to-day activities or assigned tasks, highlight special projects you have contributed to and your most important achievements. Expound upon your successes so that a hiring manager will understand you strengths and the level of responsibility they can expect you to assume. Remember, hiring managers don’t want to hire someone who can complete tasks as assigned, but someone who can excel.
Quantify All Achievements
Numbers talk, often louder than words. Sales figures, the size of the team you managed, and the average number of clients you interacted with in a day or week are all important indicators of your accomplishments and skill levels. These numbers are solid proof of your accomplishments, and demonstrate to hiring managers that you understand the metrics they value. In addition, they provide your potential employers with important context, helping them to understand the pace and structure of the environments you have worked in previously.
Show Some Personality
If you’re looking for a position at a startup, or are working in a progressive industry, creativity is an important asset. You can showcase yours in many ways, from providing colorful, well-designed infographics or including a piece of digital art in your application. If you are not creatively inclined, little changes, like a small pop of color or a change in font, can grab a hiring manager’s attention and keep your application at the forefront of their mind.
The goal of your résumé is to secure that initial interview, which requires capturing and keeping the attention of overworked hiring managers who are likely swimming in résumés. Give them a breath of fresh air, and boost your chances of scoring your dream position, with a well-crafted, interesting résumé that showcases your talents and abilities. The simple résumé hacks above are sure to do just that!