Talk to anyone who is struggling to find a job in today’s ultra-competitive economy, and the biggest complaint you’ll hear is how they’ve handed out hundreds of resumes to hundreds of companies, only to hear nothing back and stay in the same financial position that they were in months ago! Although some people may dismiss this as mere whining, it’s definitely nothing to scoff at.
Many people are naively led to believe by their schools and others around them that it’s ‘just the job market’, and that it’s an inevitable part of life. However, the harsh reality is that there ARE people who are getting jobs with their resumes, and still finding sustainable work that keeps them far away from unemployment. So why is it that our resumes aren’t working?
It all comes down to the fact that you have to know how to play the psychological game of making your resume appeal to the employer. In order to do that, we need to go deep into the mind of the employer and really try to see things from their perspective. With a better understanding of how they look at resumes and what emotionally triggers them to call us for an interview, we can tailor our resumes to improve our chances of landing that dream job!
Picture this scenario: The hiring manager gets HUNDREDS of resumes to look at for a new position in the company. Do you really think they’ll have time to look at each and every single resume in pain-staking detail? Of course not! Each resume will get no more than a few seconds of attention. If your resume doesn’t do the trick within that time period, then down in the trash can it goes! Your resume needs to be tailored to grab their attention, and convince them that you are a suitable fit for the job.
Here are some strategies that you can use right away to make your resume stand out from all the others, and improve your odds of getting that phone call!
1) Is your formatting on point?
This seems like a beginner-level piece of advice, but you’ll be shocked to see how many professional people will not have a properly formatted resume. Poor format shows a lack of professionalism and attention to detail, and will be shredded in the blink of an eye. This means keeping your resume to no more than a single page, using bullet point form under each category, and keeping a consistent format with headings and regular text.
2) Is it tailored SPECIFICALLY to the job?
Some companies will put resumes through an electronic filter in which certain keywords will be highlighted to see which resumes are most relevant. This is done before the hiring manager personally looks at the resumes, and even then they will also be looking for specific details that are related to the job. Your best friend here will be the job description, as it provides juicy hints on what they are looking for in terms of credentials, work experience, and relevant achievements. Obviously, this means that your generic resume template isn’t going to fly. Use the job description while writing your resume and tailor each category to the criteria that the employer is looking for.
3) Don’t say what you’ve done – SHOW it!
What does this mean? Any Joe Schmoe can write down that they are smart, hard-working, and professional on a resume. But that means nothing as everyone else will be saying those same things on their resume. The old saying of ‘results talk, garbage walks’ is especially applicable here. Specific numbers will be a key ally in convincing your employer that you can walk the talk and possess the skills that they need. If they see ‘Improved sales in 2 years’, they’re not going to be fazed at all. However, if you change that to ‘Improved sales from $1M to $2M in six months’ or ‘Achieved top rank in commission within the first 3 months of employment’, now you’ve got them interested! Keep this mindset when describing your accomplishments, and you’ll leave your employer wanting to know more. In fact, they might be curious enough to pick up the phone and give you a call!
These strategies mean nothing unless you take the time to apply them and test them out on different jobs. With time, you’ll get a knack for writing killer resumes and your competitors will be left scratching their heads, unable to figure out how you were able to do it!