(This is part 2 of The Sher Way to “Simplifying Your Job Search through TRUST” which is an acronym for Take Inventory, Resume, Understanding Social Media, STARS, Trust the Process)
Although the look of a resume hasn’t changed much over the years, there are differences today that makes one stand out from all the others. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that your resume needs to catch the attention of the reader very quickly and it needs to hold their interest to the point that they want to dig deeper and learn more through a conversation with you.
Your resume needs to be effective in two ways:
Applicant Tracking System (ATS):
- The ATS is an automated system that looks for pre-determined key words and phrases that are identified as key aspects of the position that is being recruited to be filled. As a job applicant, you can find these words in the job posting, job descriptions, your knowledge of the industry and market and using on-line tools. Wordart.com and Wordle.net are 2 programs where you can copy and paste in content and it will create word clouds that clearly identify the most prevalent words in the document. Those are your key words. Jobscan.co (not a typo) is a program that gives you a comparison of your resume to the job posting and provides direction on how to make your resume match more closely.
If you submit your resume to an on-line posting, you must do so in a clean, plaintext format without any bars, graphs, tables or lines. An overly formatted resume will not be picked up by the ATS
For the recruiter and hiring manager:
- Separate from the ATS is the impact a resume must have with the recruiter and/or hiring manager. You should also format your resume in a more attractive and reader friendly way. This does not need to be fancy, but it might contain tables or bullet points or line breaks to make it an easier read. This is the version that you would bring to interviews and/or give to someone to present to a hiring manager on your behalf.
Regardless of the format, there are 3 basic elements of a great resume. First, you have less than 10-seconds to grab the attention of the reader so it must be focused on the specific job of interest and it must tell how your skills and experience are a great fit for it. Opening with a “Personal Summary” allows you to customize the resume and focus on what’s important to the hiring manager.
Next, your resume should contain “responsibility statements” for each role you have had in your career dating back about 15-years or 3-jobs. These statements succinctly explain what your role was and what you were expected to do. They are straight forward and objective.
The last element of a great resume is the “accomplishment statement” and these are what will differentiate you from other candidates. It is not enough to state what you were responsible for doing. You need to describe how well you did it through data, results or outcomes. A good test of your statements is to ask, “Can this statement be said about anyone or is it unique to me?”.
In the past, the resume was written for the recruiter or hiring manager. Today, it remains important to impact those two, but it also must be written with the ATS in mind. After all, if it doesn’t get through the ATS, a human being will never see it to be persuaded to speaking with you which is the goal of a resume.