You always want to make your job application materials to be the best they can be. Use these 11 tips to upgrade your resume and increase your chances of landing a job.
Run the job description through a cloud generator.
Running the job posting through a cloud generator, like this one
will pull the most dominant words in the job description, and you can then see which keywords to include in your resume and cover letter. Focus on skill words, action words, and job title words. Do the same with your resume, and see that the most important words have overlap.
Change your “objective” to a “summary.”
Objectives make no sense to include in a resume because they are about what you want rather than the value you can bring to a company. An employer doesn’t care that you are looking for a position that will help you further your marketing career, learn, and put your people skills to good use. They care that you are a talented marketing professional with a successful history of raising brand profiles and dramatically increasing sales. Say what you can do, not what you want. Be clear and specific about your job title, skills, and successes.
Fill in the gaps.
If there are gaps in your resume, fill them. Say you took some time to study or volunteer, improve your skills, or that you had a baby. Or you can simply leave the months out if you ended a job in January 2016 and didn’t start another one until October of that same year. So, instead of saying:
Yummy Food Company: February, 2014 – January, 2016
Delicious Food Company: October 2016 – Present
You’d just say
Yummy Food Company: 2014 – 2016
Delicious Food Company: 2016 – Present
See? Easy. For more detail on how to fill resume gaps, head over here.
Move all the important information up top.
By now you all know about the studies suggesting your resume has about 7 seconds to grab a hiring manager’s attention. So, put your name, contact information, summary, and skills section in the top third of the page. Use powerful language in the “skills section” and make sure to include the skills listed in the job description.
Remove your photo.
Do not include a photo in your resume. This may be common practice in some countries but it is not common in North America and Canada, and it is generally frowned upon. Some companies will even immediately reject an application with a photo, according to reports. An employer, on the other hand, might ask for one, in which case you can send one if you want to. Note that, in Ontario, employers are discouraged from asking for a picture by the Human Rights Commission, though guidelines and recommendations may change by province (no, contrary to what some believe, it is not illegal). Yes, this is silly because your LinkedIn profile should definitely have a photo on it and the employer will see it there. But the job search is a weird game and we all have to play it.
Add a link to your Linkedin page.
And yes, you must include a link to your LinkedIn page, which, as we just mentioned, has a photo. Employers expect this. Not having a LinkedIn page is just strange these days. Make sure your page is up to date and that it is as professional and impressive as you can make it.
Add action words and numbers.
If you can, highlight accomplishments with words like “increased,” “implemented,” improved,” “generated,” “spearheaded,” etc. And use numbers where available, such as, “Implemented a training program that increased production output by 75%.”
Remove “references available upon request.”
This is a waste of real estate. The employer knows that if asked, you will provide references. You don’t need to tell them that.
Remove lies and exaggerations.
True story: A hiring manager at a place I once worked was interviewing a candidate who claimed to have worked at a company where that manager had previously worked. It did not take long for the manager to figure out that the guy never worked there. It was embarrassing and, obviously, the guy didn’t get the job. Remember that, in many industries, a lot of people know each other, so lies are easy to detect through casual conversation. And once you lie, your reputation may be ruined. It might be tempting to make stuff up, but it’s not worth the risk.
Add a hobbies and interests section.
A lot of companies hire for “fit” with the company culture these days, so it can be helpful to share a bit of who you are outside of your work experience. A company that puts a lot of focus on Corporate Social Responsibility might be more interested in someone with a lot of volunteer experience, for example. Or an organization with a league soccer team may be more inclined to hire a soccer player.
Get someone else to proof read it.
It is super duper hard to catch all your own typos and grammatical errors. No matter how many times you go through your application materials, you are going to miss something. The risk of a glaring error is compounded by the fact that, if you are job searching properly, you will be tailoring your resume to every job you apply for, and all that tweaking and editing leaves a lot of room for error. Get a second pair of eyes whenever you can. It will help.