Want to write a winning resume? Do this first

Before sit down to write your resume, take the time to do some research. Spending even a few minutes looking into the company you want to work for and the job you want to land can set the right tone for your resume right from the outset.

This is what to look for in your research.

Find out about the organization and its culture. Begin with the “About Us” page of the corporate website. Learn the company’s mission statement and goals. Do their values match with your own? Who are the leadership team? Are they enterprise corporate or start-up casual?

Also, check out their social media profiles. Which platforms are they on? What kind of posts do they share? Are they formal and corporate, funny, or conversational? This can tell you a great deal about the style of the organization and help you tailor your communications.

Be sure to research the specific job that you will be applying for. Resumes that get noticed and land more interviews are the ones that are customized for the specific role at the target company. Generic resumes tend to get rejected quickly.

Read the job postings carefully. Pay close attention to how specific requirements and responsibilities are described. You will want to use similar wording in your resume. This will help get your document past pre-screening filters and Applicant Tracking Software.

See more on getting your resume past the pre-screening bots.

What credentials are needed for the job you want? Do you have most of them? You usually don’t have to have 100 per cent of the qualifications listed in a job posting. Employers routinely ask for a laundry list of credentials and skills that most candidates are unlikely to have. This helps discourage lesser-qualified candidates from applying, giving them fewer resumes to sift through. (Hence asking for a university degree that won’t actually be necessary to doing the job.)

Studies have found that you have a solid chance of being interviewed for a job if you meet at least 50 per cent of the requirements listed in the job ad.

Once you’ve analyzed the qualifications for the job and determined the ones that you have, make sure that your resume highlights those front and centre. Your application should make it clear at a glance that you have the ability to be successful at the targeted job. Employers spend mere seconds on their initial scan of resumes, so you need to grab their attention quickly.

Consider your past accomplishments. What are your most relevant on-the-job achievements? What are your top skills and abilities that have helped you to stand out in some of your previous roles? How can these be of value to the job you are applying for?

Researching the company, understanding their culture and communication style, and compiling a list of your most relevant assets for the job before you even begin writing your resume can help you create a document that gets noticed and wins interviews.

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