Resumes play a crucial role in every job application. It’s usually your first opportunity to present yourself to a recruiter or a hiring manager, and a strong first impression is critical. If you’re looking to land your dream job, here are some tips to help your application stand out.
1. Tailor your resume to the industry and job
Prioritizing experience and skills according to their relevance to the job you’re applying for makes it easier for recruiters to identify an ideal candidate. It also demonstrates your understanding of the skills necessary to do the job. Include a tailored header and short summary highlighting – with demonstrable evidence – why you’re the best candidate for that specific role.
Also, make sure the design of your resume fits the industry and the job you’re targeting. For instance, a uniquely designed resume might be great for a creative role, but simple and polished might be preferable for, say, an IT consultant position.
2. Keep it brief
A study by Ladders revealed that recruiters can make a decision about a candidate in only 7.4 seconds. This means the information in your resume must be concise, relevant, and optimized.
Stick to one or two pages; no more. Include only the information that’s relevant to the role you’re applying for. If there’s anything extra you think a recruiter might be interested in, add a link to your LinkedIn or online portfolio – this will save space and help keep your resume clean and succinct.
3. Match keywords to the job description
Use the same keywords on your resume that are used in the job description. This will improve your chances of getting through applicant tracking systems, which often scan for keywords. It will also help recruiters easily identify your expertise when they skim your resume.
4. Tout accomplishments over responsibilities
Many applicants make the mistake of listing their experience in terms of responsibilities instead of accomplishments. Recruiters will likely already know the responsibilities involved in a particular position – instead, they want to hear about how successful you were, what your biggest achievements were, and how you faced problems and challenges.
When possible, include numbers to support your claims, and use power verbs such as “increased,” “improved,” “accelerated,” and “headed.” This combination provides a better view of your achievements and makes your experience more tangible.
5. Include a cover letter
It’s good practice to send a cover letter with your resume, even if the post doesn’t ask for one. Keep the letter direct and concise, and make sure its design and tone matches that of your resume. A cover letter provides another opportunity for you as an applicant to pitch yourself, provide evidence that you can deliver results, and tie your experience to the company’s goals. Done right, it’s a great way for making your application stand out from the rest.