As a former hiring manager, Ive combed through hundreds of resumes and cover letters. Im also the go-to person in my friends and family circle when someone needs help updating theirs.
Ill let you in on a little secret: your resume is one of the most important documents you will ever own!
Its true your resume can be the one thing standing between you and a job you love and your key to a prosperous and exciting future.
Thats why its so important to spend time crafting a concise, yet powerful resume that is tailored for the job you want.
Lets start with the basics.
8 Resume Tips from a Former Hiring Manager:
Resume Tip #1: Its not about you
Sorry (not sorry) to be so blunt about it, but its true. Hiring managers look for employees that have the skills and experience that will add value to their team.
This is actually a huge relief, because it is so much easier to convince the hiring manager to call you for an interview when youre not sleezy or salesy about your experience.
Understanding this concept allows you to focus on what the company needs and how you meet those needs, instead of focusing on using adjectives to embellish your work history.
Resume Tip #2: Do your research
Now that you know its not about you, you need to know whats important to the company.
Start with the job description or posting. Print it out and highlight keywords, skills, and qualifications that are required of the person in this role.
Use these key terms to review your work history, then match your skills and experience with what the company is looking for.
You want your resume to be sort of a checklist for the hiring manager:
Project management skills? Check.
Customer service experience? Check.
Masters degree? Check.
Once youre done with that, head over to the companys website. Look up their mission, vision and values statements, strategic goals and any pertinent press releases. Youll need this information to round out your resume and cover letter, and later on in your interview.
Resume Tip #3: Upgrade your format
Im sure this doesnt matter to EVERY hiring manager, but personally, if I look at another Word document with fifty bullet points in Times New Roman, Im going to scream.
The goal is to make your resume STAND OUT. One way to do that is to make it look unlike every other resume the hiring manager is reading.
You can create your own template in Microsoft Word using the suggested format in this guide, or you can invest in a downloadable, editable template from Etsy or Pinterest.
Remember, your resume is one of the most important documents youll ever own. Skip a couple Starbucks runs and upgrade your template. (Hint: make sure it comes with a matching cover letter template as well!)
Resume Tip #4: Lose archaic terminology
Its 2018. No one cares what your objective is and lets be real. Everyone applying for the job has the SAME objective to get the job!
Instead, summarize your professional experience and skills at the top of your resume under the header Summary or Professional Profile.
Its a great way to showcase your personality, passions and expertise, and gives the hiring manager an instant feel for WHO YOU ARE, not just what you do.
Another redundant phrase is: references available upon request.
References are a normal part of the hiring process. The hiring manager will request them at some point. Leave it off your resume, and instead, keep an additional document (in the same format) with your references contact information. This way, youll be prepared with a polished, professional document when the time comes.
Resume Tip #5: Say a lot without saying a lot
Say what!? The hiring manager does not have time to read through every accomplishment and skill you list in your resume. You need to be as concise as possible, while still sharing your most important achievements.
This format helps to break up heavy text and draws the readers eyes to the key points you want to highlight: education, skills, and experience.
Instead of listing every major accomplishment at each of your previous jobs, list your jobs (in reverse chronological order, mind you) and add a 1-2 sentence summary of the work you did. Remember, be concise, but powerful in the language you use. Then, add 2-3 bullet points of specific, quantifiable tasks you want to highlight and make sure these align with the keywords from the job description.
Boom. Youve condensed your two-page, bullet-laden resume into a few specific items that highlight the value you will bring to the company.
Resume Tip #6: Make it searchable
Another reason to add the keywords all over your resume is to ensure that it is found if the employer uses an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). ATS is a software that receives, sorts and stores resumes from every person who applies for each position in the company.
Why does this matter? Because your resume can get overlooked if you dont use the right format, headers, or keywords the system is designed to look for.
Keep your headers simple, like Education, Experience, Skills to be sure that your resume is correctly formatted in the system, and add keywords to each section.
True story: I was hiring for two positions on my team but not getting a ton of qualified applicants. When I reached out to my HR Business Partner, she uncovered several applications that were moved into a decline folder. I went through them anyway and found a few applicants that had the qualifications I was looking for, but used different terminology than what was in the job description.
Lesson: always match your resume to the job description. Always.
Resume Tip #7: Make it findable
Heres a pet peeve of mine (and probably most hiring managers): opening ten resume files named MyResume.doc. *insert eye roll*
PLEASE dont make hiring managers rename your file when they save it; make it easy for them to save your file by naming it something like FirstNameLastNameResume. And ALWAYS save it as a PDF.
I promise, this will give you major points off the bat, because it shows that 1. you are willing to make life easier for your future manager; 2. you are organized; and 3. you care about the work you produce.
Resume Tip #8: Make it memorable
Hiring managers want to know what you will do for them (remember: its not about you.). Make sure you show the value you bring to the table.
How do you know what the company wants? Heres where that handy information you gathered from the company website comes into play.
Companies exist to make money, to provide a service, or to sell products.
Which of the above describes the company youre applying to? Think about how you can help them achieve their goals, what skills you will bring to the table, and how they will benefit from hiring you. Then, add that to your summary at the top and in the summaries of your previous positions.
And heres a bonus tip: PROOFREAD.
I cant tell you how many resumes Ive read that have typos and grammatical errors. PLEASE, for the love of all thats fabulous in the world, proofread your resume!
Sometimes its hard to see your own mistakes, so have a few friends or family members read through your resume before you hit that submit button.
Making the time to create a thorough, job-specific resume goes a long way in helping you stand out from the competition.
Download your FREE BE Outstanding Resume Guide to check out the exact format I recommend (and use personally) to land the interview. Bonus it comes with a cover letter guide too!
BONUS: Take this free quiz to discover your Feminine Leadership Style. Understanding your specific style and strengths will help you land the perfect job!