Your resume is your primary personal marketing tool in the job search. You very well may have the chops for whatever role you’ve set your sights on, but you can still come up short if the skills on your resume are missing the mark on reflecting your industry expertise. Your chances of landing an interview depend on your ability to learn how to make your resume stand out.
The ability to stand out is even more crucial for the class of 2020, as they enter a shifting job market with a slowdown in hiring amid COVID-19 concerns. According to Glassdoor Economic Research, even internships are affected, with internship hiring on Glassdoor falling 49% in May 2020, compared to May 2019. College graduates and experienced professionals alike can benefit from improving their resumes. These five tips will provide the marketing flair to sound good in a resume while ensuring you never have to exaggerate or bend the truth when it comes to your career.
1. Convert accomplishment numbers into percentages
Decreasing spending by $10,000 in a quarter might sound like a lot of money in your current role, but you may be applying for a role where $10,000 is a fairly insignificant amount. However, updating your resume to reflect that you were able to reduce spending by 20% is a much more digestible statement, regardless of the sample size. Converting all dollar amounts, pageviews, or revenue gains to percentages that reflect growth or year-over-year change will make all of your accomplishments sound much more impressive to hiring managers.
2. Don’t be afraid to brag about your skills on your resume
Think of your resume as an abbreviated quarterly report or project debrief that you’d deliver at work: It needs to provide context, details, and results to reflect the hard work that went into making something a success. Therefore, being your own cheerleader is essential. So is making sure your responsibilities or day-to-day tasks don’t outweigh the measurable accomplishments throughout your most recent roles. If tooting your own horn isn’t something you feel particularly comfortable with, hiring a professional resume writer can help take the pressure off.
To read more advice on how to sound good on your resume from a career expert, see: How to Give Context to Your Career Accomplishments
3. Stand out from the crowd by avoiding a cookie cutter resume
Rewriting your resume is the perfect time to think about what makes you unique as a professional. Hiring managers see tons of cookie-cutter resumes with bland objective statements on a daily basis; identifying a few specific points about your individual skill set will set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool. Are you a marketer with HTML skills? An operations manager with a background at Fortune 500 companies? A multilingual analyst? Once you’ve found your specific edge, don’t be afraid to highlight it in your resume and cover letter (and LinkedIn profile summary, while you’re at it!).
4. Address specific points from the job posting
A common mistake job seekers make is not customizing their resume for every application they send out. If you edit your resume to make your skills sound better, make sure that they are skills that you know the hiring manager would care about. Remember that a recruiter or hiring manager is looking for incredibly specific qualities in a candidate, and if your resume doesn’t address those points, it’s likely to end up in an application black hole. For example, if a role will focus heavily on P&L or developing a loyalty program or managing a large team of cross-functional direct reports, make sure your experience tied to these focus areas are front and center on your resume when you send in your application.
5. Don’t leave gaps in employment on your resume
Periods of under- or unemployment are not uncommon in our current workforce, and there are several techniques to address them effectively on your resume. If you’re stumped on how to work with these gaps yourself, a professional resume writer can work to equip you with the tools you need for your specific set of circumstances.