As you scan a tempting job posting, you may know with complete certainty that you’d be the perfect candidate. It would be great if hiring managers could read your mind and magically see how hard-working, creative and dedicated you are. Until there’s a mind-reading app, however, you have to rely on your resume to convey your stellar qualities. Here are four tips to help you polish that resume so it reflects everything you have to offer:
1. Customize Your Resume for Each Application
Think of your resume as a bulletin board on which you can swap things around rather than as a painting. Companies increasingly seek to hire employees who are a good “cultural fit,” and you have to learn and reflect the culture of each place you apply to. Check the company’s website and other branded materials: What words do they like? What kind of personality does the company seem to have? Now check your resume and see if you look like a good match. Applying to a business that emphasizes passion may mean you describe your enthusiasm and the extra skills you have independently acquired. A company that values accuracy and consistency will respond better to a resume that cites statistics and looks quietly businesslike.
2. Use Industry Keywords
Many resumes go through an automated filter before they are seen by human eyes. To give yourself the best chance of making the first cut, incorporate industry keywords. Look through websites and job postings in your field and try to evaluate which words, skills and requirements keep showing up. Add these words into your resume text in a way that sounds natural.
3. Use the Right Format
Does the submission process allow you to submit a Word file? If so, you can make use of snappy graphics, using fonts and text blocks that communicate the fact that you know how to visually present yourself. If, on the other hand, you’re required to submit the resume electronically in pure ASCII text, you need to strip all extra formatting away and present a clean, simple typed outline. If you need help with your resume form, check out a site like My Perfect Resume.
4. Avoid Personal Information
You will look more professional by omitting references to your age, gender, religion, marital status and family situation. You should not include your Social Security number, and you also do not need to attach a photo. The next layer of personal information to remove are salary expectations and (according to some experts) your personal objectives. Your cover letter can address the way your personal goals align with the company’s objectives.
Your resume is the best marketing tool you have. Use these simple resume tips to make sure it shows your true awesomeness.