If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t thought much about your resume in the last few years. Maybe you’ve been with the same company for awhile or you’ve relied solely on networking; but, at some point, the inevitable will happen and someone will ask for your resume. Before you start panicking and looking through Microsoft Word templates, take a moment to prepare now with these tips.
Tip 1: Make Sure Your Resume is Visually Easy-to-Understand and Scan for ATS and Human Readers
We’ve all heard the statistic that future employers only spend 6 seconds scanning your resume. Well, the robots scan it even quicker. Most major employers and more than 40% of smaller companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to help them sift through candidates. There are a number of ways ATS can help you or hurt you. Something as simple as your font or formatting can be the reason for your automatic rejection letter. A lesser known aspect of ATS is they rank your resume by keywords–how often they are used and where they appear in the resume. It’s not enough to have the keyword in your resume, it needs to appear throughout the resume to receive a high ranking and ensure your resume is at the top of the pile.
Once you pass the robot test, your resume needs to also needs to be able to be easy-to-understand and visually interpret. Meaning, the person reading it can scan your resume quickly and gather a clear picture of who you are and what you can do for their company.
Tip 2: Focus on Results-Based Achievements
What is a results-based achievement?
Think about all the ways that you have helped your company the most–from restructuring to revenue increases–the qualitative and quantitative efforts, projects or initiatives you’ve put forth that have contributed to the success of the company. If you’re drawing a blank, you’re not alone. It can be extremely difficult for people to write about themselves, especially their successes. I work with all of my clients one-on-one to gather all of this information during phone consultations/interviews to make the process easier for everyone. But, if you’re writing your resume yourself, try to imagine you are talking about someone else and, remember, you can still be humble and accurately portray what you have accomplished in your career. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Also, it’s not enough to just say you accomplished something, you need to back it up with how you accomplished it. For example, say you saved your company X amount of money. You would want to include all of the details you could to provide as clear a picture as possible. Remember, companies are trying to figure out how you help them–why not show them. So instead of “Saved $400K in revenue,” it would change to ” Saved $100M in operational expenses through a lean transformation roadmap with over 1500 Kaizen events”.
The key to making a good resume a great one is everything from how easy your resume is to visually understand and scan (for people and robots) to how well you clarify results-based achievements from previous positions.