Welcome to Part I of my summer 2015 blog series on what it takes to conduct a successful job search in today’s competitive job market. I know it can be frustrating, so each week I will offer insight on another piece of the job search puzzle. This week, the all-important resume.
There is no denying that a strong resume is key to a successful job search, but it takes more than a professional-looking document to land a job today. Rather than your autobiography, your resume is a forward-facing marketing document that needs to position you for that next job. Employers are not looking for a jack-of-all-trades; they are looking for a specialist. You must target your resume to one specific job while addressing the needs of the employer. You have to grab their attention right away with a strong profile statement that shows how you can add value to their organization. To stand out from your competition show them — don’t tell them — how can you help them achieve their goals through quantified achievements. Your resume must also make it through the Applicant Tracking System filters, or else no human being will ever read your resume. Don’t think this is important? Read on…
A few months ago, I was hired by a successful 38-year-old man who had achieved an admirable level of success with one company, moving up the ranks during his 8-year tenure. As there was no more room for advancement at his current firm, he was looking to secure a position with a larger, more prestigious organization. He told me that he had sent out dozens of resumes over the last 6 months with no results. After a quick review of his resume, I could tell why. His resume focused on what he wanted out of a job — not what he offered an employer. He listed his job duties, but did not show any achievements or results he had delivered. Basically, his resume was boring. It did not entice an employer to bring him in to learn more about him. There were also several elements of his resume that were not ATS-compatible. That means he could have been the best candidate for the job, but if the online system did not flag his resume for review, the hiring manager would never see it. Fortunately, all this was easily fixable!
During our 90-minute our client intake session, I collected information on the many successful projects he had led and the reporting functionality he had developed that had saved the company tens of thousands of dollars. I highlighted these successes, and more, in a strong resume that showed what a valuable asset he was to the overall organization. He was thrilled with the new and improved resume and started sending it out right away. At my suggestion, he used his new resume to update his LinkedIn profile and also increased his face-to-face networking. I am happy to share that he had immediate results! Within 4 weeks, he landed a great job with a $35K increase in salary! A well-written resume made all the difference. I helped him articulate the value he adds to an organization, which also helped him ace the job interview.
If you are looking to turn around your unproductive job search, I am here to help!