April 2016 — Make Your Resume Work for You: 5 Ways to Stand Out With Recruiters
Get Ready! It’s the Newest and Biggest Generation in the Workplace, Primed to Make a Difference You Can’t (and Don’t Want To) Ignore. This is the Fourth in a Series offering career advice to the Biggest Generation since The Baby Boom, by The Millennial Mentor. Also published in the District News.
The first in the series was Millennial Envy — an introduction to this unique generation.
The second was Networking – An Investment in Your Future.
The third was Welcome to the C-Suite.
Read the fifth in the series — Take Back Your Happy – 5 Steps
Make Your Resume Work for You: 5 Ways to Stand Out With Recruiters
By Robyn Tingley
Recruiters invest about one minute scanning each resume to see if a candidate is worth a closer look. Follow these five steps to make sure yours will stand out.
- Introduction – In addition to placing your name and contact information at the top of the page, all resumes need a strong introduction that summarizes you and your ambition. Write 2-3 sentences to outline what makes you unique. Include specific experiences and skills, as well as your career goal. For example: “Award-winning marketing specialist with 5 years of product promotion and merchandising experience. Enthusiastic trend spotter, fashion blogger, and social media connector who is highly effective at building relationships and operating in a fast-paced environment. Seeking new opportunities in the retail fashion industry.”
- Past Experience – Be specific in this section. Far too many people are vague, and make recruiters work too hard to figure out what candidates did in specific jobs. Start by listing the organization you worked for and your title. Then, explain what that organization does – don’t assume people know every company or group. Next, highlight your specific achievements in that role. Use quantifiable metrics where you can to explain the value you added. For example, if your work increased customer satisfaction, social media traffic, safety levels, or overall productivity in some way, say so. If you won awards or were part of any special projects, include them. If you are a student without formal work experience, include your extra-curricular involvement that demonstrates leadership, teamwork, and discipline.
- Education – Be clear about education dates and your degrees or certifications. If you graduated with honours or special distinctions, include those details. If something is in progress, state that. Don’t imply that you finished a degree when that is not the case, or that a certification is still active if it has expired.
- Optimize Your Linked In Profile – As of April 2016, online reports show that a whopping 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Treat this platform as an extension of your resume. A professional photograph is important. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good head shot. Most cell phones have excellent cameras – get a friend to take a photo that is appropriate for the job you are seeking. When listing past experience, go beyond adding just dates and company names. If you leave these areas blank, you are missing opportunities to further promote your skills and to add valuable keywords that will appear in recruiter searches. Add attachments, work samples and videos where appropriate to showcase how you add value. Finally, include a recommendation or two from colleagues and former managers to round out your profile.
- Proofread – Spelling and grammar count. Don’t rely on automated spell checks. Have a friend proof read your resume or online profile to make sure it reads well and to avoid embarrassing mistakes that could cost you a job.
Your resume is a reflection of you. Keep it up to date, complete, and accurate so that you’ll always be prepared for your next opportunity.
Robyn Tingley has worked internationally leading HR and Communications teams. She is the founder of GlassSKY.org, an organization dedicated to workplace diversity. She is a practitioner with the Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion, and the author of an upcoming book on Millennials.