There has been much written on resumes and what is needed to have an effective one. I wanted to write a different synopsis from the standpoint of a career coach. From my experience as a job seeker as well as a career coach I see six basic characteristics of resumes that get results. Results in the since of securing interviews, informational sessions, invites to visit an organization, lunch meetings, or any kind of direct contact with a prospective employer. So let’s review the 6 characteristics.
1. Well Written & Organized Strategically
Your document must have correct grammar, no spelling errors and organized in a way that will get the reader’s attention immediately. There must also be clear distinctions between the various areas on your resume. We all know that resumes are scanned quickly by employers and recruiters, so it’s imperative to strategically place information in a way that will grab their attention and encourage them to read further.
2. Targeted To Each Position
There is no such thing as a “general” resume that you send to each job that you apply for. With companies utilizing applicant tracking systems to scan resumes for key words and relevant information, you must target your resume for each position that you apply for. You can accomplish this by first going to the “required qualifications” section within the job description you are interested in applying for and strategically adding the required info throughout your resume. Don’t just add the info so it can get around the applicant tracking system, but make sure you are qualified for the job. You should not apply for jobs where you don’t possess most of the required qualifications chances are you won’t receive a call. Be sure to include relevant industry related skills you have as well, preferably at the top of your document under your career profile, so it’s easy for the reader to spot. I know it’s a lot easier to send out a “general” resume, but if you take the time to make sure that your document is targeted to each position, you will see more results.
3. Branded- What Do You Personally Bring To An Organization
Your resume must include your “brand”. When writing your resume you must start with a clear idea of the skills that you want to highlight to prospective employers. The employer should get a really good understanding of what you will personally bring to their organization after reviewing your resume. Think about the skills you believe that you are really good at and highlight them throughout your resume. This “brand” should be clear everywhere rather in person, on your resume, or social media. The goal is for people rather to associate you with the “brand” that you have created.
4. Include Practical Experience
It’s not enough to just have the required education to obtain employment. Employers want to see practical relevant experience on resumes. I have worked with many clients who believed that since they had completed their education, they were somehow assured employment in their field of choice. Include internships, apprenticeship programs, personal and freelance experience, related projects, and organizations you are active in that are relevant to the particular job you are applying to. This will show the reader that you are passionate about your field of choice and that you are actively engaged. It also shows that you have real world experience that is valuable to any organization.
5. Results Oriented
Often times I review resumes that I consider being “task oriented”. Under each experience there are usually lists that outline general tasks that any person in that position would normally do. Using words like “responsible for” or “assisted”, don’t tell the reader that you can produce results. Instead choose to display results and accomplishments, this will display to the reader that you are a high achiever as opposed to an employee who does the bare minimum on the job. Bold your accomplishments and achievements so it’s easy for the employer to see it. Display that you can produce positive measureable results and you will be more marketable to an organization.
6. Gets In Front Of Hiring Managers
You can have a well written and organized resume that highlights your skills and perfectly, but if it does not get in front of a hiring manager then it serves no purpose. Your resume works in concert with your actions. You must be visible and active in order to get your document reviewed by those responsible for hiring. Networking must become a regular part of your activities even when you are not looking for a job. Contact people in your personal network, join organizations, become active on LinkedIn and social media, and network as much as you can in order to get your document in the hands of the person responsible for hiring.