The 3 Most Important Things to Include on Your Resume
If you want to make sure your resume is getting the attention it deserves, it needs a tune-up every so often. Most important is learning how to do that and 3 critical things to include. Seasoned author and contributor Robin Madell sums it up for you in her article below.
When was the last time you updated your resume? If too much time has passed since you gave your resume a once-over, it is probably time to revisit it. Many factors have changed the game in the world of job searching over the last few years, one of the most significant of which is the fact that so much of the process is now conducted online. If you don't rework your resume to match the current demands of recruiters and employers who seek candidates almost exclusively online now, then you'll likely be trumped by other candidates who understand the new reality for job search.
While retooling your resume may sound intimidating, it doesn't have to be as hard as you think. A smart strategy for your revision process is to stay focused on the three areas that matter most to hiring managers: incorporating keywords, proving your value through data and using specific language targeted at each job to which you apply:
A recent Jobvite study showed that the vast majority (92 percent) of recruiters hunt for candidates online using social media. This means that anything you can do to make your resume stand out from the competition online will serve your job search well. Keywords are simply words or word combinations that people type into search engines to find matches for what they want on the internet. Employers and recruiters searching for candidates look for resumes that contain keywords that are relevant to the positions they need to fill. This means your keywords should include the commonly used job title for the position you want as well as your key skills and industry. When you include this information in your resume, it makes it easier for hiring managers to find you online. When you're resume is posted on a website, the site will also have better search engine optimization for your target audience if you include appropriate keywords.
Anyone can add a goal that they accomplished to their resume. But to really reveal impact and show the value you could potentially bring to an organization, you need to quantify your achievements. This simply means including data and metrics whenever possible on your resume. For example, if you spearheaded a project, don't just list the project – describe the impact of the project using numbers. Did you oversee a team of eight people? Did it result in 100 additional sales? Did it increase your department's profits by 50 percent? If you have impressive numbers that can help hiring managers better understand how your successes impacted organizations where you've worked, add them to your resume. If possible, try not to use general terms like "tripled" or "decreased spending" unless you can back them up with solid figures. If there are confidentiality issues with including numbers in your resume, consider adding an overall range to avoid specifics yet still show employers the rough numerical impact you made.
A Customized Message
A decade ago, it was standard practice to have a single resume that you'd send out to every employer when applying for jobs. That was then, this is now. With the increased competition from online job search comes greater need to tailor your message to each job opening you want to pursue. A sure way to instantly lose credibility with an employer is to send out a regurgitated resume and cover letter that clearly is generic rather than aimed at their organization. Instead, review the company's website and job description carefully before deciding which points and job experiences to highlight in your application materials for that one position. Use your resume and cover letter as a forum to respond to the exact needs that the hiring manager describes in the job ad – explaining how your exact background and skill set can help them reach their goals – and you'll stand out head and shoulders from those who take the lazier approach.
It may not be easy to compete in today's online job search environment, but it can be simple if you stay focused on revising your resume to reflect what's most important to recruiters and employers today. When you know how to strategically use job-related keywords, include specific data and metrics to quantify your impact, and customize each resume you send out with language that responds to the hiring manager's biggest needs, you'll be well on your way to landing your next opportunity.