According to a study, 79% of job applicants get rejected because of their resumes. You only get one chance to create a first impression, and sometimes this first impression can be the difference between getting a job and being rejected.
Your resume is your first touchpoint with a potential employer. It’s the change to take over your career path. It tells an employer if you are the ideal person to help them achieve their goals.
Recruiters and employers receive thousands of applications; thus, they only spend at least 6 seconds on your resume. Thus, creating a resume that can motivate an employer to spend longer time on your resume and eventually invite you for an interview is a critical skill every job seeker should master.
So, how can you draft such a resume? How can you choose your career trajectory and not let the trajectory choose you? Read on to find out!
1. Ensure The Resume Is Highly Optimized For Keywords
Think of the last time you wanted to buy shaving cream; what words did you type on the search engine? Keywords refer to phrases and words that potential employers use on a job posting matching your skills and qualification. The easiest way to determine the keywords is to review the job posting that you are interested in. The job posting will use specific words to describe the candidates’ skills, qualifications, competence, industry, and personality required.
For instance, if you are an accountant and are looking for an accounting job, the common keywords in accounting include taxes, tax returns, tax filing, audit, compliance, payroll, internal audit, and accounting software, among others.Similarly, suppose you are looking for a job as a billing officer. In that case, some common keywords in the job posting can be coding, compliance, claims officer, accounts receivable management, bad debts, provision for bad debts, among others.
Another example related to industry-specific, suppose you are applying for a job in a consumer non-durable company, such as Procter and Gamble or Samsung. You may need to include your trajectory in this industry, or at least your interest in a career path in consumer non-durables.
By the way, you can find more about the career path in this specific industry in this article about consumer non-durables career path.Also, you can use software like SEMRUSH and WordStream to conduct keyword research for your resume.
Ensure that you read the job requirements and qualifications thoroughly to identify the keywords and use them on your resume after placing them. Remember only to include the skills and qualifications you have not lying on your resume, as this can tarnish your brand. Remember, like other content, the recommended keyword density on a resume should be 2-2.5%. Thus, to avoid keyword stuffing, strive to use the target keywords two or three times in every 100 words.
2. Include The Most Relevant Skills And Experience Only
Remember, your resume is not an outline of your job and professional experience but a marketing tool that should give an employer a reason to call you for an interview.
Thus, ensure that everything appearing on the resume puts you a step closer to the interview. Listing all jobs you have done in the past can be detrimental in two ways:
- It might be interpreted to mean you don’t stay in a job.
- It doesn’t build up your career progress.
Thus, stick to listing the jobs, skills, qualifications, and experience that built your career progression. For instance, if you are an accountant and held manual cashier jobs during your campus days, you can include under volunteer and other jobs held as this built your accounting experience. Also, the same case if you’re applying to Coca-Cola. You have to talk about consumer non-durable experience or the interest you have in working in the beverage industry.Ensure that your resume lists the skills, experience, and accomplishments relevant to the job posting.
3. Use Figures And Numbers To Quantify Your Accomplishment
How many times have you seen this phrase on a resume?
‘Result-drive professional with a progressive career in marketing’
Most likely, you have seen it a million times.What if you could quantify the phrase with numbers, percentages, or figures?Remember, every recruiter is interested in two things on your resume; what you can do and how to help the organization. Simply put, the value proposition is what every potential employer looks for in a candidate. You might have an MBA in marketing, but you might not get shortlisted unless you convince the employer how the MBA can add value to their business.
Adding numbers is a great way to communicate your value proposition and prove that you are the right person for the job. Thus, on your job history, look out for areas quantified in figures and add the figures. For instance, if you are an accountant, and you have designed a system that improves debt collection, you can quantify such an accomplishment in two ways:
- Reduced the bad debts by 22% from $4,500 to $ 3,500.
- Increased debtor’s collection by 20% from $ 1,000 to $ 1,200.
The trick is to identify the numbers that are crucial to your success and quantify them.
For instance, if you are a marketer, the numbers that matter are sales revenue, new customers, customer retention rate, and new referral. For a debt manager, the numbers that matter can be the number of bad debts written off recovered and the reduction in bad debts written off.
Remember, recruiters, hiring managers, and potential employers are interested in results more than your qualification. Thus, create a resume that can stand out by adding numbers that demonstrate the value you can add to an employer’s business.
4. Address The Needs Of The Employer
The easiest way to get a job is to create a resume that talks more about the employer’s requirements and more about your accomplishments, skills, expectations, or qualifications. Employers want someone who can fit in and start performing from their first day. Thus, besides the skills and qualifications, they want to see your personality, attitude towards work, cultural inclusion, and other soft skills that make great employees.
So, how do you tailor a resume for each employer?
Start by acknowledging it takes time and other resources to customize a resume to meet the requirements of every employer. However, it is a critical step in job search since it increases the number of interview invitations.Thus, start by reviewing the job application and identifying the required skills, qualifications, and number of experience? Do you meet at least 80% of these requirements? If you meet the required skills and qualifications, ensure these skills are clearly outlined on your resume.
Other than the skills and qualifications, other soft skills can determine your success. Thus, head to the employer’s website or social media handles to identify what the company stands for. Identify their vision statement, mission statement, core values, strategic objectives, and other critical elements in the organization, and include these elements on your resume. For instance, if the company is passionate about service to humanity, or environmental conversation, then ensure that these appear on your resume.
Further, If the company has zero tolerance towards corruption and bribery, ensure that you mention on your resume that you have integrity and zero tolerance towards corruption.Customizing a resume to each employer takes time; thus, only apply for jobs that you are passionate about. Also, ensure that you apply for jobs that you are qualified and have the required skills.
Other tips for writing a winning resume include:
- Keep it short; ensure your resume is not more than three pages.
- Use action language.
- Use simple format, font size, and minimize graphics.
- Use simple language and avoid jargon.
It’s time to own your career trajectory. Laying out a good resume is a significant step to do that. A resume is the most critical element in getting shortlisted, and the labor market is one of the most competitive sectors in any economy. Thus, you increase your odds of being shortlisted for your dream job by drafting a great resume.