With unemployment rising, increasing numbers of applicants for each
job, and recruiters struggling to keep up, it can sometimes feel as
though you’re sending your resume into a black hole. You send hundreds
of applications and never hear back - and what makes it worse is that
you know you are qualified for the jobs.
But here’s the thing … if your resume is like most of the resumes I
see, it’s not doing you any favors. Here are 10 ways you can improve
your resume and increase your hit rate:
1. Make it about action and impact: Don’t take up
more than 10-15% of your resume describing job responsibilities - as an
employer, I don’t care what you were supposed to do, I care what impact
you made. Show me!
2. Spice it up with references: When you buy a
product - especially online, don’t you like to see testimonials or
customer reviews? You can apply the same principle to your resume. Pull
a couple of glowing quotes from LinkedIn, your performance reviews or
customer ‘thank you’ letters and put them in a prominent place on your
3. Understand your unique value: Ask people who
know you and those who have worked with you, what makes you especially
good at what you do. Look back over your career for common themes. And
most importantly, understand what your target audience (employers) are
4. Invite them to go online: If you know you have
established a good online presence (and if you haven’t, you need to get
to work now!) add the line ‘Feel free to google me for more
information.’ This conveys confidence and at least some of your
potential employers will take you up on it.
5. Replace the objective with a value summary:
Don’t tell me what you want out of your next job, tell me what you’ll
do for me. Start with the headline ‘How I will add value…”
6. Consider a “philosophy” section: Tell employers
how you approach your work. For example, a sales person might say “I
never do the ‘hard sell’ - instead I build relationships, I understand
the customer’s needs, and I use that knowledge and the trust I’ve
built, to turn prospects into long-term clients.” An admin assistant
might say “I am so organized that I’ll know what you need before you
7. Add some personality: Use words that sound like
you, not words you read on someone else’s resume. Everyone is
‘results-oriented’ and ‘accomplished’ according to their resumes, but
do they ever really describe themselves that way?
These are just 7 ways that you can bring some life to your resume,
and create a document that grabs attention instead of blending in with
all the others. For more tips, feel free to sign up for my free resume writing course.
And if you have other ways to spice up a resume, please take a moment to share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!