Competition…it is the primary issue in the modern job market. For many people it is almost a given that the job they seek will become “theirs” if they get the one-on-one interview, but this may not happen if they have a “lackluster” resume. So, how do you go about enhancing or improving a resume to the point where it stands apart and works super competitively? The following five steps are usually very good for boosting the performance of even a very simple and “slim” resume in terms of experience or work history.
• Have a goal and target your resume – You may be told that you can write the resume just one time, pay for a good printer to make some lovely copies and then just use this document until you get a new job (and are forced to update the different line items, etc). This is so wrong that it is almost tragic! You should ALWAYS structure your resume for the specific job in question. For example, the leadership experience you had in college, extracurricular activities, and previous jobs mean nothing if the job you are applying for specifically requests that you are a top-notch team player. So, be sure that you find the examples from your history in which team playing was an emphasis, and use those highlights in the resume.
• Cite the relevant resume accomplishments – Under no circumstances should a resume be a list of all the “great things” you feel that you have done. Instead, identify things that are clear accomplishments and include them only if they are relevant to the job you hope to win.
• Create a marketing statement – By no means does the modern resume have to be a bullet point outline of your accomplishments alone. You can feel free to insert a “mission” or “objective” statement as one of the first items to appear in the document. This gives you an edge over the competition by providing potential employers with a very direct and personalized statement about your professional goals, but in a way targeted to appeal to them.
• Consider the volume – Don’t ever be vague about experiences or achievements and feel free to give “numbers”. If you spend six summers at a leadership camp then don’t say that you have leadership experience from several summers…say that you spent six consecutive years, etc.
• Don’t use a passive voice – Read your resume and see if there are a lot of “action” words. Though you don’t want too many descriptive words, be sure that you are described in terms of your proactive and active behaviours as this really boosts the readability of the resume.