5 Ways to Improve Your Resume Effectiveness

I am Chris Sotomayor and I want to talk to you, about how you can make your resume a much more effective self-marketing tool. So I've been working with hundreds of clients over the past six months, and when I talked to them and ask them what one of the main challenges that you're having as you conduct your job search, one of the biggest things that I keep hearing is people feel very frustrated because they're sending out a large number of resumes and they're not getting any response. And they're very puzzled, and they feel frustrated because they can't figure out what's going wrong.

Resume Frustrations

So, has this happened to you? Have you sent out dozens, if sometimes not hundreds of resumes and you haven't heard any response from any employers? Have you been targeting certain roles, and when you applied for those roles, you got the feedback that it just wasn't the right fit? Have you even been considered for roles, but then you were passed over? Somebody might have internally referred your resume, but somehow the hiring manager passed you by? There are a number of reasons why you might be having some challenges getting your resume into certain companies and being able to get invited for an interview. But I'd like to talk to you about some things you can do that are going to help you be a much more effective candidate and are going to help you have a much greater chance of sending in a resume and then being invited to interview.

Length - Maximum 2 Pages

So, the first thing I want to talk to you about is length. Some of the clients that I work with, they have been working for twenty-five, thirty years, and they haven't really had to apply for a job for a long time. And when they do try to put together their resume, what they end up doing is putting together a very lengthy biography. But this is actually going to work against you. For the most part, talent acquisition professionals, recruiters, they’re very pressed for time. They have to work through a very large volume of applicants in a very short period of time. I would say that because of that, the maximum length you ever want to consider for your resume would be two pages and actually, ideally, even with twenty-five or thirty years of experience, if you could get all of your relevant experience onto one page, there's no reason not to do that. You're only giving yourself a greater chance of being ignored the longer your resume is.

Achievements Not Job Descriptions

Number two: A lot of the clients that I've spoken with when I review their resumes, they give me a resume that reads more like their job description. But what you want to do is avoid writing your resume as if it was a job description of what your responsibilities were in your previous role. Rather, what you want to do with your resume is you want to emphasize the key results, the key accomplishments that you were able to achieve, in any given role that you've had in your experience and you really need to go further than that.

Quantify

And that leads me to point three. For those results that you were able to achieve, you need to quantify it. For every single bullet point - and at the very least, ninety percent of the bullet points on your resume, need to be quantified statements of achievement. So, for example, if you grew sales in your territory by fifty percent year on year, if you were able to add two hundred accounts, if you are able to improve on a process and cut the cost by twenty five percent, if you were able to write twenty thousand lines of code, if you were able to debug and eliminate four hundred mistakes, if you were able to improve the time it took to submit an expense report by fifteen minutes and it normally only takes thirty minutes and you cut it in half because of your expertise with user interface design, whatever it is that you've done, there are ways to quantify your achievement. And that's what you need to do on every one of your bullets or at the very least, ninety percent, quantify the results that you are able to achieve.

Action Verbs Not Weasel Words

The fourth thing that you need to do is you need to use action verbs. When you describe what you did, you want to avoid using weasel words: contributed to, part of the team, responsible for, those kinds of words really are ambiguous about what you did. It's better if you can use strong action verbs: achieved, cut, led, grew. There are certain words that just have a lot more impact on a reader and are going to more clearly demonstrate the responsibilities that you had and the results they were able to get.

Key Word Optimization

And then finally, the fifth thing that I would recommend is you need to be wary of the fact that particularly for any employer that's got a strong brand, when they put a job posting in public, it's not unusual for them to receive hundreds, if not sometimes thousands of applications for one job posting. And so, it actually becomes the role of the talent acquisition team to weed out the vast majority of applicants who may not have the relevant skills. So, it's really important that you be able to emphasize key words, the key skills that you have that they're looking for, the industry keywords that show that you're an insider, and the relevant keywords for the role and the responsibilities that you had. All that can be done by reviewing the job description carefully, reading what they're looking for, looking at a few other job descriptions that may be similar to that job description, pulling out some commonalities and making certain that your resume reflects those keywords both in your skills and in the achievements that you're quantifying and that you're expressing with those strong action verbs.

I'm Here To Help

If you make those five changes, you're going to have a dramatically greater chance of when you send your resume in, of you actually getting a call and having a schedule for an interview. So, I'd like you to think about making those changes. Of course, if you can do it on your own, great. But if that seems a little challenging for you, if you're looking for some help, that's what I do every single day. I help my clients advanced their career. So please don't hesitate to reach out to me if there's something I can be doing to help you advance your career. So, thank you for listening. If you have some additional comments or suggestions, please add them to the comments below.

What's Your Greatest Job Search Frustration?

And I want to leave you with this challenge. What has been your greatest challenge in your job search? What are the most frustrating aspects of it? And what have you been doing to try to correct that? Thanks, and I'll see you next time.

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