A few months ago, I was looking to fill a few junior level positions (college grads, 3-5 years experience) for the firm I work for. We used a few recruiters to help find and screen some candidates. Most of the resumes we received were good (but not amazing). They had good formats and did a good job of explaining their work history. There were a few excellent resumes and, of course, there were a few bombs. The best resumes did a great job of using the right keywords, summarizing their job experience and highlighting their skills. I was surprised that there were a few resumes that were bombs (spelling errors, poor formats, etc.) and, needless to say, these resumes were put to the bottom of the pile.
If you’ve followed the first 3 lessons on resumes (see below for the links if you missed them), this lesson is where it all comes together. In today’s digital world of job search, content (the right content) is what will get your resume noticed and convince hiring managers to interview you. The right combination of keywords, skills (that are in demand) and experience (that demonstrates that you can do the job) properly written and placed will make for a killer resume. Easy to say, hard to do. The following post will help you create a great resume.
- Keywords – Do you really need keywords? Absolutely. Keywords help demonstrate your level of experience and accomplishments. Hiring managers will recognize industry specific keywords and this will help in getting an interview. Additionally, many hiring managers (or their recruiters) leverage keyword searches to find the best candidates for the job. The right keywords on your resume are a key part (no pun intended) of any great resume. Where to start?
- Review job listings for your title / position and make a list of keywords used
- Review resume samples for your industry for keywords
- Visit trade industry sites for your field
- The following links should help you find and leverage the key words that work best for your career and resume.
- Relevant Skills – You won’t get an interview if you don’t have relevant skills, even if you have relevant experience. Of course the skills depend on your field, but it’s worthwhile looking at examples in your industry and other industries. Where to start? Take a look at some of these links:
- Relevant Experience – This, of course, is your job experience that demonstrates that you have worked in similar roles. If, as an example, you are applying for a job as a bookkeeper, you would list out prior experience on highlight accounting and bookkeeping responsibilities in each of your jobs. The best approach is to:
- Create a draft document and list out your job experience by employer
- Segregate relevant jobs/responsibilities from other jobs/responsibilities
- Create a list of responsibilities by employer
- Create a list accomplishments by employer
- Take the information gathered above and create your relevant experience section.
I’m a big believer of “follow by example”, and it’s usually easier to follow something that’s been done before in order to create your document. The following links should help you create your relevant experience section:
- No Experience – What we haven’t covered is how to construct a resume for someone without experience. Maybe you’ve just graduated from school or are changing industries. This is, of course, more difficult and the focus should be on entry-level jobs. There are many things you can do:
- Include jobs you held while in school (even if not relevant)
- Include volunteer work you’ve done
- Include any internships
- Activities while in college (sports, clubs, etc.)
- Special training and certification
- Resources to get you started:
Don’t forget to read the other lessons in this series:
5 Steps to a Great Resume:
Good luck in your search.
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