Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice
Is your resume costing you the job of your dreams? It could be possible that your qualifications are going completely unnoticed, since employers spend only 5 to 7 seconds looking at each applicant's resume on average. What does this mean for you? Well, it could be the exact reason why you aren't getting even called in for interviews despite the fact you look like their dream candidate.
Your resume is so much more than just a static list of achievements and skills. Your resume doesn't just summarize who you are professionally and what you've done thus far; it reveals core aspects about you to your potential employers and if it isn't presented in a way that's going to grab their attention, you can kiss the job goodbye before you even send that application email.
If you're tired of never getting any call backs from jobs, here are a few innovative ways to improve your resume and start catching recruiters' eyes.
Just as we are advised to avoid a "wall of text" when writing online, the same is true for resumes. You shouldn't group together long-winded lists of bullet points to take up space on the page. You know what's worse than a resume with only a few key points on it? One that's overflowing with irrelevant experience and filler content. Recruiters are accustomed to this, so skip all the jargon and just get straight to the point.
Organize your resume in order from skills and experience that is most relevant to least, and don't include anything that won't actually help you with this job. Skip the generic "objective" header and make a personalized summary statement at the top that shows you are actually interested in the specific position and company you're applying to, followed by your strongest skills and educational requirements. Leave the miscellaneous stuff for last, or if you can, omit it altogether.
The design in relation to the format is also important. PDF's are becoming increasingly popular these days due to the polished look they give to people's resumes. If can be quite confusing on how to create a stylized pdf resume. There are several services online that transform your resume into a PDF like ResumeLift.com and Linkedin.com
Being honest shouldn't have to be considered innovative, but trust me, it's refreshing to come across an applicant who isn't trying to sweet talk their way to an interview. Don't kiss up to the company in your cover letter or resume objective, and don't write like a robot. Employers see so many people who "demonstrate superior critical and analytical skills" that they really just want to see someone who can show that in how they write and through their achievements rather than write it on a piece of paper.
Social media is a driving force in most industries today, so you should include relevant links on your resume for employers to check out. If you have a professional site that showcases your work and a LinkedIn profile, include that at the top of the page with your other contact info. This shows that you're up-to-date on technology and take enough initiative in your career to professionally market yourself.
Instead of the boring old bullet-point format, find a creative resume template with a timeline that is colorful and will jump out at employers in a see of black and white MS Word docs. Show employers where you've been at different stages of your professional life, what important skills and experience you gained and how.
Content is key on resume, but design also plays a large role. First and foremost, you should format your resume so that it places all of your best qualities and strongest qualifications at the forefront. Then, you should weed through all of the generic corporate phrasing and instead be honest. Make your resume a conversation piece by writing fluidly and professionally, but still sounding human. Write your skills out the way you would list them in an actual interview.
Also, try out a creative resume design template in order to catch an employer's eye. You may not get the first job you send it to, but a well-designed, simple and honest resume is far more likely to get you call backs than the standard format of yesteryear.