5 secrets to an impactful resume

Discover techniques for creating a captivating résumé and securing a job interview

Umnia Shahid January 24, 2016
Here's how you can revamp your resume so that it doesn't end up in the bin. PHOTO: STYLERESUMES

Want to land your dream job in 2016 but you haven’t heard any callbacks? Then you probably need to have a résumé that essentially cuts above the rest. As compiled from Men’s Health magazine, discover techniques for creating a captivating résumé and securing a job interview. Then it’s up to you to knock them dead with your flawless articulation!

Begin with key words

Every company’s application process is unique, but they’re all designed to search for specific keywords. “The more times you use these keywords, the more qualified you shall be assumed to be,” says Dan Goodman, president of the résumé writing service About Jobs. So, how do you know which terms to use? Easy breezy — comb the job description posted for the job and pull out any buzz words or phrases that are specific to the vocation you’re applying for. These are usually mentioned more than once. For instance, if you see the word “management” scattered throughout the description, make sure you play up your managerial skills in every section of your resume. By the way, you might be inclined to open up a thesaurus and start looking up synonyms in its place but please, hold the urge — overdoing it can backfire. This goes for software requirements, too. If the job demands that you be proficient in PhotoShop, then make sure you mention your competence of the programme under every relevant position you’ve held in the past, not just your current one. 

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Address time gaps

Repeat after me — I shall not skip over the time I spent in between jobs. You might not realise but doing so might end up penalising you in the criteria ratings, suggests Goodman. Employers prefer hiring staff that thrives on consistency, and extended, unexplained time gaps between jobs signify truancy and a lack of commitment. Just as you would list your past jobs in reverse chronological order, include your time gaps. For instance, mention in there that the few months or so that you were on a sabbatical, you were attending to urgent family matters; now fully resolved. If you switched careers for a bit, put it in the best possible way (think: seized entrepreneurial opportunities to do X, Y, and Z). If you gained any relevant skills during this time, like financial monitoring or working as an editor, add them in. But if they aren’t relevant, don’t force them, Goodman recommends. 

Make a big promise, prove you can deliver

Keep in mind; you have about six seconds to catch the hiring manager’s eye, according to research. Since the first quarter-page of your résumé is the prime area of interest, use it to make what Goodman calls a “value proposition.” Describe how you can give hiring managers exactly what they want, and provide evidence that you’ve done it before. Is the company looking for a sales associate with brilliant client relationships? Answer their call right off the bat and make sure to dive into specifics, such as a particular award or opportunity you scored for outstanding business dealings. In the past, you may have saved this info for your cover letter. But if you want to make an impact right away, set yourself apart from the other candidates, mention it in a sentence or two on your resume, as well. Just make sure you keep the language short, straightforward and easy to read. 

High point your accomplishments

You’ve publicised your value already but now, you need to back it all up. “The first thing an employer is looking for is a proven performer,” says Goodman, who has penned résumés for some of the top-level executives globally. Do more than just write up a job description underneath each of your past roles. Make sure to pinpoint your strengths. Goodman recommends you do this in two to four bullet points — no more. It’s easy to seem like you’re trying too hard, so be cautious — you never ever want to give an impression of that. Be as specific as possible though, especially when it comes to using metrics. There’s a big difference between a manager who hits 100 % of a quota, and a guy who hits 137 %, Goodman says. 

Let your numbers (or boss) brag for you

Résumés are a lot like filling out performance evaluations, Goodman explains. You’re basically specifying why you’re good at this job and how you achieved goals and standards set by higher-ups and important people. Tap your last few evaluations for any solid numbers you forgot to include on your résumé. Or, even better — have your current or former boss (hopefully, you’re on good terms with them!) write you a rave review or recommendation. Just make sure you only provide a recommendation letter from a person you would be comfortable with the hiring manager calling. “On one CFO’s résumé, for example, we included a powerful quote from his CEO saying, ‘Best financial management I’ve had in 30 years’,” Goodman says. That speaks as well as any number.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th,  2016.

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