In today’s competitive job market, more and more job seekers are turning to professional resume writers to help then stand out from the crowd. We’d love to write your resume for you. However, even if you don’t hire us, we still want you to land an interview at your dream job. The purpose of this article is to help you write the perfect professional resume – one that catches the attention of employers and makes them want to hire you.
Before being called in for an interview, the hiring manager needs to think that you’re the perfect candidate for the job. In a very big way, your resume is an extension of who you are as a professional. It details all of your relevant experiences, successes, accomplishments, and sets high expectations for the hiring manager. The perfect professional resume will clearly communicate who you are and what you have to offer. But how do you write such a resume? Follow these steps to attract the attention of employers and recruiters:
- Defining Objectives
The first thing you must do is define your objectives. This step is mostly introspective. Where do you want to work? What would your job title be? What motivates you to seek this position? What is the most important thing you can tell the employer?
While most job seekers try to prove that they have the right qualification, strategic job seekers convince the hiring manager there they’re the only perfect candidate for the job. Employers are not satisfied with mediocrity; they demand the best candidates and nothing else. When writing a resume, convince them that you’re that type of candidate – the cream of the crop. Recruiters receive a dizzying number of unqualified, spammy resumes. Show them that you’re everything they could ever want in a candidate by making your objectives clear.
But how can you make your objectives clear? By writing a targeted resume. Your resume needs to be targeted – set your sights on landing one to three specific jobs, and write your resume to those specific jobs. Never mind adding an objective section to your resume; objective sections are no longer used in professional resumes.
After placing an order, Resume Poets® clients are prompted to fill out a questionnaire. The first few questions in this questionnaire ask the client to select three positions that they want to target. We then write their resume targeting these three positions. We’ve used this technique for years, and it’s proven very successful for job seekers at every level.
By having a clear picture of where you want you go, the next step is analyzing how to get there.
- Take Inventory of Your Skills and Experiences
The next step is to take inventory of your own skills and experiences. What are you great at? What are you known for professionally? Are you certified or licensed? Where have you worked in the past? What were your greatest accomplishments at those places?
This step takes a lot or personal reflection and remembering, which can be difficult for professionals with years of work experience. We recommend that you chronicle your skills and experiences based on where you worked. That’ll help give structure to your thoughts and ideas.
Remember in Step 1 when you defined your objectives? Think about your skills and past experiences within the context of your objectives. For example, if your objective is a customer service job but you’ve worked as a paralegal for several years, think about how you served other attorneys and their clients as your customers. How did you demonstrate patience, attentiveness, and clear communication skills? After all, those are the skills of a successful customer service representative.
- Research Job Descriptions and Keywords
Recruiters and hiring managers are in the market for a specific type of job candidates, and they use keywords within the job description to target those candidates. While reviewing resumes, these recruiters and hiring managers search for these keywords – the process is called “skimming.” Those candidates who advertise the same skill set that recruiters are looking for get the most attention, and the most interviews.
Most candidates apply for jobs based solely on what they see in the job title. However, these job seekers often apply for hundreds of jobs without receiving a single call back. Don’t be one of those job seekers; your time be best spent taking a strategic, intentional approach to resume writing.
We suggest that you make a list of the keywords you see used in the job description. For example, here’s a list of common keywords you’ll see in job descriptions:
Example Keywords in a Job Description
marketing, sales proficiency, prospecting, planning, team building, training, management, identifying, communication, strategic, making, hiring, calling, driving, negotiation, helping, achieving, delivering, creating, organizational, accurate, management, implementing, performance, interpersonal, competitor
Note: the first keywords that appear in the job description are likely the most important. Include them prominently in your resume. In addition, knowing what keywords are used will also help to pass the all-important ATS test.
Using keywords found in the job description is a great way to pass the ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, screening process. Because most large companies uses an ATS system to quickly screen candidates, using keywords from the job description can increase your resume’s chances of being seen by an actual recruiter. Keep this in mind as you’re writing your own professional resume.
- Identifying Overlap
Now that you’ve written down your own skills, experiences, and accomplishments, it’s time to look for overlap. Create a list. Which keywords from the job description did you also write down? What do your two lists have in common? Which keywords did the job description prioritize? Which keywords are listed first? Which attributes does the job description require that you’re trying to develop?
- Make them say “Perfect!”
Now it’s time to write your resume’s content. “Content” is the first element in Resume Poets® “Three Elements of Effective Resume Writing.™” The list you created in Step 4 will be your guide. The word “content” refers to your resume’s syntax, or how you combine words and phrases to create powerful sentences. This is the most important part of your resume. The resume’s sequence and design are also important, but the content is what employers are truly interested in reading. Write your content in such a way that make the recruiter or hiring manager say, “Perfect!”
- Modify your Resume’s Sequence
“Sequence” is the third element in the “Three Elements of Effective Resume Writing.™” After you’ve written your resume’s content, you may need to modify the sequence of the various resume sections or the content within the resume sections. Proper sequence of your resume’s content is an important part of taking a strategic approach to resume writing. It shows hiring managers that you’re intentional and have easy-to-follow reasons why they should hire you.
Remember when we said that the job description’s most important keywords are usually at the top? Your most important qualifications and overlapping keywords should also be located at the top of your resume, and they should also lead each new resume section. The goal here is to make it easy for the hiring manager or recruiter to identify your value proposition – what you have to offer. If they can’t find on your resume why they should hire you, then your resume won’t make it.
- Make your Resume Look Great!
“Design” is the “Three Elements of Effective Resume Writing,™” but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Your resume always should look as good as it reads. The resume’s appearance attracts, but the content holds. Disregarding the resume’s design is like dressing down for an interview. You may have all the qualifications the employer is looking for, but if your presentation is bad then you’ve lost credibility with the hiring manager. A well designed, visually appealing resume shows organization and excellent communication skills – two qualities that employers demand. Consider using a professional resume template.
- Review, Review, Review!
Can you remove any paragraphs? Can you cut out any sentences? Is your grammar perfect? Could you say what you said in fewer words?
The main reason why resumes get rejected by the ATS system and by hiring managers is because they’re too generic. Your approach to resume writing must be intentional and strategic in order to succeed.
Still need help? That’s why we’re here. Select the resume type that’s best for you, or send us an email with your question. Our goal is to help you get hired at your top choice employer, and it all starts with the perfect resume.