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Creating a Better Resume to Get Noticed


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Problem

One comment we often receive, to the point where it’s a broken record, is “It’s so frustrating to be a job seeker these days.  I submit my resume to so many jobs and I rarely hear back.” or, “I’m sick of getting automated emails saying thanks for the application, but we’re pursuing other candidates.”.  The reality is that the resume submission process has changed and you need to play by the new rules to increase the likelihood of your resume getting in the hands or inbox of that seemingly elusive hiring Manager! 

Solution

Times have certainly changed!  But have no fear, you can still directly influence the chances of your resume getting the visibility it deserves!  Keep these four suggestions in mind:

Your resume must pass the “system test!”

  • We understand how the introduction and heavy utilization of ATS’ (i.e. applicant tracking systems) is not only a nuisance to the job seeker, but has added a layer of complexity to the overall job search process.  You should get an interview due to your skill set and history of successes, not based on your resume being highly ranked by a system.  However, it seems that ATS’ are here to stay, so you can’t afford not to take measures to “beat the system”.

Optimize, optimize, optimize. 

  • Resume optimization is a crucial action to take before you click the ‘Apply’ button!  Learn more about resume optimization tips via this great article from the Muse, which highlights the importance of easy formatting, quality content/key words that are relevant to the job description you’re applying for 2-3 times, and tools you can leverage for determining the right key words to use. 

Resume content/verbiage needs to be understand by a non-technical audience! 

  • The first person who reads your resume will most likely be a non-technical Recruiter, HR Representative, or a Talent Acquisition Specialist who knows little to nothing about your field/technology.  Keeping that in mind, use common lingo and messaging that they’d understand.  Use industry titles, spell out certifications and their acronym (Example: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)), and communicate responsibilities, technologies and successes in common language.

Check resume quality.

  • One of the best quality assurance measures you can take to evaluate whether your resume pasts the ‘Resume Is Understandable by Non-Technical Audience’ piece on your ‘Resume Checklist’ is to have a trusted friend, co-worker or Recruiter unknowledgeable in your field/skill set review to identify possible "confusions".

Your average resume reader is 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GONE. 

  • In recent years, studies have stated that the average resume reviewer is now only spending 6 seconds reviewing a resume before making a decision on whether they’ll be reaching out to schedule the next step or moving your resume to the ‘Junk’ or ‘Deleted’ folder.  With this shortened attention span, you need to have your resume immediately “tell your story,” painting the picture of who you are, what your focus areas include, your successes, and key differentiators!

Resumes need to POP! 

  • Creative and visually pleasing layouts are very important in today's market.  Ask a Recruiter for examples, look at examples online, and initially don't discard using a resume builder template like Live Careers.  If you make the investment to start with a strong format on the front end, you’ll be able to use that for a while! 
Next Steps
  • The reality is that applicant tracking systems aren’t going anywhere.  More and more companies are turning to these technologies to simplify their recruiting and hiring processes.  As job seekers, we must learn to adapt to avoid having our resumes skipped over, or worse, not even having our resumes make it to the reviewer’s inbox. 
  • Using a resume builder template to ensure your resume is tailored to the position at hand, adding specific keywords that are mentioned in the job posting, along with ensuring it’s presentable, enticing and understandable to both technical and non-technical audiences, are important pieces in navigating this ever-changing job landscape and ensuring success in landing an interview.


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About the author
MSSQLTips author Erica Woods Erica Woods has nearly a decade in the IT staffing world, an MBA, and is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

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