These 15 Resume Hacks Will Help You Land Any Job
Updated: Oct 1
We all know how daunting it is to sit down and actually write your resume. Even if you’re incredibly talented and accomplished, it’s hard to think of how you’re going to list your experiences without feeling like a showoff or facing your insecurities on paper. You may think you can get away with putting it off if you’re currently employed, but today’s reality is such that you really need to have an updated, polished resume ready to go in case your next adventure beckons.
As most of you know, I’m a huge advocate of always having your feelers out there for something better. You should always keep your options open and force yourself to look forward instead of getting too comfortable and falling asleep on your career.
Here are some crucial tips for making the most out of your resume.
1. Know Your Strengths!
Don’t be afraid to show off your skills. Data shows that candidates who display at least 5 distinct, specific skills have a higher likelihood of being selected by top employers.
2. Communicate Clearly and Concisely
Make sure to properly explain your career history in a way that highlights your success in your previous positions without overwhelming the reader with too many words. Your resume will most likely only get 6 to 25 seconds of a hiring manager’s time on the initial read. Guide their eyes strategically.
3. Get Personal!
Just a quick one-liner about who you are and where you’re going can shed some critical light on your character and pull the reader in. No need for a long personal essay, but having your own voice on the page in a small way can go a long way.
4. Understand The Roadmap To Success
Be realistic about the path to your dream job. Success is not achieved overnight. Be ready to work your way up, but at the same time be smart about it and know which steps drive you closer to your goal and which distract or derail you. AKA: highlight your most marketable skills and experiences and know what sells for what positions.
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5. Take Advantage of Overlapping Skills
The next step in your career might not be as linear as expected — and that’s kind of awesome! Be ready to discover that your experiences until now may have unexpectedly prepared you for an exciting adventure you didn’t know was a great fit for you.
6. Make It Clear What You Want Your Next Role To Be
If you’re lucky enough to know what you love and what you’re good at — don’t risk losing sight of that or settling for something you feel is lesser. Be title specific! Employers should not be guessing what your objectives are.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things
If you have the skills and can convince someone to give you the chance — try it out! It just might be your best idea yet! You might be surprised once your put it all on paper what diverse and in-demand skills you may have.
8. Cut the Sh*t !
AKA: Delete everything unnecessary. Remember that a concise resume is an ideal resume. Don’t waste the 6 to 25 seconds you have of an employer’s time with your summer server job while you were studying for that electrical engineering degree. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve seen this. It’s better to have a crisper resume with less positions on it, than a resume full of distractions with irrelevant positions.
9. Words Matter!
Avoid personal pronouns i.e. words like “I” and “me”. These words constitute a historically informal tone and frankly become a waste of precious space, unnecessarily cluttering the page.
10. Edit, Edit, Edit!
Silly mistakes are embarrassing and easily avoidable. Remember that this piece of paper is your first impression to potential employers. They really don’t know that you’re the coolest, most exciting candidate they’ve yet to meet (which of course, you are).
Don’t risk them clicking “next” or throwing your resume into the garbage because of a grammar or spelling mistake. It simply shows carelessness, which is something no one wants on their work team no matter the industry. Make sure to have someone look it over with fresh eyes.
11. Don’t Let Your Career Stagnate
Excessive job-hopping may is an obvious no-no but diversity of experience (working with different people in distinct working environments) helps you grow. This also works against the likelihood of waking up at a boring job that hasn’t challenged you for the last 20 years or so.
Make sure your resume isn’t a list of one of two jobs by the time you’re in your thirties. For those of you still think that staying in the same company for your whole career is a noble goal or the industry standard, it’s time to realize how much times have changed. This was certainly the case for our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, but today diversity of experiences and career growth is more important than tenure.
12. Highlight Accomplishments, Not Just Positions
Be sure to showcase your accomplishments in each of your positions rather than just describing the job. Employers want to know what sets you apart from all the others who had a similar position at various companies in the field. They don’t just want to see that you held similar jobs, they want to see how you thrived in those positions.
Employers want you to exceed their expectations, not simply meet the basic requirements — because I can assure you many others will meet the basic requirements.
Ask yourself: “What do I add to this position? Why should they invest in me?”
Quantify your accomplishments to quantify your value to companies, again — be specific!
13. State The Competition
Accomplishments are not fully understood out of context.
What sounds better? “Won XYZ Corporation’s entrepreneurship award” or “Won XZY Corporation’s entrepreneurship award for excellence (100+ competitors) competing for seed funding”.
Obviously, the second one sounds more impressive and effectively communicated the significance of the accomplishment since you can’t rely on a hiring manager looking up your awards.
14. Stay Loyal to Your Brand
Like all things for sale, your resume should have a brand.
Tie your experiences together into one brand to make what you’re selling clear. You may have experience in several different types of positions that might not seem very closely related. Nevertheless, it’s important to highlight the continuities and overlapping skills of these experiences to ultimately support your candidacy for your goal position.
Your brand should be the take away from the resume. “John is an experienced Full Stack Developer with 10+ years of experience in software engineering.”
In this case, John would be sure that he highlights his past skills and experiences that would be ideal for a Full Stack Developer position, even if some experiences were in different fields.
If he wanted to transition to let’s say, project management he could rewrite the same resume to pitch that brand. This would require him to rebrand the descriptions of his previous positions to highlight the skills and strengths he has acquired throughout his career to make him an excellent candidate for project management.
15. Remember The Purpose of a Resume!
So many people seem to lose sight of the purpose of a resume.
The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview... NOT to get you a job!
I cannot stress this enough. Don’t pour everything you’ve got onto that resume. Keep it brief and inviting. Make it the impetus for starting a conversation.
Once you get to your interview, it’s your time to shine and explain all of the things you couldn’t fit onto the page (if relevant).
This article first appeared on Medium.
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