A new CareerBuilder survey recently advised that 22% of workers are planning to change jobs in 2017. That number skyrockets to 35% if you’re a millennial (ages 18 to 34). With January and February being two of the busiest months of job searching, it’s imperative that job seekers know the ins and outs of how to get their resume into the “yes” pile rather than tossed out in the trash.
Resumes are reviewed today for approximately 5-7 seconds, and more than 72% of companies pull out the brakes by using applicant tracking systems (ATS), nifty software that scans the resume to see if it has the magical number of keywords to pass onto the next level. With a diminished ability to get seen and noticed, you want to make sure your resume is a strategic marketing document that breathes a sigh of fresh air into who you are and the value you can leverage at an organization. Here are 4 things to do to get your resume on the fast-track to the “yes” pile in 2017:
1. A Specific Branding Statement Not a General Job Title
Submitting a resume today without a branding statement is a sure way to get your resume thrown into the “No” pile immediately. A branding statement on your resume is a tagline into who you are beyond just your job title. Think of it like the perfect title to your very own career novel. Just as books gain traction for a savvy book title, your branding statement must be clear on your resume and give that “Oh la la” feel for the reader. Instead of just listing yourself as a “Business Development Manager” (read: boring!), include a line beneath that hinges on your strongest areas of concentration such as “Driving Transformational Leadership Through Dynamic Operations & Relationship Management.” As operations and relationship management formulate the branding of the resume, the onus is now on you to provide factual support of those items in the resume. Don’t leave the reader in the dark.
2. A Professional Summary Not an Objective
Objectives are old news in today’s resumes and if you’re still using one, stop, do not pass go, and do not collect $200. Your objective is to find a job, but your professional summary should resonate like the preview to the main feature in the movies. Enticing and alluring. Create a professional summary about you includes some of your key character traits with additional keywords that match the job description. Attract the reader with some of your biggest and proudest moments in your career that make the reader want to continue reading on and continue learning more. Avoid using dull, repetitive, and overused language that fails to provide examples in your resume. If you still want to refer to yourself as “results-driven,” don’t skimp on the proof of those results you drove. A resume without numbers is going to fall short of the proof necessary. Be prepared to back up your professional summary with the necessary examples in your professional experience section beyond just your job responsibilities.
3. Industry-Specific Keywords Not Soft Skills
It’s also a known fact that in today’s job search process, inputting the right keywords matters more than ever. Gone are the days of those “soft skills” like “Strong Communication Skills” or “Microsoft Word.” Today, companies want to know that you are in the “know” of the industry commonplace words. Buzz phrases such as “Strategic Planning & Execution,” “Business Development,” and “Relationship Building” are now in the wheelhouse of employers’ minds and they must be in your resume.
If you’re unsure of which keywords are the best ones to use, look to the job description and highlight the words that pop out to you. Those same words should be present in your resume.
Key Tip: Remember, your keywords should be industry specific. If you’re searching for a project management role, review multiple job postings for project manager jobs. You will begin to see a common theme of words most often used in the postings.
4. More Results Not Just Responsibilities
Many job seekers today make the mistake of creating a resume that’s simply a boring synopsis of their work history. Job functions and responsibilities are important, but what differentiates the mediocre candidate from the stellar candidate is providing key results that support why the candidate is the better pick! Focus on key projects you’ve undertook (and possibly led), key contributions you’ve made to the company as a result of your savvy leadership or innovative solutions, as well as big accomplishments that sell you as the superstar candidate you are. But remember, be specific about results. Don’t just write things such as “Drove revenue growth.” Instead, include measurable amounts that show just how much your awesome work has effectuated growth within the company, i.e. “Drove $50M revenue growth in 2016 resulting in 25% increased efficiency and productivity.”
Keep in mind that getting your resume into the “Yes” pile is merely one step in the job search process. Stay abreast on networking skills, interview tips, and adequately market yourself through your LinkedIn profile.
Wendi Weiner is an attorney, 4X certified executive resume writer, and career industry leader who has been revered as the #1 Resume Expert and award-winning career blogger. She's a Forbes Career Coach, board member for The National Resume Writers’ Association, and she’s been featured in more than 20 news sources and online publications. Incorporating her legal mind with the highest certifications in the industry has allowed Wendi to serve as a top published authority in resume writing, LinkedIn profiles, and job search strategies. Wendi is the owner of The Writing Guru, a top resume services firm dedicated to helping executives and senior managers rise to the next level in their careers.