With stiff competition for each job opening, how do you sell yourself on a resume to stand out in the crowd?
According to Glassdoor, “On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 résumés. Of these candidates, four to six will be called for an interview and only one will be offered a job.”
That means that hiring managers have the advantage when choosing the best candidate to interview and hire for a position.
When they’re faced with a stack of resumes to review, the criteria they use to decide who gets an interview is simple.
Resumes that include very specific skills, experience, and results that directly line up with the job description will get picked for an interview more often than a generic resume.
Here’s how you can sell yourself on a resume and improve your chances of being picked for an interview.
Start thinking like a marketer
Marketers use good storytelling to sell products and services to consumers. You should do the same thing when you write your resume.
Your skills, experience, and results are the product, and it’s your job to sell yourself by using a good story to tell the hiring manager why they should interview you.
Make it easy for a hiring manager to pick you for an interview by telling a story that matches the job they have open.
You don’t need to include everything you’ve ever done on your resume.
You only need to include the information that is relevant to the hiring manager.
Take an editor’s eye to your resume.
Is there anything that the hiring manager wouldn’t bother asking you about during an interview because it’s not relevant to the position they’re hiring for?
If your answer is yes, remove that information from your resume.
Tailoring your resume to meet the exact needs of the hiring manager will get you interviews faster.
Understand what the market (the hiring manager) wants
Hiring managers care about your answer to the question: What can you do for us?
Make it easy for them to call you for an interview by ensuring that every word on your resume helps answer that question.
For example, do not include the pet store job you had in high school on your resume if you’re applying for a financial analyst position.
It’s not relevant, and it just takes up space.
Focus the content of your resume on your skills, experience, and results
Copy and paste keywords directly from the job description to your resume. Don’t overthink this one.
If you read through the position description and you have what they’re asking for, copy the skill over into the specialties section on your resume.
Of course, you don’t want to stuff a million skills into this section, so be thoughtful about the ones you choose. Nine should be your max.
For example, let’s say you’re applying for a digital marketing position. The job description asks for social media advertising, email marketing, and SEO experience.
When you customize your resume for this position, don’t use “social media marketing” in your skills section.
Instead, use the exact language from the job description, “social media advertising.”
Include only relevant work experience
Only include the experience you have that aligns with the job description. The best way to edit your resume for what matters is to ask yourself if you will use the skill or experience in the job you’re applying for. If you will, include it. If you won’t, leave it off.
Your resume is not one size fits all, so you will need to write a tailored resume for every position you apply for.
It may seem tedious, but it’s the best way for you to maximize your chances of getting an interview.
The more relevant the content, the more likely it is for your resume to pass an applicant tracking system and grab the hiring manager’s attention.
Write results-based bullet points
Understand that responsibilities are not results.
Just because you know how to do something, it doesn’t mean that you did it well.
Listing responsibilities and not including the results is the number one mistake that I see people make on their resumes.
The bullet points that you include have to demonstrate your ability to fulfill your responsibilities well.
Companies typically care about two things: increasing revenue and saving money.
Not every single bullet point has to demonstrate your ability to do both of those things directly, but every bullet point should be able to tie back to those two goals in some way.
Let’s stick with the digital marketing job example.
Here’s the difference between the two types of bullet points.
Which bullet point stands out to you?
- Responsibilities-based bullet point: Managed marketing channels including email, display, search, and social advertising.
- Results-based bullet point: Created and executed digital marketing plans, driving a 50% increase in demand generation through email, display, search, and social advertising marketing channels.
If you start writing results-based bullet points, you will get more interviews.
Almost no one is doing this, so you will stand out in the crowd of resumes.
Test your resume out with a friend before you apply for the job
Once you’ve updated your resume to show that your skills, experience, and results make you the best candidate, test your resume.
See if it answers the question, “What can I do for this company?”
The best way to do that is to give a copy of your resume to a friend and see if they can guess what position you’re applying for.
If their response is close, then you’ve answered the question.
If it’s not, keep rewriting your bullet points until it becomes clear.
Remember that it just takes one perfect candidate to fill a position.
Use this guide when you write your next resume, and you may be surprised by how quickly you get an interview.
For help with how to sell yourself on your resume, let me review your resume.