The job market is a seller’s market, which means that hiring managers have the advantage when it comes to choosing the best person to interview and hire for a position.
If you were selling your home, and you had 257 offers to choose from, what criteria would you use to decide who gets to buy your house? Would you base your decision on how many other houses the person bought before, or how much they sold their old house for? No. You’d base your decision on how much the buyer is willing to pay, do they have enough money to pay that amount, and how quickly they can make the deal.
The same holds true for hiring the right job candidate. There could be more than 200 people applying for the same job as you, so what criteria will the hiring manager use to decide if you get the interview? Generally speaking, hiring managers are looking for candidates with skills, experience, and results that stand out against the competition.
So, how do you make your resume stand out?
Start thinking like a marketer.
Your skills, experience, and results are the product, and it’s your job to sell yourself using a good story.
Understand what the market wants.
Hiring managers care about your answer to this question: What can you do for us? Make it easy for them to call you for an interview by ensuring that every single word on your resume helps to answer that question.
Learn how to tell a good story
Focus the content of your resume on your skills, experience, and results. Here’s how to do that.
Add skills that matter
Copy and paste keywords directly from the job ad to your resume. Don’t over think 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. More than that and it looks like your keyword stuffing.
For example, let’s say you’re applying for a digital marketing position, and 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 language in the job description, “social media advertising.”
Include only relevant experience
Only include the experience you have that aligns with the job description. 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 to pass Applicant Tracking Systems, and grab the attention of the hiring manager.
Write results-based bullet points
Understand that your responsibilities are not results, so just because you know how to do something, it doesn’t mean that you did it well. This is the number one mistake that I see people make on their resume. The bullet points that you include have to demonstrate your ability to fulfil your responsibilities well. Companies and hiring managers 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 one stands out to you?
Responsibilities-based bullet point:
• Managed demand generation 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
Once you’ve updated your resume to show that your skills, experience, and results make you the best candidate, test your resume to 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 offer to sell a house, and 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.