Technology has made it easier than ever before to apply for jobs, and in some cases to conduct interviews and company tours. However, the lowest common denominator--the essence--of the job-hunting process is still the resume.
Your resume is still what gets your foot in the door for most any new job today. While it may not ultimately land you the job of your dreams, in most cases, it leaves the very first impression with a prospective employer--good or bad.
Diya Obeid, founder and CEO of JobDiva--a company that builds technology for applicant tracking and talent management--understands the importance of making your resume stand out. Here are his 8 essential suggestions for creating a resume that will stand out from the rest of the pack.
1. Incorporate industry keywords and buzzwords into your resume, but don't overdo it
The descriptions of prior jobs should include all titles held, roles played, tools utilized, industries serviced, products developed, services provided, skills leveraged, and skills acquired. The description should also include every language (for programmers), every disease addressed (for a nurse), every car type (for a driver), every industry practice (for a lawyer). Says Obeid, "Do not make lofty statements that do not explain specifics."
2. Tailor your resume to the job that you desire, that you are best at and that you enjoy doing
Suggests Obeid, "Tailor your resume to the specific role, with details that shows why you are a great fit for the position." Include all of your skills and experience that are relevant to the job you're applying for and interested in.
3. Use a modern, professional format
Format your resume so that it is pleasing to the eye but doesn't focus more on visuals than content.
4. There's no room for sloppiness: Make sure it is error-free and easy to read
HR reps equate typos and errors with laziness. Use good English, the written word has a huge impact on the employer. Fully 58% of employers identified resumes with typos as one of the top mistakes that led them to automatically dismiss a candidate.
5. It's OK to have more than one page
It's true that studies show recruiters spend all of 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate's resume before deciding whether he or she is fit for a job. Diya Obeid says, "In the days of keyword search, it's ok to have more than one page, but make sure the most important points are on the first page and only list experience that is relevant to the job."
6. Use a header and tell a story
Include a clear, hard-hitting statement at the very top of the resume that effectively defines who you are, and relates to the specific position. Says Obeid, "Do not use an objective, instead tell a story about who you are and why you are qualified for this position. People relate to good stories."
7. Keep things professional
Don't include negative information about previous jobs or employers. Don't discuss your hobbies or personal qualities or politics. Simply stick to your career facts.
8. Never lie on your resume
Even if you somehow manage to get past the background check with the lie in your resume intact, a serious problem still awaits you once you start the job. If you said you had certain skills or experiences on your resume, you can be sure your employer will expect you demonstrate those abilities on the job. But if you can't really do what you said you could on your resume, then that will soon become apparent and you will be fired. Not only will you lose your dream job, but the firing will cast a shadow over your future job searches.