By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms
For most, applying for a new job is a daunting experience. Thanks to job boards and networking platforms such as LinkedIn, it's easy for anyone to apply for open positions -- but this isn't always a good thing. With so much competition, you need your resume to be the one that stands out to recruiters and tells them you're worth bringing in for an interview.
Unfortunately, there are mistakes job seekers make on their CVs that paint them in a negative light and prevent them from getting their desired jobs. With a few simple tweaks, you could revamp your resume so that it appeals to employers, highlights your qualifications and encourages them to give you a call.
If you want to create a resume that catches recruiters' attention and encourages them to check you out, here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Use specific examples.
Your experience gives employers a good idea of what tasks you know how to do, as well as what positions you've held and for how long. However, it's essential to use specific, quantifiable examples of ways you succeeded in those positions. If you increased sales by 10 percent, that's something you should include in your experience.
Resume expert Jane Heifetz told Harvard Business Review that she suggests framing 95 percent of your resume as accomplishments. Rather than saying you managed a small team, talk about what benefits you brought by being a manager. How did business operations improve? Was there an increase in revenue and ROI?
When my company undergoes the hiring process, we look for measurable data to back up applicants' claims. Data is more effective than generalized statements because it adds truth to what you're saying. Take advantage of any information you have that shows you benefited the last company you worked for.
2. Personalize each resume.
Many job seekers make the mistake of creating a single resume and using it for every position they apply for. It may be easier to use a generalized CV to save you time, but it does nothing for you professionally. Recruiters want to see personalized resumes that align with the position you want. Using a generic document does nothing to highlight your qualifications or emphasize your skill set.
Make sure you create a separate resume for each job opening you apply to. Recruiters are looking for candidates qualified in a specific area. It might seem like employers want a jack-of-all-trades employee, but realistically, this isn't the case. Specializing in a niche or subfield means you have expert knowledge in a specific area. So, avoid using one resume for every opening.
3. Use relevant keywords.
You want to show recruiters you read their job posting and have what it takes to qualify. Because some listings get hundreds of applications, organizations may run them through a screening process to filter those that don't match the job description. You don't want to miss out on a stellar opportunity because your resume didn't adequately highlight your efficiency.
Take note of specific keywords in the job listing, and incorporate them into your CV. These are traits and qualities important to the recruiter, which is why they're in the listing. Pay attention to strong, relevant keywords used to describe the company's desired skill set and experience. Spread them throughout the document so it doesn't look like keyword stuffing.
4. Keep it simple.
You don't know how recruiters are going to view your resume, whether it's through their phone, desktop, on paper, or a tablet device. As such, it's essential that your resume is clean and simple. The easier it is to skim through and summarize, the better recruiters will receive it.
Create a clean-cut design by using headers and subheads to break up each section. Make sure there's an ample amount of white space so it's easy for the eye to follow and scan. Stick to a legible, simple font, and avoid using excessive underlines or italics, These are distracting, unnecessary elements that take away from what recruiters should focus on.
Over to you.
Getting the job you want takes more work than creating a generic resume that lists experience and sending it to every employer you want to hire you. A quality CV that interests recruiters requires personalization, attention to detail and emphasis on achievements.
The more you show that you're a potential asset to the company, the better chance you have of them hiring you. How will you create a resume that's worth recruiters' time?
Jared Atchison is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.