A strong resume must specifically highlight what employers are looking for because It takes most employers a split-second decision to decide whether to contact you. This means that creating an outstanding resume is very important.
The following is a quick guideline on how to create a strong resume that will boost your job search efforts significantly.
The 10 Seconds Impression
When recruiters look at a resume, they will only focus for about ten seconds on it. It is therefore very important to make your resume specific, concise and structured. Put focus on specific keywords and phrases for resume optimization. The keywords should show your skills and experience needed for the position and industry you are targeting.
Think about keywords in job titles, education and skills considered important to someone looking for the position you are seeking. Make a list of the synonyms and all forms and tenses of your existing keywords.
From this list you can create a Keyword Summary which you can place between your qualifications summary and your professional experience. Resumes are usually ranked according to the number of keyword matches and other criteria, so are LinkedIn profiles. Therefore if you do resume optimization, there is a chance that your resume will rank higher and be found by more recruiters.
Make Your Online Presence Professional and Consistent
Your prospective employers will search for you online, so make sure that the information in LinkedIn, Face-book, and Twitter is consistent. Make your virtual self-professional and easy to find. Post an updated version of your resume online as well as create a professional blog and an About.me page.
If you have a LinkedIn profile, it would be a good idea to include it in the contact information section in your email signature. A link to your LinkedIn profile enables a recruiter to quickly look you up and do further analysis. It is a good way to save them time and also a good practice for gaining the recruiters attention for longer. This linking in your signature can become a lead generator for your Job Search efforts.
On your LinkedIn Profile you can also Add links to the websites where you were formally employed. This way, your prospective employer is able to see type of company this is and possibly what kind of work you have done. This should be done regardless of whether they recognize the organizations or companies by name or not.
Tailor Your Resume Specifically to Prospective Employers
Every item written on your resume should have your target job in mind. Think of all the things you have done in your career which applies to the job that you are now applying.
Start by researching the prospective employers before writing your resume. You can start by choosing ten to fifteen employers. Take time to read their Job Descriptions, Their Blog, LinkedIn profiles of current employees and Company Social Media activities.
Read the keywords used on the advertisement for your target job. You can then add them to your resume. Allow your family, co-workers and friends to read your resume and offer constructive criticism.
This initial research will help you decide how your skills and unique background can make you a good candidate to work for them. Tailor your resume bullet points towards their job descriptions, the skills they lack, if you really want the job tailor your resume, your cover letter you’re your initial e-mail application accordingly.
If you want to read more I wrote a detailed guide on how to tailor your resume HERE
Have a Strong Cover Letter
Having a strong cover letter helps you make a good first impression on your future employers. Your cover letter should convince your prospective employer that you have read the posting for the job, and have thought carefully about why you are a good fit. Mention at least three of the qualities your prospective employer is looking for in your cover letter. Explain as specifically as possible how you have demonstrated these qualities in your other employments.
I posted a few examples of cover letters you can use HERE
State Your Professional Summary (It will be read)
In the top section of your resume, include a professional summary, especially if you have been working for more than five years in your target field.The professional summary is a paragraph no more than five sentences long, and should describe the skills and talents that are relevant to the job you are applying.
If you are new to the field or workforce, a short objective statement tailored for the job you are applying will be enough. Make sure the objective statement covers the technical skills that are listed on the job description.
If you want to learn more about professional summaries click HERE
Focus Your Resume on Where You are Going
The purpose of your resume must be to highlight the valuable things that you can help your prospective employers achieve in the future. It should not just be a summary of things you have done in the past. Focus on how your previous jobs have given you experience that will be valuable for the job you want.
Keep in mind that prospective employers are wary of people who are not honest and who only want to make the resume look better, if you don’t know a specific technical skill leave it of your resume, it is also not a good idea to mess with dates. Be clear about any gaps in employment and education.
Proper Resume Length
Your resume should not be longer than two pages. For five (5 ) years of experience in the workforce, one page will be sufficient.
Mature job seekers who have a lot of professional experience should stick to two pages and only go back 10 to 15 years.
Commit Fully to your Occupation or Find a Different Field.
You should wholeheartedly embrace your target field even more so when changing careers. Learn as much as you can about your profession before you begin writing the job applications. Learning may include taking classes, volunteer work or joining a professional association.
This experience will help you show that you know something about the field and the continuous improvement on your part will result in better job prospects.
If you don’t enjoy what you do its simply time to look for something else. Nearly half of our life is dedicated to work of some type, there is no sense doing that which you dislike.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. (Steve Jobs)