“Thank you for your interest…”, the infamous line in nearly every rejection letter sent from a company’s auto responder. This was the email I kept getting when I sent out the first few revisions of my resume to different companies in the fall of 2015.
I remember coming home from work and spending hours perfecting my resume. This went on for weeks! I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Until one day I felt I finally got it right! I started getting calls from recruiters internal and external to my current company.
I nearly forgot about all the work I put into my resume until I had a conversation with an old friend. He saw a post of mine on social media and wanted to learn more about my services. He wanted to make sure his resume stood out and got noticed by hiring managers.
Currently, my team is understaffed. I have to hire 5-10 more people before October. I’ve seen A LOT of resumes.
So I’ll share 5 tips to quickly revitalize yours:
#1 Stop listing your responsibilities. Hiring managers want to know how you improved a process, saved the company lots of money, etc. These are things that stand out on a resume. Make your bullet points quantifiable. What do I mean? Let me show you!
For example, if your resume has something like,
“Was responsible for updating engineering drawings.”
This unfortunately doesn’t tell me anything as a hiring manager, it leaves out the specifics I need to make a decision.
Now, read this:
“Revised 32 industrial engineering drawings that increase efficiency of the production floor by 27%.”
As the hiring manager, this tells me that your actions provided a massive amount of value to your organization. Hiring managers will love this!
#2 Switch it up! Many people make the mistake of sending the same resume to every job. You don’t have to completely overhaul of your resume. You can tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for.
For example, you’re an engineer who wants to become a Design Engineering Manager. Demonstrate your design capabilities on the resume. Talk about the time you led a team through the entire engineering design life cycle of a new new project. This demonstrates your ability to lead and showcases your technical abilities.
Since the majority of your resume will remain the same, create a section called “Key Competencies.”
It’ll look like this:
- Lead Design Engineer
- Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerance (GD&T)
- Cost Account Management (CAM)
- Project Management Certification (PMP)
- Thermodynamic Design and Analysis
Keep the list short. No more than 5-8 bullets. This will go above your work experience.
#3 Don’t keyword stuff. Believe it or not, at some point, real people will view your resume. A resume that has been stuffed with keywords will be placed in the “NO” pile.
Want a better strategy? Work some elements of the job description into your resume (as applicable). Remember that “Key Competencies” list from tip #2? You can use this section to capture some of the verbiage in the description in your resume.
#4 Keep it short! Your resume should not be longer than 2 pages. Anything beyond 2 pages is cumbersome to read. As a hiring manager, this can be frustrating especially if the pages are not numbered and there’s a large stack of them to get through.
#5 Have 2 resumes. A plain text version (ASCII) and a PDF version. A plain text resume is great for copying and pasting your content into online resume forms. You won’t have to worry about formatting or weird characters when you copy and paste your resume from MS Word.
A resume in PDF format looks clean. When recruiter or hiring manager views your resume, they’ll focus their attention on the content. Not the red squigglies from words that aren’t stored in the MS Word dictionary or the green squigglies from grammatical corrections.
Most online applications have an option for you to upload a document. Use this time to upload the PDF version of your resume.
It’s that simple! These are some of the best ways you can make your resume stand out from the 100’s (if not 1000’s) of people applying to the same jobs.
For me, all of that hard work I put in back in 2015 has paid off. Now, I am sitting on the other side of the applicant tracking system and screening resumes as the HIRING MANAGER.
The hard work you put in now will pay off for you too! Just get started. Soon you’ll gain momentum and in no time you’ll have a sweet resume to showcase your many talents. 🙂