We’re in the last quarter of the year, so if you’ve been wanting a new job before 2022 — or even in Q1 of 2022 — there are a few things you’re going to need to do to be successful.
I was just on a Zoom call with a client of mine and we were going through his resume line by line and customizing it to the actual job description he was applying to. He submitted his resume and cover letter and within 24 hours, he received an email back asking for an interview. Just 24 hours — and he is making a 180-degree career pivot from a 20-year tenure in restaurant management to nonprofit IT and operations.
He’s had a 100% interview rate, meaning every job he’s applied to, he’s been invited in for an interview.
“I have not only had a 100% response rate, but I received an interview on my very first job application after making these recommended changes. This was after dozens of previous resumes submitted with my old resume. I've went from 10%-20% response rate to 100%. I’m in shock!”
So, what did he do that made him so successful?
This is typical for early career folks (within the first five years of their career) who have never worked or have only had one or two jobs. For anyone else who has worked more than five years and who has had multiple jobs, it is totally fine to have more than one page, and often it is necessary. Two or even three pages is fine, just make sure that you are being succinct and using your precious real estate effectively.
I’ve been recruiting for nearly 20 years and this one is a no go. Getting too fussy with the design on your resume makes you look like a rookie and pigeonhole you as early career and lacking professional maturity. You DO need to have a visually appealing format with your resume that is organized and easy to read; you just don’t need color, graphics, and design fuss.
Listing out everything you’ve ever done wastes your precious real estate by focusing potentially on the wrong things. Rather, you want to focus on the right things, such as how your past experience translates to the job you’re applying to, why you are interested in the role (and think you can perform the role), and relevant achievements again that translate to the desired role.
I’m going to be blunt here. No one cares about your hobbies. Of course if you have extracurricular activities that are relevant to the job you’re applying to then by all means, include these. If not, keep the hobbies out. There was a trend there for a while to include hobbies because it speaks to your personality. For years I would see previous real estate being used to tell me what types of tacos people liked, or how they enjoyed jumping out of planes. Someone even included on their resume that their favorite movie was Avatar. Such a waste of real estate.
Don’t overcomplicate or overthink your brand — keep it simple. Take 20 minutes and brainstorm all the keywords and achievements from your career that you are proud of and want to keep doing in the future. Pick your top five words or phrases and build them out throughout your resume (and make sure they track with the position you’re applying to).
Review the position description and highlight the top keywords or phrases they use over and over. Be sure you have these words or phrases throughout your resume.
Expert tip: Count how many times the job description uses the keyword/phrase and use it that many times in your resume (without sounding robotic or too redundant).
Your resume is your career story and should tell the reader exactly how qualified you are for the job - even if you’ve never had that job title or been in that industry. It doesn’t matter the title or the industry. What matters are the things you’ve done that can translate.
For instance, my client who was a restaurant manager didn’t highlight how he’s worked in “restaurant management responsible for scheduling servers, hosts, and reservations.” Instead, he focused on “working in a fast-paced and customer-facing industry in roles wearing many hats, including operational, infrastructure, and IT functions.”
Read through the job description and address each responsibility and qualification by framing your bullets to showcase when you’ve done that thing or something similar.
You should also start with the most important and compelling parts of your story since you want to hook the reader. I always suggest starting with a header (name, phone number, email, and LinkedIn link). Then have your key branding words right underneath the header. The first third or half of the page should be dedicated to a headline customized to the position, followed by bullets that showcase your most relevant experience and skills to the position, impressive achievements, and anything else that tells the reader exactly why you are applying to this role and why you are perfectly qualified. Then, you can follow with relevant work experience, community leadership (if you’ve sat on boards, volunteered, etc.), awards and education.
If you follow these guidelines precisely, you should see results fairly quickly.
Expert tip: It will feel cumbersome and take some time at first, but once you build your resume writing skills, it will come more naturally.
This article was written by a Fairygodboss Contributor.
Erin Thomas is a Career Coach and Strategist. You can book a free consultation phone call and she can share more tips so you land that next job in no time.