You’ve heard it before with varied statistics: People spend anywhere from 7 to 30 seconds looking at your resume. As a hiring-manager-turned-career-coach, I want to share two simple tips to increase the effectiveness of your resume by thinking like the employer.
There’s a ton of advice floating around on getting your resume noticed: results, results, results, short bullets that don’t wrap to a second line, font, white space, results, etc. That’s all true, and important.
Let’s pause and remember that employers scan resumes. Why? It’s not just that they’re busy. Their brain is doing a matching exercise in the most efficient way it knows how: It’s performing a key word search aligned to their needs.
Help them find what they’re looking for!
First, print the job description and highlight the key requirements you meet.
Incorporate the verbiage they use in the job description into your resume for everything that is true of you.
Language matters because it’s integral to the organization. If you mirror their language, your resume will resonate and form an opinion of stronger alignment and fit.
For example, if you have experience on your resume with Risk Managementand they’re asking for Risk Mitigation, change Management to Mitigation. If your resume says Process Improvement and they indicate Process Effectiveness, adjust your resume to match their language. You get the idea.
One very important note: You don’t want to re-write, verbatim, the job description under your experience, you just want to pull out powerful key words. The resume should align, not plagiarize.
If the job description requirement states:
- Ensuring ongoing Enterprise Architecture compatibility
Your resume might state:
- Established best practices while ensuring existingenterprise architecture compatibility
Next, reorder your experience to match their priorities.
The employer is revealing something subtly, yet not so subtly, in the job description: What is most important to them.
The most central requirements of the available position will be listed first. Ensure your matching experience is ordered accordingly. If strong stakeholder relationship management is the first requirement they list, ensure it’s not the last bullet listed in your experience.
To create an even more powerfully aligned resume, you might consider removing items from your resume that are completely unrelated, unless it’s a very impressive result.
These simple steps will help the employer’s brain create a strong connection between you and what they need.
All the best to you!