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The job market is consistently competitive, and in 2024, it’s tougher than ever. With the increasing influence of automation and globalization, there is a surge in the number of applicants for each job opening. This reality underscores the importance of having an outstanding resume to distinguish yourself from the crowd. In this post, we will share some tips on how to build a resume that catches the attention of hiring managers in 2024.
- Acknowledge the role of your resume in the hiring journey
Job seekers frequently face diverse challenges, with complaints ranging from issues related to resume visibility, competition, interview processes, and more. One of the primary concerns voiced in recent years has been, ‘My resume isn’t reaching the right people!’
So, what do I need to increase the chances of a resume reaching the right people? First, we need to understand the role of the resume in the hiring process.
The typical recruiting process unfolds in several key stages:
- An area manager recognizes the need to create or fill a position and communicates this to the HR team who create a job post aligning with the manager’s requirements, sharing it on the company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) linked to the Careers page.
- The HR staff extends the reach of the job post by sharing it on various platforms, including job boards, LinkedIn, and other relevant sites based on budget considerations.
- The Applicant Tracking Software will filter out the resumes that best fit the posted job, using search terms and “knock-out” questions to screen the most qualified candidates and create a pool of around 10. From that group, once their suitability for the role is assessed, about 6 will proceed to in-person/phone interviews, and typically, the top 3 or 4 will advance to interviews with the hiring/area manager.
- From the interviewed candidates, the standout individual, or potentially more depending on hiring circumstances, receives the job offer
- Make it clean and easy to read
Crafting a well-structured, easily navigable document is pivotal for job seekers. Recruiters, inundated with resumes, prioritize clarity and coherence. Constrained by time, they may skip lengthy, wordy, and disorganized resumes filled with responsibilities.
A meticulously organized resume enhances readability and underscores professionalism. Presenting information logically—with distinct sections like a powerful summary, well-defined experience, and notable achievements—facilitates a seamless review. This allows recruiters to swiftly identify key qualifications, making a compelling case for consideration. In the competitive job market, where first impressions matter, a thoughtfully structured resume becomes a powerful tool, increasing the likelihood of capturing a recruiter’s attention and securing coveted interview opportunities.
- Define your target job
Crafting a job-winning resume requires precision and focus tailored to a specific position. For online applications, this entails aligning with the details of the job posting. In networking scenarios, honing in on your ideal role is crucial to presenting yourself as the perfect fit. Tailoring your resume in this way shows you get what the job is about and are committed to hitting its goals. The focused resume is like solid evidence that you are not just meeting but beating these goals, using your past experiences to prove it. If you are having trouble figuring out your job focus, think about making a different resume for each target job or chat with a career coach or resume writer for some personalized help. That way, your resume isn’t just a piece of paper but a smart tool to push you closer to your dream job.
- Streamline your experience section for quick review
Most resumes have one of three issues: lengthy text blocks full of responsibilities, excessive bullet points, or insufficient information. Corporate recruiters and hiring managers won’t spend much time reading, typically taking only about 6 to 10 seconds to skim a resume. To combat this, make your Experience section easily scannable. Alternate between concise paragraph summaries and impactful bullet lists highlighting achievements, major contributions, or key skills. This ensures your resume quickly conveys essential details and increases the likelihood of grabbing the reader’s attention within that brief timeframe.
- Use color strategically
Don’t let your resume be just another bland document stuck in the ’90s. Your resume should be more than a dull list of responsibilities; it’s a marketing tool. In the context of job seeking, your personal brand is crucial, and color psychology, a proven marketing tactic, plays a vital role. Your personal brand, a fusion of visual elements and messaging, reflects your personality. Do you want to present a black-and-white personality to potential employers?
Integrate color strategically to make the right impression in the industry you’re in. Maintain the professionalism of the document by using conservative colors for your name, section headings, and design elements. Opt for a maximum of two or three colors, ensuring the remaining text is easily readable in a standard black font.
- Showcase your achievements and main contributions
On your resume, measurable achievements—those you can quantify—hold greater significance than anything else. Your unique, quantifiable accomplishments play a crucial role in highlighting the distinct value you bring to employers.
Any substantial contribution to company goals, even when quantifying it poses challenges, constitutes an achievement. However, it’s crucial to provide a detailed context for each achievement. Often, a well-articulated context explaining the challenging circumstances surrounding the achievement holds more relevance than the achievement itself. Never underestimate the power of describing the outcomes of your significant contributions—they serve as a powerful testament to the value you bring. In executive communication, clarity and precision are paramount, ensuring that the audience comprehends the nuanced importance of the achievements and their contextual significance.
- Design your resume for ATS
Many employers use ATS to manage and screen resumes efficiently. ATS scans and ranks resumes based on keywords, formatting, and relevance to the job description. Optimizing your resume for ATS increases the likelihood of passing the initial automated screening. This enhances your resume’s visibility to human recruiters and hiring managers. There’s a ton of outdated information online about ATS so, be sure to contact an expert resume writer to take the right approach.
- Learn how to analyze job postings
When you’re deep into job hunting, it feels like you’re scrolling through a bunch of job descriptions every day – from a few to a whole bunch. It’s a bit of a time suck, right? The trick is to be smart about it, so you’re putting your energy into the gigs that are actually worth it. This is even more crucial if you’re job hunting while already working. Nobody wants to waste time on jobs that lead nowhere.
So, how do you make sure you’re not just spinning your wheels? Check out these three easy steps: 1. Look past the fancy job title and see what the gig is really about. 2. Figure out how well you match up. 3. Keep an eye out for tricky questions and red flags. Turn your job search into a focused mission that’s not just efficient but also way more satisfying.
- Kick things off with a powerful introduction
When someone finally sits down to read your resume, the first part is what they’ll focus on —it’s often the only part that gets thorough attention. So, let’s make it count! The beginning of your resume is like the VIP section. Convince the reader to want to know more about you by coming up with a Branding Statement. Don’t just list your qualifications or throw in some job-related skills. Instead, tell a short, snappy story about what makes you special and how you’re going to rock it for the employer. Keep it brief, like 4-6 lines—enough to make them curious but not enough to make their eyes glaze over.
- Update your resume regularly
When was the last time you refreshed your resume? Perhaps a few years ago? That’s the usual scenario when my clients reach out to me for a resume update!
But why put yourself through that unnecessary stress? Here’s a game-changer: keep a running list of your projects, big or small, and contributions to company goals each month. Every six months, take a moment to update your resume, capturing any changes in responsibilities or recent achievements. And don’t forget to showcase your ongoing commitment to skill development—add those on-the-job training sessions or online courses to your resume
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